The other day I was having your typical toddler-hanging-on-leg, breakfast-dishes-piling-up, hair-sticking-up morning. As the kids demanded endless cups of milk and help fitting Lego men’s legs back into their tiny little joint holes, I caught myself thinking “I’m not even sure I’ll have time to take a shower today.”
Skreeeek! went my brain (that’s the sound of a needle stopping on the record, in case it wasn’t obvious.)
I have probably personally used the phrase “I never have time for a shower anymore!” four hundred and twelve times since becoming a mom, but I’ve been working on eliminating it from my vocabulary. I’ll admit it: there are days I just don’t feel like taking a shower, but is the problem really that I don’t have time? Or am I just trying to make myself feel more selfless by telling myself–and the world–that motherhood is so demanding I literally cannot squeeze in a five-minute clean-up?
True, most days it would be a stretch to fit in a long, luxurious shower during which I stand under the hot water for fifteen minutes, apply sugar scrub to every patch of potentially rough skin, deep-condition my hair and remove every single unwanted bit of fuzz from the backs of my knees. But that doesn’t mean I can’t take a little time to do something that makes me feel human and ready to start the day: a quick, no-frills scrub-up-rinse-down.
Choosing to skip a shower every now and then because I’d just rather not deal with wet hair is one thing, but by telling myself that I “can’t” have a shower I’m just buying into that dreaded mom-martyr myth. As I said in “The lesson of the blue dress,” it’s not that I have a problem with pony tails, unshaven legs, or the “mom uniform” of yoga pants in and of themselves:
“It’s just the idea that a pony tail is a sacrifice motherhood demands. That our kids are somehow better off if we live in sweats. The thing is, our kids did not ask us to give up our purses or our daily showers. Going without a bubble bath doesn’t make us better mothers.”
Needless to say, I did take a shower on that chaotic morning. Because I wanted one. And also, because I’ve figured out over the years how to squeeze a full-service shower into a very manageable amount of time.
How about you? Do you have five minutes to spare today? (If not: goodness girl, take a breather!)
In case you’re wondering how I squeeze in a shower on those really hectic days, I thought I’d share my three-minute routine, (which you’ll also find in the book I co-authored with Regina Leeds, One Year To An Organized Life With Baby):
- Shampoo hair. Use shampoo-covered hands to lather up underarms and do a quick wash-down of the rest of body.
- Rinse hair.
- Shave underarms. A good razor with a fresh, sharp blade is essential! You’re not going for a beach-ready set of armpits here, just comfort, so try shaving diagonally instead of straight up or down for less irritation.
- Put conditioner on hair.
- Step out of the water stream and use conditioner-covered hands to prep your legs
- Shave legs as much as you have time for. Don’t hurry on knees! They get nicked easily.
- Use exfoliating wash on face.
- Now, step back under the water stream and rinse from head to toe.
With practice, you really can do this entire routine in three minutes or fewer. And if you don’t care about shaving, I bet you can get it done in two or less.
It’s not really about the shower, though, is it? It’s about changing the messages we tell ourselves about motherhood. When “I don’t have time” becomes “I can take three minutes to take care of myself” or “I’d rather use those three minutes to lay in bed,” we realize just how many choices we have about the way we spend our time. 6 out of 7 days, I’d rather have the shower–and can find, make, or take the time if I just give it a fair shot.
My blog book tour is off to a great start! Check out some places featuring The Happiest Mom!
- I wrote about greening up your life the easy way and answered a few questions about my life as a (usually) happy mom over at Jennifer Margulis’s Mothering blog
- Read this interview with me and enter to win a copy of The Happiest Mom over at Alisa Bowman’s Project Happily Ever After
- How does organization help keep me a happier mom? Check out this interview (and a giveaway!) at the AboutOne blog.
- I Am Not Superwoman did a great review and is giving a couple of copies of the book away
- Read five of my tips to being a happier mom and–yep–win a copy of the book over at Mamapedia
Phew! Think I got everyone, but if not I’ll catch up in a later post. Hey, if you’re in mid-Michigan I’d love for you to head over to Schuler Books at Eastwood Towne Center, Lansing tonight and attend a special “mom’s night out” with me!