Friday, May 4, 2012

Making Private Public. Again.

Being a mum changes you.

Before I had kids, I was not the type of person who would discuss bodily functions and toilet habits in public.  I would never publish stories about my kids poo, my night time ablutions, much less my husband's toileting habits.

But I have kids now, so I am very happy to discuss poo with you.  I am also happy to yell out private things in public.  And lucky me, it won me a prize!

Let's take a step back for a minute...

A few nights ago I attended the book launch of friend and fellow blogger, Glennys from The Ponder Room.  Unlike me, Glennys is a real writer and she has written a number of books, the latest of which Me Time*, provides a number of strategies to gain that elusive bastion of the busy mother - time alone.

So while I was sucking down my complimentary champagne and orange juice and enjoying being out of the house with only one of my three offspring [about as 'me' as I'm going to get at the moment] she asked the gathered crowd the following question.

'What is the number one strategy people use to get some me time?'

There were a number of reasonable and G-rated responses.  It must have been the champagne because I then blurt out at the top of my lungs:

'I hide in the toilet to get away from my kids.'

I was absolutely right, and it won me a prize.

Two out of every three mums hide in the loo to get some time alone.  That is deeply disturbing.

Now I don't know about you, but my bathroom isn't very big or very attractive.  There are potty seats and empty cardboard rolls on the floor, dust bunnies the size of a small cat, sodden face washers, dirty underpants, and for some unfathomable reason about seven toothbrushes strewn about even though there are only five of us and one doesn't even have teeth yet.

Things must be pretty desperate if this is the destination we choose for some privacy.

Did I say privacy?  Don't make me laugh.

As well as talking about things that really should stay private, I have also changed post-children in another way.  I now have books piled up next to the loo.

Before kids, I thought this was something only old men did.  But now I am using the toilet as a retreat I have a stack of reading material for my stolen moments. When I was pregnant with Baldy Baby, it was a baby name book and a well thumbed version of 'Up The Duff'.  Now I have a copy of 'ProBlogger' and 'Why First Borns Rule the World and Last Borns Want to Change It'.

And so to the asterisk which you may have noticed lurking above.  I am going to run my first ever competition.

Glennys has provided me with a copy of Me Time which I will be sending to one lucky reader.  I realise that if you have enough time to read this blog and enter a competition, you might not need any help. You may already have your strategies in place, and are sitting in the loo right now with your phone or iPad on your lap, flicking through your favourite blogs.

But you might know someone who would benefit from this book.  So send me a comment about your time-poor friend and why they need some help getting time to themself.  The best response will earn a totally cool book. And if you are a totally cool friend you can offer to babysit their kids while they sit down and read it.

Rules of the competition.  Umm let's see...

1. Open to Australian residents only and you must have a letter box, PO Box or friendly neighbour where the book can be sent.
2. Competition starts today, 4th May 2012 and will close 25th May 2012.
3. The winner will be chosen based on their answer - probably someone who either makes me laugh or makes me cry.  If you can do both, kudos to you.
4. Remember, you are talking about your friend, so don't divulge any information they wouldn't want made public, or if you do, at least make them anonymous.
5. The winner will have to provide a postal address (either theirs, or their friend) so I can post the book.  I promise I won't use that information for any other purpose, like stalking you, or give it to anyone else who might stalk you.


  1. Shannon I was so thrilled when it was you who yelled out the right answer. Thanks for helping me help others find guilt-free Me Time (if that even makes sense ???).Good luck to everyone who enters. cheers Glennys

  2. My neighbour is probably one of the deserving ones. I think she does amazingly well, but she has three kids under seven and her husband passed away when her youngest was only a baby. She has great family support and lots of friends but I imagine that despite all their help she doesn't have much me time. If she wins I will also take her a box of choccies and some flowers because I am pretty much in awe of her.
    Liz R.

  3. I have a friend who has just had her third bubba (3 under 5) who hides in the loo, her husband manages to escape to the gym, she's so organised with mother's group and playgroup, she's studying and writes a great blog...uh, hang on...that's you, Shannon :-)

    Ummmm....let's see, I have another friend who has two kids (nearly 5 and 3) who's husband often works away quite a bit, they've just gone through reno's, she's working three part time jobs, is studying and manages to be at mothers group and helps out where ever she can...oh, hang on...she and her family have just sold up and made a sea change to the coast of I guess she's sorted.

    So...ah, yes...this friend has just had baby number 2 (who doesn't like sleeping during the day, needs constant feeding as she needs to put on more weight and see a physio for neck problems), she also has two step-kids, she runs her own business with her husband, this year they are hoping to renovate their 100 year old (tiny) workers cottage (which leaks)...and just today she burst into tears, so her husband ran her bath and got her a glass of wine and looked after the kids so she could escape for half an hour...oh...oops...that's me...!

    1. don't forget the twice daily school runs... you do amazingly well! kudos to all mums to work inside or outside of the house as well, as all the house work and kids work and husband work...

