She shuts the front door and whining muffles. Instead of every word she just hears phrases. "....it's mine...." "I'mmmm hunnnnnngry." Her shoulders are still tight as she turns on her "Relax" playlist. The music sounds anemic coming from the tiny phone speakers.
She turns on the shower, trying to ignore that the faucet is caked in soap scum. She increases the flow from the showerhead, drowning out the last notes from her fighting children. "It's his turn," she sighs. "I've dealt with this shit all day."
She undresses, avoiding the mirrors. She doesn't want to see what 30 something years, three pregnancies, and zero free time did to a body she's spent her life struggling to love.
As she steps in the shower, she releases an involuntary sigh. "They are not all like this" she thinks as the hot water hits her skin for the first time in days. "Not every day sucks.".
Her shoulders drop a little as beads of water soak into her hair, erasing the dent created by her daily ponytail. She closes her eyes and lets the water run down her face. Each drop seems to grab a little bit of her stress and carries it down the drain.
That report she screwed up at work. Drip.
The customer she forgot to call. Drop.
The lunch she forgot to pack for her son. Drip.
The call from the daycare director concerning her daughter's biting. Drop.
The dinner still not made. Drip.
The friend she's yet to text back. Drop.
All of it, down the drain, washed away with the shampoo and soap. For the five minutes she spends hiding under the spray of hot water, she is at peace. She doesn't have the time for fancy "self-care" rituals. Instead, she takes a shower.