My husband and I are fairly quiet people. Pre-kids it was never very loud in our house – no sports blaring from televisions no one was watching, no music audible from every room in the house. We’re also fairly neat people. And clean. Fingerprints on my black countertops do actually make my eyebrow twitch. Uptight you might be thinking. Maybe, but I’m good with that. I enjoy peace and quiet and cleanliness.
If you’re thinking I’m going to say having kids destroyed all that, you’re only sort of right. While we have been forced to relax and often stare at piles of laundry folded but not yet put away, it turns out we breed fairly quiet and neat children. Score! When our kids are in crowded places, they never cease to comment on the decibel level. When we go to homes where the families are, um, more boisterous, they aren’t quite sure what to do with themselves for the first little while. (Don’t worry; they catch on quickly. Acting like maniacs is easy for them.)
My kids’ comparatively quiet and semi-tidy character traits fail to follow them to just one place on this planet: The Bathroom. Can anyone tell me what has become of my downstairs bathroom? Just a few short years ago, it was a freshly painted and freshly scented sanctuary where guests could go to freshen up. Fresh is clearly the key modifier here.
Today, five years and two kids later, it needs a Flying J Travel Center sign on its door. Sordid is my new adjective of choice. Enter at your own risk. No one knows the last time the toilet was flushed. After all, if none of the pee actually lands in the toilet, why bother flushing?
My bathroom walls and the back of the door are coated from left to right and top to bottom in drip marks from God-knows-what. I actually think it is hand sanitizer; at least, that’s what I’m telling myself so feel free to keep other theories to yourself. FYI, that stuff doesn’t wipe off of Sherwin Williams. How did they get it on every inch of the wall? Did my son have a hand sanitizer fight with the kid in the mirror? Another of life’s great mysteries I suppose.
More organic soap has dripped out of the pumper and onto the sink than any child has ever actually used to wash himself, creating a cesspool of green, mucky mess. I have to carefully pry the soap bottle off the sink ledge in order to wipe underneath it. There is a twisted irony in a mother’s attempt to clean soap off of a surface. As it becomes a bubbly white mess while I scrub, I can’t help but ask the Clorox wipe and myself why we’re even wasting our time. The soap will ooze from the bottle again within the hour.
As for the discoloration around the drain in the sink, those strange spots on the hardwoods and whatever is growing in the trashcan, well, those mysteries will have to be solved another day. For now, I’ll have to look on the bright side: When our family is traveling, we’ll feel right at home inside those filthy roadside rest stops.
Brooke Bernard, freelance editor and mother of two, wonders how crazy she would seem if she started shouting the same things in her home bathroom that she shouts inside rest area bathrooms: “Don’t touch anything! Stand here. Don’t move. You don’t want to get sick! I don’t know what that smell is. Just hurry up!”
Follow Brooke on Twitter @BrookeBBlogs