I have a confession to make. Hold your breath, it’s a big one!
I don’t shower too much these days.
Whew…ok breathe out! Now don’t get all weird…I’m not super stinky and gross or anything! I have good deodorant and perfume that works wonders! 🙂 I think all the moms, especially ones with younger kids, can relate to and understand the lack of a shower concept. It’s just what happens when you have little tiny people to take care of. I do a much better job at taking care of their bodies and teeth than I do my own; but I think for now, that’s okay. Showers have become one of those things that I appreciate more because they happen so rarely! As the saying goes, “absence makes the heart grow fonder,” so the 3-4 days that usually go by between each bath/shower make the days I do get to see that beautiful bath tub much more appreciated! I space and plan my showers very strategically, both in time and in day because I simply do not have time to indulge in things like showers (or sitting while I eat, uninterrupted without a person on my lap…or peeing in private!) Now, its not so much the showering that’s the issue. It’s all that has to happen after the shower!!! The hair!!! Good grief, the hair! I was not blessed with hair that i can just wash and go. That does not go well for me! So, unfortunately it takes me like a good 20-30 minutes these days to blow dry and straighten and do all that now that I got the brilliant idea to try to grow out my hair. Do you know what all can go down in 20-30 minutes with two almost 2 year olds!?!? In hindsight, I’m not sure that now was a good season of life for longer hair; but I will say, I’ve become very fond of the ability to put it up in a pony tail/messy bun/thrown up rat’s nest.
I plan my baths strategically based on whether or not I have to show my face in public and in what public places my face will be seen. There’s a hierarchy of importance and some things don’t warrant a shower. Walmart is on this list. The playground is another one. Even the doctor’s office is questionable. Church is something that deserves a shower, and now that I’m thinking about it, that might be the main one! Now, I have gotten down to a science how many days my hair can stand not to be washed. It actually looks better on day 2 so if I really wanna look “good” somewhere, I shower the day before it. Day 3 my hair still hangs on like a champ and can usually stay down unless I’ve worked out or walked or done things to grease it up a little, in which case, I bust out the dry shampoo! Day 4, I either have to shower or resort to the hair up look. Now I realize you’re all thinking a handful of things including a) who cares, b) what about the rest of your body that needs washing, and c) who cares. Well I have an answer for each of those. I do have a point to sharing this info (I think), and I do make sure the other parts of me that need to be washed more often than every 4 days are taken care of; thus maintaining the image of cleanliness! 🙂 And as we all know, it’s what’s on the outside that counts right!? 🙂
This makes me think of that saying “cleanliness is next to godliness.” All I have to say about that is man I hope not! There’s not a whole lot in my world that’s clean these days. I do enough to keep everything livable- house, vehicle, and body included, and that’s about as good as it gets. I think God understands that along with the 3 precious lives He blessed us with comes a lack of attention to other areas that used to seem more important.
Which brings me to my next point.
Today I sort of hit a moment where I realized my tank is pretty empty and I’m running on fumes. I’m not only on day 4 without a shower but there’s just many areas that have been depleted here lately. I’m working hard on plumping those areas back up but as we all know, some things take a lot more fuel than others.
This day hit me like a freight train. It wasn’t any different than any other day; I just realized my tank was more depleted than I wanted to admit to myself and it needs to be refilled. Luckily, just like I can take better care of my sons than they can take care of themselves at this point, my sweet heavenly father can take better care of me than I can take care of myself at this point. Thankfully He knows me well and knows exactly what I’m going to need and when I’ll need it. Tomorrow morning there’s a women’s conference I’m attending at church. I wasn’t even going to go but then suddenly a free ticket became available because a friend of mine’s plans changed. In case you’re wondering, that was God working for both of us! So thanks to my friend (and God…and my husband who will be watching all 3 boys alone), I get to go to the conference; and I have full faith it will refill my tank. In the hierarchy of bathing importance, I’d say a women’s conference where there will be hundreds of people is something that qualifies as worthy; and since today was day 4 and the conference is at 9 am, I decided it needed to happen tonight. Normally when i bathe it’s in the middle of the day during nap time either with Luke in a bouncy seat with me or even being bathed at the same time as me, or whenever my husband gets home so that he can be with the boys if they’re awake. I could get up early and do it but let’s be real, when given the choice between sleeping and bathing, the choice will always be sleeping! Regardless of when I bathe, it’s always done quickly and with much anxiety about who needs me and the impending hair drying issue we discussed earlier. This is how I do many things in life other than my children. …full of anxiety and distraction because something or someone else is usually more important, if not at least more pressing. Well tonight, it was different.