  4. just wrote an awesomly long response n my baby deleted it ! Fran

  5. ok... baby distracted so i can finally respond. Little miss is 9months and reached the clingy stage- so much so that the toilet isnt even a safe haven. i shower with her watching, have no such things as a toilet break and she has perfect timing that when i finally catch time for a cuppa she wakes form her sleeps which she has started to cut. they used to be a predicatable 3hrs- now they are 30-45mins in which time i need to get the house work done, my work (thankfully i can work from home)and find time for a sanity break. the time that i do get to myself i either feel guilty that i have my hubby or mum looking after her, or i worry that they are not coping with her. just joined a gym YAY womens only and i go when shes down for her night sleep. at least im getting healthy during my down time. what would i like for mothers day...a full day, guilt free, worry free, ALONE! im sure all mums fantasise about what ME time was like pre baby. its not that i have a particulary hard bub- just one thats reached the "i just want to walk and dont leave me" phase. she also has 3 teeth coming through at the same time so hopefully when that passes it wont be that bad.

  6. I'm a working single Mum of 2 boys. Sometimes I'm just too tired at night for any Me Time!!! Especially as my 8 year old often ends up in bed with me in the middle of the night. I've been trying to find time to go to the gym or write a book of my own, and it's REALLY hard to find.

    I also have a pile of books in the toilet... and am saving for an ipad so I can do some writing there... is that sharing too much, or too desperate?? lol

  7. I started to do this last week but one or all of my 3 little ones obviously interrupted me.....and this is the first chance i've had to get back to it!!

  8. I don't allow myself Me Time. I rate myself by how many things I achieve in each day... so if I end the day and the house is reasonably tidy and I've done a load of washing and a few things, I feel like I'm a good wife/mother. But if I end the day and the house is a mess and I haven't done anything, I feel like I'm the worst wife/mum in the world! So sometimes I take time for myself but I feel guilty about it the entire time. I would like to read a book about this whole Me Time thing...might help me to actually have some! :P

  9. Me Time?? What is this strange concept you speak of?

    I would tell you about my friends who no doubt need the book but I'm too tired to think about how busy they are.

    I have 3 boys (6,4 & 22 months), and gave up hiding in the bathroom years ago! I cannot remember the last time I was in there by myself without one or 3 of them asking awkward questions! Or my favourite thing, when the youngest is trying to shove toilet paper in the loo!!! While you are still trying to use it!!! GAH!

    So then I used to try and get my work & Uni done straight after they went off to bed so I could then maybe fit in a half an hour of Me Time, reading (or contemplating my own scribblings) before 2am (which normally ends with me nursing the baby on my knee). However it is now more common for me to wake up at 4am to a keyboard imprint on my face with a killer headache, no work done, dinner dishes still unwashed & the school lunch unmade! And the sinking sensation that I need to be up in 2 hours to start the school run fiasco. I love school holidays more then the kids, as I get to stay in bed that little bit longer - well if I can ignore the constant shouting, screaming and the occasional ominous crash!

    The last time I can think of having some pure kid free, errand free, Me Time was when in a fit of desperation I locked them all in the house and sat in the car for 15 mins while I calmed down after discovering my middle child had decorated my newly renovated white kitchen and a couple of different walls with a Nikko pen. As a place to escape it was fabulous, but with my luck if I left them inside unsupervised for any period of time I would likely come back inside to find someone had shaved the baby's head with the potato peeler or that they were re-enacting a scene from the Wizard of Oz (see how the cornflakes look like the yellow brick road!!)

    You know you are in serious need of Me Time when you contemplate what minor incident would get you a night in the hospital or the watch house! Cause surely that would be quieter then my house! Although on second thoughts... Maybe not.

    PS Yes I do love and adore my kids, I'm just so very tired!

  10. Thanks everyone for taking the time to enter this competition. You are all great mums and worthy of guilt-free Me Time.

    Special commendation to Jodi for her awesome idea of locking herself in the car. And no, it's not weird contemplating petty crime for a night away from the kids. I looked forward to my third caesar and the extra time in hospital so I could have some time off from the other two kids (who I love dearly).

    Fran, you go girl! You are on the right track with your women-only gym. Good health and me-time, well done. Just remember DON'T RUSH HOME.

    Sonia, you sound like you definitely need some Me-Time as you didn't even get to finish your story!

    But I will be awarding the prize to Pamela G. as one thing I really appreciated about this book by Glennys at The Ponder Room is how to get MeTime and NOT feel guilty about it. Mums are constantly being made to feel guilty about one thing or another, and Glennys offers some really clever (and funny) tips as to how we can avoid feeling bad about taking a bit of time for ourselves.

    Congratulations Pamela G. Send me an email at with an address I can send your prize too.

    And to everyone who didn't have the time to enter, may the mother force be with you.
    Never feel guilty about reading me in the toilet!

  11. Wow!! Thank you so much! I'm absolutely stoked! Email on its way!


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