Okay. First off, I am very thankful for my sons. I am very thankful that they are with me. I am glad that I have them each and every day. Yes. This is true. I also know that we are not to be complainers. It is commanded, “Do all things without arguing and complaining …” We are not to be whiners. It is ungodly. BUT then we are also to speak the truth in love. We are to bear one another’s burdens. So, hoping that this doesn’t sound like complaining, and in the vein of speaking truth and allowing others to bear my burdens (sorry readers) I have to share this. AAARGH! What in the world can I do with my boys’ bathroom!
We have two bathrooms that are back to back so that the pipes are shared. These are the typical very small bathrooms with the sink right beside the toilet, right next to the tub and there is no room to do anything other than what is required. Even then it is tight operating quarters! I know that they don’t have a lot of room to maneuver. The constant state this bathroom is in, though, is going to drive me crazy! I just have to let it out. What in the world? What in the world?!
There are four towels-four boys-four towels. Can we please hang them up? I have a towel rack for two of them, and the shower curtain works nicely for the other two. Their bathroom is the bathroom that guests use so I am constantly going in there to check on the condition of this room; and I am forever NOT HAPPY! There is often NO towels to be found (they are usually on bedroom floors). After I go searching for the towels, I commence the clean up.
What in the world is there to clean up? Well, let me tell you. I know you are riveted at this point! I have two who are almost daily shavers now. Often the shaving cream is left out on the sink. The razors can be found in a variety of places, except in the medicine cabinet or the vanity cupboard where they belong. I also have three teens with active acne issues. There are a variety of acne treatments strewn almost anywhere, from the sink to the shelf above the toilet to the shelf on the medicine cabinet, to the floor. Then there is the hair gel and the combs and the brushes along with tooth paste spilled on the edges of the sink. What is so hard about squeezing toothpaste on your tooth-brush? Why is it that there is always so much toothpaste in a glob on the sink? I just don’t get that! I don’t. Do you? I mean they are no longer two, four, six, and eight. They are eighteen, sixteen, thirteen, and twelve! Certainly by now we can aim enough to put the toothpaste on the tooth-brush! Right? Well, apparently WRONG!
And while we are talking about aiming … yes, I just have to go there briefly. I will try to do so with tact. Do you know how hard it is to keep a small bathroom shared by four boys smelling fresh? Okay. Forget smelling fresh. I would settle for just NOT smelling like a port o john! I keep either Clorox or Lysol wipes beside the toilet. Part of one of the chore duties assigned to someone each day is to swish and swipe. That means use the toilet bowl brush, swish it out quickly, and swipe down the sink and the toilet. It only takes a few minutes. This daily routine combined with a weekly true cleaning is supposed to keep my bathroom in tip top shape so that I am not embarrassed when visitors go into it to use it! Well, that is what Flylady told me! WRONG! It always smells!
Little by little, AFTER the chores are done, they each go in there and perform their daily toilette. Now, it wouldn’t take a lot-starting off with the bathroom in decent shape-to just pick up after yourself in order to leave the bathroom in tip top shape. Hang up your wet towel, aim properly when using the toilet, put away all your creams and shaving equipment etc … and pick up your clothes from behind the door. That one really gets me. Why do we have to leave our clothes behind the bathroom door? Take them with you when you go to your bedroom to dress and put them away or into the laundry!
So, now that I have vented all my frustrations I have to say that the Lord is helping me with this. Yesterday, I went into the bathroom for likely the fourth time or more that day to straighten things up. Yes, I know that by doing this I am failing to train them. Yes, I know that I should call the culprit in and make him clean up his own mess. Let me say that it gets old. It is hard to figure out who exactly IS responsible for the latest whirlwind mess. So, I have to figure that out, find that person, listen to the moaning and go in after they have supposedly “picked up their stuff” to do it to my satisfaction anyway. So, I confess I often just go in and do it myself. Anyway, I went in and there was a new set of pajamas behind the door, hair of various kinds in various places, creams and gel and what not on the sink, toothpaste tube without its cap, (another one that makes me say: what is so hard about putting on the cap?) and no towels to be seen! BUT I actually laughed. Not only did I laugh, but I felt joyful inside. I thought of my messy sons and it made me smile. I heard literally within my brain the words: “Serve me cheerfully. Pick up your cross.” I did just that. I straightened it AGAIN. I put away clothes, I found and hung up all the towels, I did my best to rid the bathroom of its odor with another wipe down, and IT FELT GOOD!
See, the serenity prayer is so helpful in times like this. Recognize the things you can change and accept the things you cannot change. I think I have come to the conclusion that my sons are not going to maintain the main bathroom to my satisfaction. I will continue to train them as we go, to teach them, to give reminders, and on occasion implement consequences; but for the most part it is my pet peeve and I need to do it with joy and let it go! Let it go! Deep breaths mom. The joy of the Lord is your strength. They are gifts from the Lord. Certainly, I can perform this task cheerfully many times a day, day in and day out, seven days a week, fifty-two weeks a year, for the next decade! Not a problem. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength! Work as unto the Lord and not as unto men. My life is to be a living sacrifice.
So, thanks for listening. It helped to get it all out. I am sure some of you can relate. And the next time you go into your bathroom to pick up after your children, whether they are boys or girls or your husband, know that you are not alone! No, you most certainly are not. And maybe no one tells you and maybe you feel as if no one knows…but someone does. All the other moms doing the same thing KNOW. And most importantly our God knows. He sees. He smiles. He is pleased. That alone should cause me to do it without complaining. Sorry, Lord, for the times I haven’t. It is a privilege to serve You by serving my family. Amen!