The Significance of Cleaning Bathrooms

God gave me children to clean the house so that I wouldn’t have to. At least, that’s my theory–I hate cleaning bathrooms and putting away clean laundry, so I popped out three babies to take care of that problem. If the baby could walk to me when I said, “Walk to Mama; C’mon walk to Mama,” then that baby could walk to the toy box and put away her toys. If the toddler could deprive me of many hours of sleep by refusing to stay in his bed at night, then he could climb back over to that bed in the morning to make it. And if that little girl was adept enough to take off her clothes and run naked through the yard, then she could surely pick out an outfit in the morning and put it on–matching clothes is not a requirement for me.

With all the chores my children know how to do, bedrooms should always look neat, playrooms picked-up, and my house presentable. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. I’m lucky if I have one day out of every week where my house looks clean. In reality, I might have one day where one section of the house is clean, but two days later, that area is a wreck while we’re working on another section.

I find nothing more discouraging. I look at my days as a stay-at-home mom, days full of cooking and cleaning and driving and playing, and many nights I have nothing to show for all my work except for a pile of laundry on the chair and an exhausted mind that wants nothing more but a pillow and a book to pretend to read.

Yesterday morning, our pastor spoke to the life of a mother given that it was Mother’s Day, and he pointed out ‘Three Monsters of Motherhood.’ Discouragement, that emotion I experience frequently, was on the list. However, he read Galatians 6:9-10: “9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”

I tried to take those verses to heart, and they did give a little hope, but I also had to admit that most days I do feel weary. Never before in my life did I question myself as much as I do as a mother. Am I really making a difference? Would they be better off if I went back to work? Have I scarred them forever? Am I too strict? Am I too easy? Did we brush teeth today?

The questions are endless, and sometimes I wonder if I didn’t just waste a day, not making a dent in my kids’ lives at all. This feeling of insignificance was another monster my pastor mentioned. He told us, though, to take hope in the fact that we can have spiritual moments when we’re driving in the car with our kids as much as when we’re sitting around the kitchen table for dinner. We are to remember Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and talk to our children about God during all the moments of our day, from the hours spent in the minivan to moments before we kiss goodnight and turn out the lights. Our days are significant when we teach our children about the Lord.

In his goodness, the Lord showed me that these words were true.

Given my theory on the purpose of children, I figured there was no better day than Mother’s Day to add to my children’s repertoire of household chores. My husband told me to relax on the couch while he made dinner, but he invited our parents over, too. Someone had to vacuum and clean the bathroom, and since it wasn’t going to be me, that left the jobs to the kiddos.

The six-year-old called vacuuming, so I decided my four-year-old would have to clean the bathroom. This job was new for her, so I supervised the activity.

I instructed Hannah Grace in how to clean the toilet.

“Okay, now you have to lift the lid and clean this part, too.”

“Disgusting,” she commented, but she cleaned the whole bowl and lid the same.

“Now, Hannah, when you clean the floor make sure you get back here, too. And clean this white wood here.” I tapped on the baseboard to get the attention of the little girl who was already busy wiping behind the toilet.

She finished, and it wasn’t perfect, but it was good enough considering I had just employed child labor. Hannah Grace then surprised me by wanting to clean her bathroom, too. We made our way upstairs, and she immediately began taking everything out of the bathroom–the little white stool, the bath mats, and the trash can.

“I’m taking all of this out because this is what you do, right, Mommy?”

It was, in fact, what I do so that I can clean the whole floor.

“Can you get me a bag?”

I went downstairs to grab a plastic bag. After I handed it to her, she draped it over the top of the blue trashcan and then flipped the can over.

“That’s how you do it,” she said. I watched and pondered as this little girl who had never cleaned the bathroom with me imitated everything I typically do.

“Eck. Why don’t you ever clean the trashcan?” she questioned.

I was a little taken aback, but as she cleaned the inside of the trashcan, I praised God. Yes! A child who cleans even better than I do!

