‘Bout my New/Old Room

Not quite related to bio identical hormone replacement therapy, but close enough.

The week before spring break, I was busy making plans about all the things I would accomplish on my week off. I had planned to catch up on my reading, get ahead on my school work, do the laundry and shovel out from under all the dirt and yuck that has accumulated in my house over the preceding eight weeks. I finally got started on all that today, 3 days after spring break ended. What I actually did on spring break was way more important.
Last fall, I moved my 16 year-old daughter into the smallest room in the house, which had previously been my room. I took her place in the master bedroom, which I shared with my two youngest children. It made sense at the time, because of the different sleep schedules. Mine is much closer to that of the youngest children than hers is, no one was getting enough rest, and it just seemed like the best solution at the time. And it was, for her. And probably for them, as well. But not so much for me.
Once I moved out of my small, private room and into the larger more public room, I no longer had any privacy at all. I mean, I was used to having to field questions through the bathroom door while I went pee, but things escalated. I would push the bedroom door “to” for a few minutes of quiet, only to have little people thrust it open seconds later. I could no longer read a textbook, have a phone call or even think a thought with interruption and unwanted input. Not only did they feel free to violate my space, but they also took the liberty of running commentary on my every word and action. Puh-lease.
This invasion of privacy culminated week before last in one of my sons walking in on me while I was changing clothes. The following day, my daughter opened the closed door and walked in, exposing me to the neighbor kid who happened to be in the living room.
So, Monday of last week, I stuck with my original plan. Tuesday of last week, I went to Wal-Mart and got paint. I moved the baby girls’ bunk beds into an alcove in the living room. My sons and I painted that black and red room pink, and I took over the whole stinking thing. My room. I worked on it off and on, arranging it just so all week. And last Saturday night, I installed a Brinks exterior door lock on my bedroom door. That’s right. My bedroom door now has to be opened with a key.
And how have the kids responded to this? Much better than I thought! I taught them all that they must knock on the door, and now they do so even when the door is open. It’s nice. They’ve also slacked off on the interrupting while I’m talking, the constant commentary on my breathing, and the best part is that I haven’t inadvertently shown my ass in days.
So here’s what I have learned from that: my children (and other people) will give me exactly as much space and respect as I demand, and not one iota more. Now, I am not, by nature, a demander. For most of my 44 years, I have been quiet and unobtrusive and fairly subservient. It is a role I am comfortable in and for which I am reasonably well-suited. Apparently, folks think that because I don’t assert my boundaries, I don’t have them. Well, they are wrong, and that brings me to the next and best thing I learned: just because I don’t like to assert doesn’t mean I can’t, or that I won’t

One thought on “‘Bout my New/Old Room

  1. I’m a big believer in the idea that you teach people how to treat you. I’m not always great at giving those lessons myself. Seems to have worked in your case.

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