Oct 3, 2008

Knee-, Back-, Water-, and Time-Saving Bathtime Tip....

Growing up, I remember my mother saying (in reference to my grandmother's bum knees), "She spent XX years on her knees bathing children every single night."

Now that I'm in my 11th year of giving nightly baths (only missing a few nights I can probably count on two hands due to children who love to run barefoot and get sweaty or dirty), I "get it" now.

I look at my knees and the first thing that stands out are the dark, rough patches that lotions just do not seem to help. It's worsened with shaving I think too. I can sometimes see how the razor has made its way into those calluses on occasion -- this can only exacerbate the issue.

I kneel on nice bath mats, so why this? Well, being a mom, THIS isn't the only time you kneel. You find yourself crawling on floors for various reasons - spot carpet cleaning, playing with the kids, cleaning the tile floors, the toilets, etc., but with 3 kids, the longest and most repetitive task is the bath. This can go on for who knows how long - depending on the number of kids we have I suppose. Sure, it didn't bother me much the first, oh, maybe 6 years.....but 11.....that's when the long-term effects set in! Start while it doesn't bother you and avoid it, period!

When I was pregnant with my last baby and was dealing with some severe back issues, I remembered spending nights at my grandma's house. I remembered getting baths in the basement in their concrete laundry tubs. I remember we loved it. My husband and I went out and bought a new, divided laundry tub for our basement. (I couldn't imagine putting them into the nasty ol' stained one that had been here probably since the house was built.)

After the baby was born, I returned to bathing upstairs in the regular bathtub. Then we ran into the issue of who to wash first and whether or not I would have enough hot water to accomplish all 3 each evening - the little guy liked to potty in the tub, which required a complete drain and refill, and the older 2 were too dirty to go first - gone were the days where I could just get all 3 in one tubful of water....ever heard the saying "Don't throw out the baby with the bath water?" I decided it was time to move back downstairs, all but the oldest who is bummed about it, and we have all loved every single minute of it.

Just as I did as a kid, my kids loved it and still love it. Even though our laundry room is unfinished and a tad creepy by kid standards, they still love it. They request it. My 11-year-old is now too big to fit and takes showers upstairs now anyway, but he does still try to work his way in for a crack at it. It's like a mini hot tub to them. As you can see, my 8-year-old still loves it and still fits (She hates showers.) The water is deeper for them, and they therefore stay much warmer throughout their bath. They also get to visit and pretend play with one another (even though there is 6 years between my last 2).

The bennies are:

  1. You use less than half the amount of water for both sides of a divided laundry tub than you do in a regular bathtub. (When you put the kids in, the level rises).
  2. You get to stand through the entire bath time.
  3. The bath time lasts about 20 minutes, including play time, for 2 kids together, rather than the 20 minutes for each individually upstairs for a total of 40 minutes.
  4. The dirty laundry hamper/sorter is right behind me, dirty clothes are put directly where they need to be.
  5. I can fold and sort laundry while they play. (Just don't start a load while they are in so as to not add washing machine drainage into one of those tubs!)
  6. They stay warmer with deeper water.
  7. They get towels warmed in the dryer to dry off with (wish I did!).
  8. My knees and back have been spared with no back issues since adopting this method.
  9. Toddlers don't tip over in a square tub like they do in a regular bathtub.
  10. My husband has agreed to finally "finish" this half of the basement. The creepy factor will be eliminated, I will get a new laundry room, and I still have at least another 4 years of bath time!

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