It had been a day. The demanding, whining, limit pushing kind of day. The counting down until bedtime kind of day. You know, where you start fantasizing about how you’ll spend your time once the kids are asleep? It was about forty minutes before bedtime, a Netflix marathon of Great British Baking Show dangling right in front of me, when I realized our toddler needed a bath.
There was no way we could push it back another night, we had already stretched those limits as it were. I started dreading the task, fully knowing he would fight it. I was low on energy and not sure I could summon the patience needed to pull this off.
I started thinking about how much I needed some self care, a bubble bath perhaps. After the day I had, I really needed a luxurious way to unwind and reset my mind. Then I looked at my sweet boy, genuinely struggling with his own emotions and burnout, and realized he needed it more.
He had been fighting a virus that kicked his butt all week. His energy was drained and his emotions high. He didn’t know that eventually he would feel like himself again, all he knew was in this moment he felt crappy and it might be like this forever.
Moreover, his teething baby brother was consuming most of mom’s attention and time. His tank was running on empty, and the only way he could express that was through outbursts and tantrums. As the adage goes, “he wasn’t giving me a hard time, he was having a hard time.”
We often meet our children’s nasty attitude with reaction rather than empathy. But in that moment I realized my ugliest moments are often met with God’s strongest grace. And while I would have loved a spa worthy bubble bath experience, he needed it more.
He helped gather all the necessary supplies: bath bomb, candles, bubbles, a relaxing playlist. We dimmed the lights. I even dug around in his closet for the soft robe he got for Christmas last year. He practiced smelling the bath bomb’s fragrance as it disintegrated into the water. It was altogether adorable and a little ridiculous. It was certainly ‘extra,’ but that’s also my little guy, he’s as extra as they come.
Eventually the mellow music was replaced by the Lion King soundtrack and the bubbles were popped with a splashing gusto, but for a few minutes our guest bathroom was transformed into a luxury spa. And after that bath, wrapped up in his robe and towel twisted atop his head, he smiled and hugged me. He may have needed that do-over, but I needed it more.