I literally don’t remember the last time my kids had a bath. No, I don’t mean in the sappy “they take showers now, they’re growing up so fast” kind of way. I mean, I don’t bathe them as often as is socially expected. I’m going to go ahead and attribute part of this to the fact that my memory is terrible. Maybe I have bathed them more often, but I just forgot. That’s possible, right? It makes me feel better, so we’ll just say it is. Just yesterday, we left the house for a long outing, and I forgot to pack lunch for everyone. My daughter said, “It’s okay, Mommy. You can’t remember things. I’m the rememberer of the family. I’ll remember for you next time.” She’s so sweet to accommodate for my handicap.
But I’m sure some of the fault lies with me. I avoid bath time with any excuse I can think of.
They swam today; that counts, right?
We didn’t really do anything; they couldn’t have gotten that dirty.
I wiped their hands and faces off a million times each today – that’s even better than a bath.
Honey, you sprayed them with the hose when you watered the plants, right? That’s good enough.
A little dirt is good for them. Strengthens the immune system. I’d be doing them a disservice to bathe them.
I’m just SOOO tired. I’ll do it tomorrow. (Wait, did I say that yesterday?)
Have you ever tried to bathe 3 young children? It’s exhausting! 2 of them are fighting over who gets to be in the front. All of them are fighting over who has more bubbles. The youngest is throwing wet toys across the room. There is so much water being flung in the air, you would think the sprinklers had come on. Heaven forbid I try to wash someone’s hair – I might as well have cut off their arm. So much chaos can come from a little one having water poured over their head. Mommy has full-blown betrayed them. Yet, somehow this little one has no problem dumping cup over cup of water over their own head, ensuing in giggles galore.
Even if it does turn out to be a pleasantly calm experience, however, there is still the task of drying and dressing 3 little people. It’s a true exercise in patience and endurance, and I can’t say I always pass this test with flying colors.
In almost 6 years of bathing my babies, though, I’ve come up with a few strategies that make bath time a little more pleasant for us. Hopefully they can help you too!
Bathe them in the middle of the day.
This might sound crazy, but it has been almost life-changing for us. You have more patience and energy in the middle of the day. They aren’t so cranky and tired. It gives them something fun to do, while you might even get a little down time. (Please don’t leave the room. But reading a book while sitting in the same room is not against the rules.) Bonus points if you get it done right before nap time – somehow, baths wear them out like crazy! Are you thinking middle-of-the-day baths don’t make much sense if they’re just going to get dirty again later in the day? Who cares? You’d probably agree it’s better than the alternative of only getting a bath in once every 2 weeks. (I’m not saying I’ve waited that long…but I’m not saying I haven’t.)
You don’t always have to wash them.
Let yourself off the hook and don’t wash their hair every time. It’s not getting oily like ours yet anyway, so no one will notice (trust me!). Throw in some bubble bath and call it getting clean. It’s better than no bath at all, and even their fingernails will look clean afterwards – but you didn’t have to do a thing to wipe them down.
Use a shower hat/splash guard
These things can be awesome. They keep water out of your child’s eyes without you having to twist like a contortionist to make them comfortable. Just put the hat on and pour the water over their heads. It’s beautiful. And mine was only like $2 on Amazon. The only downside to these is that some kids just won’t keep them on. During some stages, my kids wouldn’t keep anything on their heads, and couldn’t make the connection that it was helping them avoid a traumatic experience for both of us. I think if I would have started using it at a younger age, they may have gotten used to it and not fought it so much.
Here’s to modifying the norm and making a happier bath time for us all!!