I really did have to go. But then I was alone. And the door was locked. The fan drowned out the noise, and I had my iPhone in my pocket. The bathroom is only a few feet away from the wireless router, so the signal is really good in there. So I stayed a while.
I'd just finished cooking dinner and doing dishes. The little one, overtired from her birthday week, had just had a fit because I wouldn't let her duct tape the furniture together. I'd explained my reasons, but she kept shouting, "BUT WHY?" at me.
After that had passed, her chief complaint was that she "wanted to do something" but didn't know what to do, which she asserted with a whine and venomous look that indicated it was my fault. I proposed several ideas, most of which involved new birthday presents, to no avail. In case I hadn't yet cued in that it was all my fault, she asserted, "But you never do anything with me." Oh, the drama.
I explained that I couldn't do something with her because I was doing something for her--cooking her dinner and doing dishes. My response was about as well-received as you'd expect under the circumstances. So I excused myself to the bathroom. And I didn't come out for a while.
While I was in there, I realized that mothers will never escape from mommy guilt because our children will not let us. No matter what we give them, they always will demand more. If you give them a rare dessert, they complain that they can't have seconds. Dessert or parenthood--it's all the same. You always leave them wanting more.
When it sounded safe to come out, I left the bathroom. The first thing I heard were two angry voices screaming at each other upstairs. Kindly, they'd kept their argument far from my bathroom hideaway, keeping me in blissful oblivion for a few extra minutes. It really was the best I could ask for at the time.
I may leave my children wanting more, but I have a list of wants as well. I'd like more quiet, more time, and more gratitude, but I will accept instead a few moments behind that locked door with my wi-fi signal. And I will feel no guilt about it whatsoever.