Marital Strife: Your Help Requested

There’s no easy way to say this, friends, so I’m just going to jump right in.

Greg, the love of my life, father of my children, sharer of my bed, scr itchy batterer of toast, locks the door when he uses the bathroom.

He locks the door.

Every time.

Without fail.

LOCKS IT.

I know. I wish I had a way to ease the blow, too, but in the absence of that, I’m just ripping off the band aid. If you need to stop reading for a bit to catch your breath, I understand. Take your time.

Here’s the truth:

Whenever Greg feels the need to potty, he just… goes.

He stands up, walks out of the room, blithely enters the bathroom without a public announcement and, CLICK, turns the lock.

I don’t…

I can’t even…

I just…

He acts like it’s normal to potty alone.

Like he doesn’t have to make sure all the kids are occupied for the foreseeable future.

In separate rooms.

Plugged into screens.

With enough snacks to last through the full zombie apocalypse.

And restraints.

And a brick wall barrier.

And reinforced cages.

And the suspension of disbelief required to think maybe — this one time — they won’t Houdini and Shawshank Redeption their way out.

Greg acts like he doesn’t have to submit an application in writing to the Sanitary Oversight Commission seeking approval for a Solo Toilet Expedition, then wait ages, like all good citizens, then resubmit his paperwork months later because, after a series of phone calls during which he was mostly placed on hold or disconnected, he learned his application was incomplete… or never arrived… or was lost or misfiled… and finally, give it up as a lost cause LIKE THE REST OF US DO and live with the knowledge we may never get to pee again.

Instead, Greg believes the urge to void is sufficient to qualify a person to potty in appropriate facilities while prohibiting others to enter.

It’s infuriating.

It’s as though Greg believes he’s an adult human. Entitled to privacy. Entitled not to broadcast his boy parts to the household. Entitled to 15 minutes to sit alone, undisturbed, and scan his Facebook feed. Or play a whole game of Sudoku. Or read Wired magazine. Or have one entire, chronological thought, start to finish, without myriad interruptions ranging in intensity from “the dog just barfed on my bed” to “COME FAST THERE IS A LOT OF BLOOD.”

It’s as though Greg doesn’t subscribe to the MacGyver style of pottying wherein one, with extensive training honed during years of difficult missions, improbable scenarios, and close calls, must be prepared for anything, at any time, to go horribly awry. Where one must solve issues that arise only with items on hand like one’s wits, lack of dignity, and a dirty sock. Where one practices one’s Kegles not because one is disciplined to exercise one’s pelvic floor, but by actually having to repeatedly stop midstream to pull someone’s foot splinter or run to check on the stunned child who thought jumping backward off the swing set was a good idea and, “HE’S HURT REAL BAD, MOM.” Not that MacGyver is necessarily all that interested in his pelvic floor, but if he was, this would undoubtedly be his modus operandi.

Listen; I don’t want to be overly dramatic about this whole situation, but Gregory sits there long enough to leave a red imprint of the toilet on his butt and legs, you guys. I mean, I imagine he does. I don’t actually know definitively, because Greg also pulls his undies all the way up, AND his pants, AND he zips and buttons them, AND washes his hands — for the recommended, thorough amount of time — before he emerges, rested and refreshed, which makes me bitter and enraged.

I do not know what to do about this, friends.

When I catch him, I knock knock knock knock knock on the door, and I speak in staccato words to match. Like “WHAT. ARE. YOU. DOING. IN. THERE?” And “O.M.G! DID YOU SERIOUSLY. LOCK. THE DOOR. AGAIN?” And “STOP IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIT.” But none of my lurking, knocking and pestering behaviors are working. NONE.

Surely something can be done about this. Surely there’s a way to end my misery once and for all. Surely there’s some way to force Greg into the kind of co-dependence and subservience to one’s children such that he will feel he does not deserves to lock the bathroom door, as well as the kind of unreasonable godlike pride required to believe that if one does actually lock the door, the children will all literally die.