“There,” she exclaimed, sticking her nose in the can. “Mmm, now this smells good!”

I thought we were finished, but, apparently, we weren’t. I was told that she was going to clean my sinks because, “Mom, your counter is a mess.” Of course, the reason everything was a mess is that Hannah Grace and her sister flooded the bathroom when they turned on the water and left a sink plugged, thereby causing the need for a contractor to rip out the floor and old vanity. However, I simply agreed and let her go to work.

And as I watched this munchkin clean the third bathroom for the day with remarkable thoroughness, I realized that what my pastor spoke was true. She did watch me, and she did listen. And if she had memorized the cleaning techniques that I had never explicitly taught her, how much more had she absorbed those points that I taught her day after day?

My job is significant, and I can’t grow weary of doing it. It’s too important.

As Hannah Grace finished the floor, I pointed out a few spots that she had missed.

“I’m done, Mom,” she replied. “I’m not doing it; I’m done.” And with that she walked away.

It is okay, however, to grow weary of cleaning the bathrooms.

Linking up with Michelle today. Do you battle with feelings of discouragement or insignificance? How do you fight against them? Have a wonderful week!



 

 

14 thoughts on “The Significance of Cleaning Bathrooms

  1. Isn't it amazing how much children take in and notice? A job well done! Bathrooms and all!
    I hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day! Now can you send your kids to Jersey? My bathroom floor can use a little sprucing up. 😉

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    1. I know the kids would love to go back to Jersey; I hear at least once a week how much they miss everyone!

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  2. Stopping over from Michelle's and glad I did. Delightful post – you brought a smile to my face and I can't get over the thoroughness of Hannah's cleaning…. wow

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  3. So great Jennifer. I am weary now, as I've turned 40, still having a little one at home…I am ready for her to attend pre-school in August, just bein real. Thankfully, she is more ready to go then I am for her to go.

    This is a hard job. But I would not change a thing…and would do it all over again.

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    1. Agreed, Lisa, on all counts. I used to feel guilty that I didn't have my kids home with me all day and sent them to preschool, but I don't now. Even homeschool moms send their kids to music lessons or dance or homeschool groups so that they have a little mental break during the day. I'm learning more and more that we moms need help, and having others involved in our kids' lives is a good thing. Hang in there!

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  4. Had to read once I saw the title and glad I did.

    Do I battle insignificance? Sometimes. Actually more often than I'd like to admit.

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    1. Me, too. I wish I didn't compare myself to others or allow myself to feel small, but, unfortunately, sometimes I do.

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  5. You've trained her up well – I doubt my boys (all 3 of them…including the 46-year-old) would ever clean a bathroom around here!

    Good to see you, Jennifer…I've been terribly remiss in visiting you and everyone else these weeks. I miss you!

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  6. Oh, Jen, she is the most adorable and precious kid. I love spending time with her, as we always have so many laughs. Laughed at the part where she told you, "I'm done Mom."
    Good job, Hannah, and Mommy, too.

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    1. Yeah, she cracked me up then, too. I couldn't blame her. I never clean that many bathrooms at one time if I can help it!

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  7. Okay a great post and Hannah Grace out did herself. Now let me give you a suggestion that might help. You indicated that she actually knew what to do because she has seen you do it. Now here is what you need to do to burn it into her brain, as well a Caleb and Chloes brain. Always talk to them about God and Jesus when you are with them. (Deut. 6:4-9) Do that first to get them in the right frame of mind. THEN, recite Galations 6:9-10 and let them recite it. THEN leave subliminal messages for them while they sleep and befoe you know it, they won't be able to stop working. They'll work instead of playing. Your home will be beautiful but THEN you'll have to figure out how to change your kids from zombies to kids again. Love Dad

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  8. I do agree with you friend, when kids are at home they just don't mess with bathroom only but they just spoil each and everything while playing, I like the way kids play, that's why I don't react on their activity. Let them do what ever they want.

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