Yesterday, I shared the different stages of motherhood  I have been through, and many of you could relate to one or more of those stages.
And now I would like to illustrate how far I have come (drifted?) in my mothering journey with a true story of bath time schedules.
When my oldest child was under the age of two and an only child, we had a very strict bath time routine. In fact, it was more of a schedule, and I can say that with certainty because I actually wrote it down.
Let the overkill of that sink in. I wrote down on a piece of paper what was to take place during my baby's bath time.
I specifically remember the time my mother-in-law was babysitting so my husband and I could have a date night. It never occurred to me that the baby could skip her bath to make it easier on my mother-in-law. She had to take a bath every night. It was written down!
I showed the schedule to my mother-in-law (and I'd like to give her props for not busting out laughing), and it went something like this:
7:30 Begin bath. Free play with toys.
7:40 Wash hair and body. Sing "This is the way we wash our hair..."
7:50 Place foam ABC's in order around tub while singing ABC song. Flick off letters in order while repeating names of letters.
I made sure my mother-in-law knew how important it was to name the letters while flicking them off. "See there where it's written? Don't forget that part." (MAJOR props for not rolling her eyes)
This schedule was faithfully carried out each and every night for at least 2 years, or until some time after I had my next baby. Nothing helps Mama relax her obsessive compulsive crazy train a little like 2 kids under 2 who don't give a rip about what is written down on a piece of paper.
Nowadays, with 18 years and 8 kids under my belt, I have only one bath time rule. It isn't written down, but instead proclaimed whenever I deem it necessary to throw a couple of kids into the bathtub (when they are visibly grubby or noticeably smelly).
If there's one thing being in the refining fire of parenting will do, it is crystallize what is important and what is superfluous.