Please, wise friends. Tell me what to do! Remove all bathroom doors? Put spikes on the toilet? Handcuff Greg to All the Children as a symbol of solidarity and sympathy with his long suffering wife who’s figuratively shackled to them all the livelong day?

In conclusion, help me, friends. You’re my only hope.

With love,

 

 

 

P.S. Sorry to air our dirty laundry like this. I think we can all agree, though, that it’s past time to seek help.

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
12 comments
  1. You and your husband made your children. But you waited patiently for 9 months or there abouts, worrying that your child would be normal and that their journey through the birth canal would be a safe one. Then you suckled them, he did not have breasts. They are attached to you like a nut that drops from the tree and begins it’s journey as a tree right there. His eyes watched yours while they nursed or were fed a bottle. Probably one of the strongest bonding mechanisms of the human body. No wonder they can find you when you want 5 minutes or more to yourself. And that they ignore him.

  2. My kids pretty much leave me alone in the bathroom. My marital strife arises from the fact that on Saturday morning, my husband sits on the couch with a cup of coffee and a book, and actually READS. The children wander around the house, playing with each other and asking me for things. If I attempt such a thing, they fight with each other and keep asking me for things. It’s like a force field around him, and he won’t tell me how he does it. So unfair.

  3. I just found your blog, Beth! Thank you for this. You are a really good writer.

  4. They say that timing is everything in comedy. Last night, my husband went to the bathroom (of course he locked the door, as he always does) for his leisurely mini-break just as our pre-schooler was about to have a predictable meltdown. I went downstairs to calm down from said meltdown and found your blog post in my in box. Thank you for reminding me I am not alone.
    Yes, I cannot go to the bathroom without anticipating that something will go wrong – someone will choke to death, scream that they are about to wet themselves, scream at a sibling, have a meltdown that makes me wonder if we should be getting professional help, etc. It makes a joke of the advice I was given postnatally (incontinence issues after episiotomy) to take my time on the toilet!!!

  5. Search me. My children will quite literally walk around my husband to target me with their issues. To this day! My 20 year old called me the other day – called me – whilst her father was In. The. House. With. Her! To help her with a problem. Good luck!

  6. I don’t know, maybe he is on to something. Maybe has figured out how to keep a little bit of sanity. What would happen if we all followed his example? The kids might think it was awful, but maybe those few minutes of peese, oops I mean peace, would help us cope a little better. I’m game to try, anyone else?

    1. I had thoughts like that too. Unless it’s blood or fire, I got pretty good at ignoring anything outside that closed door like it was at the neighbor’s house or on television. Eventually the kids stopped asking. lol

  7. Mine never needed me until I was seated – and then everything was an emergency. I did discover, totally by accident, that my boys HATED floral scented air freshener (as do I….I have no idea where the first can I found came from). Any time I wanted privacy, I just sat and sprayed…and sprayed…and sprayed again. Now that they are grown, they say I trained them like Pavlov’s dogs – “stinky spray equals Mommy’s stinky” – #ProudNotProud

  8. I don’t think it really matters, though, does it? I mean … it stings, as a Mom, to think of Dad having this kind of privacy. Of course it does. However, in my almost 26 years of parenting (GASP!!! 26, y’all. How can my oldest be so old?), it has not escaped my notice that my husband could go to the bathroom with every door open, a welcome sign, and buckets of snacks for the kids, and they would not bother him. Not once. I assume this is much the same as when they walk past him sitting in his living room chair so that they can ask me, WHILE I’M IN THE SHOWER, to pour a cup of juice. Right then, and they’re holding the cup.

    Not that I’m bitter. Much.

    Ok, maybe a bit bitter.

    1. Oh how many times my children have walked past their father to shout at me IN THE SHOWER. Ugh.

  9. Lol – sounds like you need to post him as your door-guard whenever you need to pee alone!

  10. I FINALLY got the kids to leave me alone.

    And then I got a Rottweiler puppy.

    #WhatWasIThinking #NeverPeeAloneAgain #WhyDoesSheWantToWatch #STOPPUTTINGYOURNOSETHERE #OMG

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