8 reasons bath time really does not spark joy

Kinderling News & Features

Bath time brings a mixed bag of emotions at our place.

As the last job on the list before bedtime, it can evoke a feeling of relief - a 'yay, the day is almost done' kind of vibe. 

Except of course, when it doesn't evoke that vibe and causes fights, mess and yelling instead! 

Because, let's be honest here, while the end result - sleepier, freshly washed children in soft PJs - has the potential to spark joy, the journey can be painful. 

(Which is why I laughed at the recent remake of Mary Poppins where Emily Blunt pours a gigantic bath and jumps right in too.)

After all, the bath has water in it. And that brings so much potential for sibling rivalry, spontaneous poo and wee and a whole lot of noise.

Here are just 8 of my pet hates about this conflicting time of day. What would you add?

1. Getting them in the bath

"It’s bath time. Get in the bath. I am going to count to three and then it’s bathtime. I am going to take away the Lego until you get in the bath. One more warning and then I will pick you up and put you in the bath." Sound familiar? This is how I sound most nights. And on one memorable occasion, someone* ended up in the bath fully clothed!

*That person was not me.

2. Getting them out of the bath

Aaand just like getting them in the bath, getting them out of it appears to be EVEN harder. Suddenly everything they hated about the idea of a bath 20 minutes ago, becomes the best thing ever. They simply MUST be in there for as long as possible and no amount of reverse cajoling (see above) will get them back out. 

3. Poo/wee in the bath

You’ve set them up nicely. Lovely, warm water, a good amount of bubbles, bath toys floating peacefully along the top of the water. And then - bam! Someone does a poo in there. Or stands up and does a wee, straight into the tugboat. (No naming names here, son number #2!). The perfectionist in me struggles SO much with not emptying the water out, for sheer water-saving purposes. (Unless it's a poo, in which case everyone gets a shower).

4. The sheer trauma of hair-washing night

Our neighbours often remark that they always know when it is hair washing day, because our oldest can be heard screaming the house down every. Single. Time. What is it about shampoo that freaks them out? 

5. Fighting over the bath toys

When both boys were born, the first toy we gave each was a cool bath toy - a seaplane for one, a tugboat for the other. They are born three years apart, so you’d think this would be an okay move. Apparently NOT! They each always (and still) want to play with the other's toy. Loudly. 

6. Water on the floor

We used to have a tremendous bath tub; huge, long and deep. Great for Mummy’s bath time, but not so great for toddlers learning how to bath. As much water that went into the bath ended up poured all over the bathroom floor. Like a river. Or a lake.  With the bath mat very literally being sent out to sea.

7. Too many bubbles

This was kind of cute when the kids were tiny. Watching them giggle at the bubbles on their nose and arms. Now they can reach the bath bubbles, this has failed to spark as much joy (to say the least)! It’s common for us to lose bottles of bath soap to tiny hands keen to squeeze the life and contents out of it for a single bath. I’ve learnt to dread the phrase: “Look Mummy, we’re making soup!”

8. Soggy socks and undies  

Sometimes the sheer force required to get little person INTO the bath means there is a trail of clothes from one end of house to the other. But usually, and infuriatingly, the socks and undies end up right at the foot of the bath. Soggy.

With all of this to contend with, it's a wonder we bother with any of it at all. Dirt is good for them, right?