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Let's Panic: The Book!

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How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain,
and Finally Turn You
into a Worthwhile
Human Being.

Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

Some Books
I'm In...

Sleep Is
For The Weak

Chicago Review Press

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Let's Panic

The site that inspired the book!

At LET'S PANIC ABOUT BABIES, Eden Kennedy and I share our hard-won wisdom and tell you exactly what to think and feel and do, whether you're about to have a baby or already did and don't know what to do with it. → 

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My friend Irene was here last week, visiting from her exotic homeland of London, England. We were at lunch, and then I confessed something, Something horrible.

Me: I have to say, I feel a little gross. I didn't shower for a few days, and then this morning I went to the gym and when I got back home, the water was shut off because they're doing some kind of plumbing work.

Irene: [Horrified stare]

Me: So then there wasn’t enough time to go back to the gym and shower and still meet you for lunch, but we have this kind of large Brita container, which holds a lot of water, but it was in the refrigerator, so I basically gave myself an icy sponge-bath. And then dumped the rest of the water over my head. Which was bracing, to say the least. It was like an ice-cream headache, only more so.

[Irene stares at me as if I had told her that I like to poop in the sink.]

Irene: But…why didn't you shower in—how many days, did you say?

Me: Um. A few? Maybe a couple. I kind of can't remember.

Irene: You can't remember the last time you showered?

Me: I can't say my showers are all that memorable. Don't look at me like that. You live in Europe! You should be comfortable with the unwashed!

Irene: You used to shower every day, in college!

Me: Are you saying you still shower every day?

Irene: …

Me: !

Then we agreed never to talk again.

Or rather, we made fun of each other for a while, then changed the topic. I may have made her smell me, at some point. (For the record, I smelled fine. Ice water and baby wipes can accomplish quite a bit.)

It should be said that Irene does not have kids. (And no disparaging Irene, please; she's one of my best friends and I will have to come to your house and give you a noogie if you do.) (Don't think I won't.) So I could say that she has all the time in the world to take daily showers. But my son is six. It's not like he's an infant. I have time. And yet I find myself forgetting to shower. Forgetting, or deciding there are better things to do, like, I don't know, read? You can't read in the shower, after all. Someone needs to fix that.

I ran into my other friend (I have more than one!) Jennifer today, and we were talking about this not-showering habit of the children-having. Jennifer has two kids, so she has more reason to not shower. "Not only do I not shower, but I forget to brush my hair," she said.

"I don't own a brush," I countered.

"I never look in the mirror," she said. "One day I got my hair wet in the outdoor sprinkler, and my hair was all plastered down on one side and it was like that all day. And I had no idea."

"Oh, I have to look in the mirror," I said, "because I usually have something crazy stuck in my hair. Like a cat toy, or a pack of gum. Seriously. Did I tell you about the time I walked around with a hanger hanging from the back of my coat? I never leave home without giving myself a once-over."

"I'm going to shower now," Jennifer said, "Since I just went to the gym. So that’s good, right?"

"I hope your water is on, but if it's not, may I recommend ice water and baby wipes?"

Somewhere in England, a glamorous, freshly showered woman wept for all of us.

Reader Comments (138)

I usually shower every other day, but went 2 days sans because I knew nobody was going to see my greasy hair. I pull it into a ponytail and then tell myself that it looks shiny like the hair in shampoo commercials. Yes, that's it. SHINY! Not greasy!

horrible confession: I brush my teeth less than I should because I either forget or at night, I fall asleep on the couch.

I do own a brush now, but there was a 6 year stretch when I didn't. If my hair were short still, i still wouldn't have one.
July 14, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterkate
Hey, I'm a huge reader so was intrigued to find out you can do it in the shower but really, a shower takes, what, 4 minutes? Can you not just go without for 4 minutes? I shudder to think how much water I'd waste if I got all engrossed in my book. Now, a bath and the toilet, and cooking and ironing, they are completely different things :-)

July 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNot My Mother
Haha I have taken the baby wipe shower a few times. Buuuuut, my son is 13 months. Am I going to continue for the next 5 years to forget to shower or just flat out be unable to because I am being nagged for a banana? That's depressing. :)
July 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBeth in SF
Okay, I am going to delurk here to THANK you all for making me feel normal. Not showering is like the new black right? I can stop feeling like a disgusting cave dweller, and just consider it par for the course!
July 14, 2009 | Unregistered Commenternewlywifed
Oh wow. I am laughing at the familiarity of all this dirtiness and I am immensley impressed by those of you who have figured out how to read in the shower. You are truly amazing.

I just ran into a mom today who, unshowered like me, said she had just purcahsed dry shampoo so she could go days without the shower. This is incredible - there are products for us?

I have moved to the night shower but even then sometimes I don't want to go to sleep with wet hair and I feel like I might pass out at any moment so the hair gets skipped. Oops. I'm prego - again - sue me! People are lucky I even remember to get dressed in the morning with a 1 and 2 year old and 1 on the way.

Alice your ice shower is great! Dear lord you must have REALLY needed a wash. I firmly believe that after that PLUS miracle baby wipes you are clean. Fab post!
July 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMommy Words
I have an almost 3-year-old and an almost 1-year-old. I haven't showered since February.

