Columns Parenting

Privacy as a parent? That’s a chimera

You read right. When you have kids, you sign over rights to any privacy at all!

I remember reading about individuals running marathons inside their house, restyling their home décor, baking fancifully in the quiet of their havens when the lockdown set in. As for me, I remember tripping over those tiny crazy balls and Lego litter, landing in an ungainly full split on the floor, hobbling slowly to my laptop after locking myself in the room, wheezing a sigh of relief while sinking into my chair before the hammering began on the door. Strangely enough, I don’t remember what life was like before I had kids, even though I strain my furry brows and look at clothes that were my second skin, 20 years ago. 

Privacy as a parent? Think again. When you have kids, you sign over rights to any privacy at all. Read my thoughts in my column

When you have children, you sign over your right to privacy. It is an instant process, with no clauses attached explaining when you might possibly retrieve it. That is the law of nature. When I leap into the shower, a little person bangs urgently, needing to use that very bathroom to pee in. I loofah and lather at breakneck speed. The relentless knocking and bamboozling of the doorknob continues as I try to wriggle quickly into some clothes, and then the incoherent mumbling outside the bedroom door starts the second I bang it shut.

The laundry arrives, the building plumber summoned four hours ago lands up with a surly look to fix the kitchen tap and mommy must be informed, the pest control chap decides to make a pest of himself and land up almost at lunchtime, excited squeals over make-up deliveries must be communicated, or simply ‘that’ turquoise eyeliner in my vanity caddy just needs to be used there and then to try out the new Snapchat filter, the junior is ravenous, the microwave goes kaput, the washing machine turns moody, the eggs make themselves scarce, or the Worcestershire sauce simply cannot be found. There is a nonsensical, inexplicable, seamless sync. The moment I switch off mentally, that very instant the medicine ordered from the chemist arrives, the intercom squawks, the watchman rings the doorbell to hand over some random society notice and the maid calls to inform she is on leave for the day. Or worse, asking me to vacate my room to let her mop. Hemmed inside pigeon-hole apartments, it is a consistent struggle to hang on to some sane semblance of privacy.

Shilpi Madan for DailyO

Read the Full Column