Every night after a long day of the usual – office work; feeding, changing and bathing kids; breaking up
squabbles and kissing boo-boos; cooking and dishes; and putting strewn toys back in their proper homes
– I sink into a toasty bath.
I bring in a good read, close the shower curtain, and “aahhh” myself into the water.
But last night was different. As I lay my head back to its usual resting position, I felt a poke on my temple.
What the..? Mermaid Dora, with her plastic green tail, had the nerve to be fighting me for space in my
bubbly retreat. Sigh. Is nothing sacred anymore?
Before we had kids, my husband decreed that we wouldn’t be like other families that have kids’ “crap”
all over the family room. That was before he realised that young toddlers can’t be expected to go up and
down stairs for their toys and that baby gates, swings and bouncers would replace Pottery Barn table
displays. So, he built a book shelf that I could put fancy baskets in to wrangle the toy and book chaos. We
had visions of forgetting all things kid-related once they were in bed. But, rebelliously, the toy and book
Despite our inability to hide the kids’ “crap” in our family room, office, bathroom and basement, there are
some no-kid, no-way zones that I still protect. I don’t ever plan to decorate the bathroom I share with my
kids in a youth theme. In our bedroom, toys that are brought in are quickly thrown out. The living room
and dining room are adult havens with art work and breakables. It’s a place where I go to breathe.
Whether it’s a physical space, a certain time of the day, or a special activity, I think as parents we all need
our sacred retreats to decompress.