I have trained myself to look in the mirror in the mornings, but as the day progresses I rarely remember to take another glance. For instance, if by some act of God the naps overlap AND I don't have any housework to do, I MIGHT (oh hells yes I will) take a little cat-nap. Let's assume I swiped on a bit of mascara in the morning, as this is the one bit of make-up I rely upon to keep me from looking like the walking dead. It is then safe to assume that said mascara melted all over my face during my nap. It is also safe to assume that I take my children to Target in the afternoon looking like Alice Cooper. Damn.
July 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMeegan
Showering is the least of things I forget to do since becoming a mother....
I say, with all the warmth and kindness I can muster - I'm a little bit grossed out by all of you. If I have to skip a morning shower for some reason, I'm in there as soon as I can in the evening. I just feel disgusting without one, plus they're all warm and soapy and delicious smelling!

Full disclosure: I have one child who's now 14, but you can bet your bippy that I've showered daily all through his childhood.

A selfish mom is a clean mom!

July 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKathleen
if your teeth are brushed and your underwear are clean, you have made quite the accomplishment. baths are good though. they are like a luxurious secret after my kids are asleep. i will pour in bubbles, put a rolled towel at the back to cushion my head, and read in there for an hour. with the bubbles in there you get pretty darn clean while soaking and reading. :0) and there are hats so the hair is no problem.
July 14, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterkelly snelling
OMG!! LMAO!! That is GREAT!!
July 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHeather
I, too, have evolved (devolved?) into showering less and less over the years. Hey, we're saving the environment! I wonder if it has to do with finding a mate. We had to stay clean to get them, but now that we've suckered them into the set-up, they have to deal with our uncleanliness. But we get the last laugh right? Then again, we're the ones walking around with pantiliners and cat toys stuck in our hair.
July 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKaren
You have me laughing, and crying. I don't forget to shower, but I don't get to it as often as I should. I have a little one that keeps me busy. Shower time is my only me time. Sad to say I don't get me time daily.
July 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAmber Lynae
Great. Now you have me wondering if I could read in the shower if I put my Kindle in a ziploc baggy. Hmm...
July 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHaus
July 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAlexandra
Night showerer here and I'm adamant about it. I have an almost 10 year old, 6 year old, and 2 year old twins. I have showered each and every single night since forever. It just feels so good to have 4-6 minutes where I can't (or pretend to not be able to) hear anyone.
July 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSkye
The only time I don't shower is when I'm too sick to get out of bed, and even then I often lie there stewing in my own feverish sweat and wondering whether I can stand up for long enough to soap and rinse. But I also wash my hands about 385 times a day and can't get into bed without washing my feet first, so this is probably less of a virtue and more of a sign of latent OCD on my part.
July 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterVanessa
I LOVE THAT STORY. Thank you so much for sharing. And I don't even have kids. So I have NO excuse except I get busy. Doing stuff. Don't judge me.
July 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJessica
Kay - now that I've read the responses I have one last comment that encompasses several incredibly excruciating episodes. Like the time that I showed up for work with not only two different colored shoes on, but the heels were different heights. You'd think I would have noticed that on my way out of the house...

Also - the time at work (same employer) when I was walking along with colleagues and had these flowy pants on and all of a sudden a pair of panties shot out of my right leg. It had apparently adhered itself to the inside and the pants were so flowy, I didn't notice. Did I mention one of those colleagues was my boss? And he was a man? Yeah. Welcome to my embarrassing life.

Then, this other time, that has nothing to do with laundry or showering, but I was walking across the parking lot at work (same job), and directly in front of the largest conference room on campus, that had a glass window, so you know everyone was gazing outside because they were bored silly. Well, I walked under a low branch and my bun dealie got stuck. As in it stopped me cold, and I spent a good five minutes flailing my arms about the place because I was basically pinned to the tree via my hair. In front of the big window and the bored people. Again, yay, me. Tee hee!

Wow - bit off track, but I'm sure yer giggling. Cuz you can't help yourself. It's just soooo very sad. And it happens to me all the damn time. So I just laugh.

Welcome to my daily existence.
July 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJessica
For one of my elementary school Invention Fairs, I 'invented' a book umbrella just for reading in the shower. I remember it involved drinking straws and plastic wrap and actually worked pretty well...
July 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKate
Also, I usually shower every three days or so. I love the actual shower in the water part but HATE the drying off part. HATE HATE HATE. I need some sort of futuristic drying tube thingy.
July 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKate
*Sob* I have to shower everyday because I work outside and have baby fine hair that gets greasy fast:( I envy you non-showerers! I am also a little bit of a freak and shave my legs every day even in the winter, because I just like the way they feel. Sounds pretty creepy, huh?
July 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKgirl
Considering that at this point I only shower two or three times a week, I will now commence living in fear of when I do have children.

I'm thinking once every other week? *shudder*
July 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKat
I have a one year old daughter, and I have joined the club of washing up with baby wipes.I love to read a book, but cannot in the shower either- or almost anyplace. I don't read near as much as I used to. I am thinking of getting audio books, so I can listen to the books..
July 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda
Kindle + Ziploc Bag (gallon size) = Waterproof Kindle. Okay, maybe not scuba-diving-the-ocean-deep waterproof, but good enough for shower/bath/pool.
July 15, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterlittledinnerbelle
i haven't showered in days. i don't have kids yet, so there is no excuse.

i just dreamed last night that i ran into an old friend looking looking like this and i was horribly embarrassed. so i woke up this morning and decided that was a cue to head to the bathroom. but i still haven't yet.

so i would find this post funny on any day, but today: perfect.
July 15, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterlaura @ peacoat

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