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13/10/2011 / melgardener

The value of privacy

I had reason to travel to Melbourne this week on a business trip and it was while ensconced within the confines of my hotel room I realised I have, slowly but surely, lost my grip on privacy and my own personal boundaries.

This realisation was rammed home when I went to use the bathroom in my one-person hotel room. No big deal, right? I walked in, turned around and shut the door.

That’s right! I shut the door behind me.

Even though there was no-one else in the room and no-one due to enter at any time soon.

As the door slid shut I suddenly realised that it had been a very long time since I had been allowed any private bathroom time. Even if my children have slowly (and very reluctantly) cottoned onto the fact that I’m not really comfortable with them sharing my toileting space, they still like to station themselves outside the bathroom and either knock on the door until I have a pounding headache or keep me ‘amused’ with chatter until I give up and come out with my hands up (albeit washed and dried).

They like to perch on the toilet seat and regale me with unrelenting banter as I shower. If I dare remove myself to the toilet they will ask (from the safety of the other side of the door) over and over again “Are you done yet?” which has to be the most annoying question invented since someone came up with “Are we there yet?”. If I am dressing, my eldest in particular likes to point out my body parts and how they currently differ to hers.

My favourite so far? Hmmm…that’s a hard choice between “Mum, why are your boobies all dripping?” (she meant droopy) and “Mum, why does your bottom have all those dimples on it?”. I swear, these are all direct quotes (trust me, with material this good, I don’t need to invent).

At the moment, both my kids are in that no-mans-land stage where they feel no need for privacy therefore they have no concept that someone else might. Every now and again I get glimpses that my eldest – at 8 – is starting to understand that privacy is something to be valued. But these glimpses are few and far between. I suspect the next challenge will be when she starts requesting her own privacy and the current 4-year-old doesn’t have a clue. Can’t wait to referee that one.

How do you manage privacy in your house? Do you have relaxed personal boundaries or are you more of a ‘share and care’ type?


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