After all the boys were asleep I took a bath. I took a long bath. It wasn’t even my intention but somehow it seemed out of my control. I sat in the hot water that wrapped itself around my body and I just sat there. Then I laid back and submerged myself into the water and I just laid there. I let out a deep breath, maybe the first one I’ve taken in days, and I let the water take all my tension, all my stress, and all my anxiety. I gave it everything. I laid there in the water with only my face exposed and I didn’t even have thoughts. All I could hear was my own heart beating. It’s a good sound to hear. After probably 10 minutes of just being and just breathing (which I realized I don’t do enough of), I decided I should finish the bathing part before I fell asleep in there and possibly drowned. But when I came up from the water, I felt renewed. I felt my tank being filled just a little bit. I have to say that in my relaxed and exhausted state, I almost got out without having rinsed the conditioner off my head, but you all know how that goes! The whole experience was a reminder, just like this chaotic day, of the importance of self care…and also breathing! I remembered that in order for me to be good to anyone in my life, I have to first be good to myself. With no fuel in my tank, I can’t go anywhere. I have to put on my own oxygen mask before I can help anyone else with theirs.
Self care comes in all shapes and sizes and I think it looks different depending on what season of life you are in. For me right now, self care does not involve trips to the spa and shopping sprees. That only exists in my dreams. For me today, self care is taking a shower when I need one. Eating a healthy meal. Sitting down sometimes. Remembering to breathe. Journaling or reading during nap time. Praying while I do laundry and dishes…or even waiting on the dishes and laundry until after I’ve spent some minutes in prayer. Taking walks with my kids and spending time outside enjoying the beauty of what’s around me. It’s doing the small things I need to do for myself so that I stay sane. Or as close to it as I can. 🙂
Bathing, like so many things in life, is one of those things that is not a one and done type of deal. Unfortunate, I know. It’s something we have to do daily (ideally), or at least as often as possible. We can’t bathe one good time and expect that to keep us clean for the rest of our lives. It may keep us clean for the day, and it even may keep us mostly clean and presentable/tolerable to others for the next few days; but sooner or later, we will have to bathe again.
God is teaching me that I have to “bathe” in Him every single day. In Him is the only place where I will find rest, a full tank, endless love, grace, forgiveness, and sustainable cleanliness. Interestingly, in Him is also also the only place where I will be welcomed and celebrated no matter how many days it’s been since I “bathed.” That’s the cool thing about God. He doesn’t care how I smell, how empty my hands are, how many times I’ve fallen, how dirty my clothes are, or how greasy my hair is. When I come to Him, I am made whole and clean; I am given permission to breathe and just be; I am free to be myself and know that I am enough; I am cleansed fully. In order to get that though, I have to go to Him daily. I can’t think that the Sunday night weekly “bath” will sustain me any more than my bath tonight will keep me clean all week long.
So tonight, after a very long day and an even longer week, I am going to bed refreshed, cleansed, renewed, and with enough fuel in my tank to get me to that women’s conference in the morning where it will hopefully be filled the rest of the way. At least for one day! I know that without frequent “baths” in my life, I do start to stink. So as long as I keep breathing and keep “bathing” daily in God, even if it is 4 days between my physical baths, maybe i can manage my proverbial stench a little better and learn how to get clean through the only one that can keep me that way. So ladies and gentlemen, here’s to bathing! And breathing. And resting! Good night! ♡
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10
“Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.”
“That he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word.”