Help! I’m sharing a bathroom with four dudes!
Our whole family is sharing a bathroom because we’re having some work done in the master bath to remediate some water damage. (We decided to work with a contractor-friend and make some additional fixes/upgrades while he was here.) This is particularly hard between the hours of 5:45 and 6:30 a.m. when four people need to take showers and get ready to leave the house. I, too, leave the house but do not shower until
I come back from the gym whenever.
Yes, I am sharing a bathroom with four dudes: my husband (who I share with usually, anyway) and three sons. I haven’t shared with them in years because our old house where we lived before this had two bathrooms and they used the shower in one and we used the shower in the other. I find myself cleaning up a lot — partly because there are so many of us using one bathroom and partly because I apparently have higher standards of cleanliness than anyone else in the house.
Inconvenience as a path to appreciation
When I catch myself complaining too much about this, I think about times in my life where I’ve had to share a bathroom with my family. Growing up I lived in 12 different houses between the ages of two and 18. All of these houses only had one bathroom, except for two that had 1.5 baths. My brother and I couldn’t afford to be shy and it was not uncommon for one of us to be in the shower while the other was at the sink. In some of the houses you had be sure not to flush the toilet when someone was in the shower. In one of the houses, we had downstairs neighbors who flushed the toilet on purpose whenever they heard our shower. Fun times.
Then there was the time when I was living at home during college (I’m not even going to get into the sharing a bathroom scenarios in college and during subsequent roommate life before I had kids) and we had our sole bathroom redone. During this time had to use the neighbor’s bathroom (except in the middle of the night when we used the backyard behind the shed).
The was also that time when I was going into 9th grade and I lived in a remote town in Maine (that didn’t even have its own zip code) and I we had two outhouses for six people (with no running water, so we had to go back to the house to pump water from the well into the sink).
Light at the end of the tunnel
For four weeks my husband and I slept on the pull out couch in the living room.
We are back in the bedroom now, but because the paint on the walls and baseboards needs to be touched up, we haven’t moved all of the bedside tables and closet shelves back in. We’re still living out of a laundry basket and that furniture is in one of the boys’ rooms and the living room.
We also had a new toilet installed at about the same time as we moved our bed back into the bedroom. It’s a real low-flush toilet that actually has two different buttons to press for flushing, depending on the contents of the toilet. This is in contrast to our low-tech low flush toilet, because I’m all about water conservation!
It has been more than five weeks since we’ve had our own shower. Our contractor-friend is doing this project on the side and he can’t get here every day. I can almost see the finish line on this project!
When I think about how there was one house we lived in that had tiles falling off the wall in the bathroom around the tub so we had to take baths and be really careful not to splash water on the walls. That was so fun when I tried to wash my waist-length hair – not! Why we lived with our bathroom (which was Pepto-Bismol pink and black and my mother used to say it looked like a bordello) in that state indefinitely, I will never know.
At least with our current project there is progress and I know it won’t be that much longer before we’re all the way resettled. A month on the pull-out couch makes me appreciate our bed, even though it sometimes seems kind of crowded when our dogs are on board.
Sharing a bathroom for six weeks with the boys will help me be all that much more grateful for my husband’s and my own shower, even though it’s small – it will be all new and all ours.