So much cleaning, there HAS to be a better way!
I cannot seriously be the only parent out there that wonders when these tiny terrors can start contributing. Seriously. I did not give birth to a small army only to have to pick up after them for eternity.
And so, as I sat on the toilet that is stained with near misses by my three independent bathroom users, I started to wonder … can my child *finally* clean the toilet.
It feels a strange thing to wonder about. I mean, my oldest son is nearing six and my youngest independent bathroom user is already three. In some parts of the world I would expect these young men to be fetching water and bringing home the bacon to a degree. But here … I mean, there is no sending them out into the concrete jungle.
In our home though, couldn’t they manage a few chores.
As silly as this pondering sounds, I seriously considered it. Would it kill the kids if I asked them to grab a cloth or a scrub brush. If I equipped them with a quick demonstration and let them at it. Wiping down the base of a toilet that is yellow stained with their best attempts and distracted streams.
SERIOUSLY – if your son is ANYTHING like mine, the stream flows solid and the distractions are plentiful. Before becoming a boy mom I would never have guessed how many times I would yell “focus on the flow child”. Reminding them to aim, get it in the bowl, for Heaven’s sake DO NOT TURN AROUND WHILE YOU’RE PEEING!!!
Literally, pee all over.
I contemplate tiling the backsplash in our bathroom because, if any area were worthy of the term “backsplash” it would be the corner that is tucked neatly behind a toilet.
Self-cleaning would be amazing.
The other thing one wonders as she finds 15 seconds of reprieve in the bathroom, while her coffee sits atop her toilet paper holder and she catches her breath. Who the NUTS designed the toilet bowl?
That intricate foot like structure at the base of the toilet. All the nooks and crannies around the bolts and floor. A beautiful design of urine catching greatness.
I have no clue who thought this was a good idea and, while I know there are more streamlined designs, I am not up to replacing a working toilet and so silently cursing this designer is what I will do instead.
And so the question resurfaces. Can my child clean the toilet?
What is the worst that could happen.
That’s a Pandora’s Box isn’t it. I mean, we live in a time where everything, literally EVERY MOVE we make as mothers is judged.
Are you using conventional cleaners? You’re horrible for exposing your child to such toxins.
Do you opt for the wholistic alternatives? Who knows if they even work you hippie!
What about the pee itself? I can’t believe you would let those tiny hands near such filth. *to which my only logical reply is >> it is THEIR pee!!! It can’t possibly kill them!*
I mean there are a never ending stream of ways to be judged about what you let the children clean with without even introducing the wrath of actually making your kids do the work.
Not long ago, a blogging momma that I follow (check her out here) shared some of the morning cleaning that her children assist with. She calls the hour an hour of blessing (or something to that effect) and it is a time when everyone in the home rallies to get the work done. One particular morning she shared a quick video of her son sweeping. It was darling, the sun shone in through the window and illuminated this image of a simpler time. You could almost feel the blessing of the hour through the tiny screen on the smart phone.
Turns out, she was berated by the anonymous IG troll for enslaving her children. How DARE she actually get them to do work around the house!! That is HER job as a mother!!!
For the average Jane, this would be enough to send a mother running with her tail between her legs, shamed for doing something so OBVIOUSLY wrong by this twisted Western standard of childhood.
But for this momma, this blogger and fellow daughter of the King, she responded with grace and with a reminder to the heart of the mom wondering if her child can clean the toilet.
Our “job” as mothers is not to run around the house like some underpaid maid. We are not put here by a loving God to play servant and housekeeper to a tiny hoard of entitled children. Our JOB is to raise children who will rise and glorify Christ, just as we strive to do daily. Our responsibility is not to chase ever crumb and cracker before it litters our floors but to teach our children to take care of their blessings.
We can equip the next generation with tangible skills by modelling the behaviours ourselves AND by “expecting” them to contribute alongside us.
The home is not their vacation destination but rather a stomping ground for all of life’s lessons.
And so, as silly as it sounds that I actually had to wonder if cleaning a toilet was something my child could do … it instantly made me realize the *possibly MORE pressing problem* was me.
It isn’t always the fear that my child shouldn’t be cleaning a toilet or a tub. It isn’t the overwhelming guilt stacked on our shoulders from a society that says children are incapable of “big jobs”. There is a BIG part of me that cringes at the effort it will take to TEACH the children how to do this very simple job.
My mind instantly jumps to how much faster it will be done if I just do it myself.
I consider how I will likely have to REDO the cleaning after my child attempts it because there will inevitably still be pee at the base of the toilet.
It’s a waste of energy because it will be a battle to get them to do this on a regular basis.
I will do it myself. It will be done right. It will be done quickly and without a fight.
^^ See the bigger problem.
First, I don’t WANT to do it myself, I am just weighing the alternatives and doing it myself seems like an easier thing in the long run. When, in reality, I know that giving the kids the opportunity to do some job that is so trivial will EVENTUALLY mean (a) that I don’t have to do it … which means I can do something else. And (b) that it will build their tool box so that they aren’t useless boobs when they eventually leave the nest.
So the question of can my child clean the toilet is an obvious DUH! Of course my child ca clean the toilet. All it takes is my investing a fraction of a moment to teach them HOW to clean said toilet. And then relinquishing the need for it to be “perfect” and realizing that done is better than the current state of stinking like stale pee.
Besides, no one visits us anyway so who cares if they missed a spot?
So momma, if you are like me and you wondering, as you smell the perfume of things to come (because, I know this inability to hit the toilet consistently is a lifelong struggle), if your child can clean the toilet … the answer is YES.
They CAN and they SHOULD clean the toilet.
You can make the chemical free cleaner, you can buy them their own special brush, you can make it a game or a “race” if you desire to make it Mary Poppins fun as opposed to the daunting and gross chore that it is. You can add a spoon full of sugar if you so desire. But know this, they CAN do it. And it doesn’t matter if it isn’t perfect.
The pee left over after their best effort is a reminder to you to let things go. To relinquish control and to forget about the stuff that does not matter. It is the smell of victory as you remember that their confidence in keeping a home was built up a little today instead of obliterated by your correction and need to hav it done your way.
You see, none of us start great at things. We weren’t born with a dish cloth in hand or a toilet scrubber. We learned it. Some of us are STILL learning it.
So clean the toilet. Start with them, teach them how to clean the toilet and then let them at it.
Enjoy your coffee for a second and get ready to praise your tiny army of helpers.