May 11, 2010

A New You. In The LOO.

As a busy mum, I'm always interested in finding ways to make my life easier. So when Kimora Lee Simmons (you know her. Oh hang on. You don't? Actually, neither do I) advised women to 'take time out for themselves by meditating in the toilet' (see the link on mamamia here) I took note.

What a fabulous idea.


Aside from the quite unappealing concept of meditating in the toilet (does she mean on the toilet? Or sitting on the bathroom floor? Or perhaps in the actual bath? Filled with water or empty???) the concept is patently ridiculous. For a start, if you can take a half an hour out for yourself in the toilet, wouldn't it be nicer to do it in some, slightly more salubrious, environment? Perhaps... you know... like that room in the house with a bed instead of a loo?

Secondly - what kind of children actually leave their mothers alone in the bathroom? Do the offspring of celebrities have different qualities - for example, not being able to use a door handle? My children (whose parents are, sadly, not celebrities) have been opening doors since they could crawl. And the last moment I had uninterrupted time in the toilet - whether to meditate or do those other things one generally does in a toilet - probably dates from about that same time.

Now, clearly it is vital to have time alone. But as any (non-celebrity) mother will tell you, it ain't going to happen in the bathroom. Kids know when we are on the toilet, just like they know when we are on the phone, or that we are having sex. And they interrupt. They barge in. They halt procedings (or watch, in the case of toilet time. Not, please goodness, sex). The last time I tried to take a bath, for example, I was joined after 15 minutes by a boisterous toddler, who apparently had just done a poo and wanted her bottom cleaned. Marvellous. Just what I'd envisioned for my relaxing soak in the tub.

So when do I get my precious time out? Um... usually at about Not o'clock on the 2nd of Never. But occasionally I do slip in moments of solitude. Every morning, for example, I insist on sitting at the table to drink my coffee and read the paper, just for five minutes. No matter how rushed we are, no matter what is going on around me, I need to have that time. It helps me to feel like a person, and not just a mother, even if I only get a chance to look at the headlines (and yes, I am using the word 'headlines' in its well known sense of 'pictures').

I go for walks whenever I can, often very fast, particularly when moving away from the house and my children are running after me. I lie on the floor in my office and stare at the ceiling for ten minutes, just thinking about my life, and not thinking at all. And I play loud music in the car and sing to myself, before I pick up my kids and they tell me I am hurting my ears.

It's vital to have time alone. But please, as a mother, as a father, as a person - don't listen to Kimora Lee Simmons. You deserve better than a toilet. As she says, it doesn't need to be a spa, but somewhere where people don't necessarily wipe their bottoms is good. A park. Your bed. The couch. A coffee shop.

Or ten minutes on the floor in your room. It's relaxing, it's recharging, it's energising, and it's free.

Just make sure you lock the door.


  1. The biggest advantage of living in an old house?
    High door handles!
    I've never been interrupted in the bathroom or toilet.
    Unless of course you call banging on the door until it sounds like it's going to fall down being interrupted?

  2. The other problem with never being alone is that you start to forget what normal people do.The ones that aren't used to sitting on the toilet with one child discussing Thomas while another stares intently behind you to see exactly when you're producing.

    I had all my in-law family over on the weekend and it never occurred to me to close the toilet door. Not the best.

  3. Kimora's advice feels similar to that of Marie Antoinette about "let them eat cake" to the starving people of Paris (tho it is also highly unlikely that this phrase is attributable to her)
    Like you, any quiet time I get is NOT going to be snatched by meditating on a toilet.
    No, I'm far more likely to meditate whilst cleaning out the kitty litter. The kids hate the smell and stay away in droves.

  4. My alone time = 20-25 minutes driving home in the car by myself on a Wednesday morning after dropping eldest kid to school & husband to work (2 youngest have babysitter morning on Wednesdays). It's probably wrong that I actually daydream wistfully about traffic jams sometimes. (Which, sadly, almost never happen ... I usually get the straightest of straight runs.)

    As for meditating in the toilet ... I call bullshit on that. It is a rarity for me to get to use the toilet for its intended purpose without company, let alone any unnecessary malingering to think deep thoughts.

  5. HA clearly i am not ready for children i can't even keep my cats out of the toilet if i close the door they cry and cry until my business goes back in and it is NOT good!

  6. So glad i am not alone in the fact my children see me - in the bathroom ensuite - as a captive audience, i.e. they block the only exit . . . when they were all really yong it was often the only time i sat down, apart from breastfeeding, so it was a two minute luxury. I'm not safe in the shower either (i'm even easier to capture there) & have found that telling them i can't hear them . . . well one child turned teh water off (i was mid shampoo with eyes closed) & others have just stripped off & joined me. OMG, how can they be ready to shower ANY time?? Love Posie

  7. Oh, Kimora. EVERYone knows the toilet isn't a place for meditating. It's a LIBRARY.


  8. Oh how alluring - meditating in your own stench.

    We are about to gain another toilet this week. Am super excited. I bet there is still a back up at the door though. :(

    Great post as always

  9. I've done many things over the years, aside from the obvious, while on the toilet. I've tied shoe laces, braided hair, signed school notes, admired drawings, watched a song rehearsal, listened to school reading, dealt out punishment to fighting children, I really haven't thought about meditating.

  10. LOL! I think we all deserve better than the toilet - whether there are kids barging in or not! It only takes 5 deep breaths to cause a physiological change toward relaxation, I was pretty impressed when I found that out during a short meditation course a few years ago. Now I take those whenever I remember, the idea was to take them anytime you are waiting, such as traffic lights, lifts, for the microwave... It's the quickest way to do a mini-relax that I know of :)

  11. Oh thank you, you made me laugh out loud. Is that woman high on what? Who gets a minute to themselves, on the toilet or otherwise. I'd like to invite her to my toilet and say: Meditate On That Missus!

  12. hilarious. this blog is fabulous!

  13. My latest lack-of-privacy in the loo - the CAT has worked out how to jump up onto the cistern and stand on the flush button. Yes - while I am sitting there!

  14. When I was growing up I lived in an old house with high door handles, so we couldn't open the door to get to my mother while she was in there. My youngest sister used to write notes and push them under the door to get mum's attention while she was in there.

    As for meditating while using the bathroom - um, no thanks. I think I'd rather skip meditation time if that's the only option I had. I think I'll stick with Rellacafa's suggestion of regularly taking 5 deep breaths, although I don't think I'll be doing that in the bathroom either.

  15. a friend sent me your link and i am sooo glad she did! this post was hysterical!!! and SO true!
    i will be sure to read the rest of your posts!! joanne


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