My husband has always taken half an hour to go to the toilet.
When we first started going out, I assumed he had some kind of bowel condition, so I tactfully avoided talking about it. Eventually I realised that he just liked sitting in there reading.
After visiting his family, I realised that they all treated the toilet as a kind of reading room. Me, I grew up in a household with numerous children and one loo, so I learned to be in and out within a minute or so.
Why would I take a book into the toilet, anyway? It seems a bit unhygienic, and not exactly comfortable.
Before we had kids, it didn’t matter. So what if my husband spent half an hour in the toilet here and there? We had time for everything – lazy Saturday mornings reading the paper, leisurely afternoon pub crawls, movie marathons…
Then we had kids. It started to matter. Now that half an hour in the toilet really grates on me. As the minutes tick by, and I know he’s on the other side of the door, absorbed in some guide on how to prepare for a zombie apocalypse, I can feel my anger levels rising.
Let me explain. His typical Saturday morning goes like this. A bit of a sleep-in, because it is the weekend. Then he makes himself a coffee, and checks out Facebook. Then half an hour in the toilet. Then a long shower. By then he might be ready for the day.
Meanwhile, I’ve been up for three hours. I struggled out of bed, exhausted, because the kids were calling for me. I fed them breakfast and cleaned up the majority of the breakfast from the floor. While doing that, I gulped down a cold piece of toast myself. I wiped two small bottoms. I stopped one child from diving headfirst from the top of the couch onto the wooden floor.
I failed to stop the other child from falling over while standing absolutely still, but did fetch an icepack for the bump. I made a one-minute trip to the toilet which was interrupted twice. I put on a load of washing. I wrote a shopping list. I constructed seven Lego vehicles. I Googled whether glitter was toxic if consumed.
Yep, life changes when you’re a parent. But it changes more for some people than others. All I want is for the load to be shared a bit more evenly.
That half-hour trip to the toilet has become the focus of my frustrations.
I’ve suggested to my husband that maybe he could just not take a book with him when he feels the need to go. He looks at me like I’ve told him he needs to turn vegan, or switch to light beer.
Am I really asking too much?
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