How Clean is Too Clean?

31 Jan

water bill

Conservationists please look away

Here’s something my friend warned me about, but I chose not to believe in — the everlasting shower.  Exactly why does a boy need 30 minutes (give or take 10) to freshen up?  I can understand a girl who would have to wash her hair, repeat, condition then maybe shave her legs and so on.  But all a boy has to do is wash his hair and body.  8 minutes tops, right?

In my home, apparently a shower makes time stand still.  Forget that we are still in drought conditions in this part of the state or that I can’t water my grass but twice a week.  So how on earth are we, a family of four, consuming 71,000 gallons of water in one month?  With the never-ending shower, of course.

Every morning the cycle repeats.  At first I thought he had to get into the shower by a certain hour in order to be on time for school.  Now I realize it is more about what time he is out.  I know some mommies have warned me that it takes so long because there are things taking place in there that I will not mention and perhaps I choose not to accept as well.  But that is also not the topic for today, so let’s move on.

What I do know is that I have walked in more than once and found my child basically laying on the floor with the hot water covering his body like he is in his own personal sauna!  Yes, there are times when a shower just feels really relaxing, but it is not intended to be another version of a snooze alarm.  Both my boys seem to think this is the place where you go to not just get clean, but rather to return to earth from whatever visceral state carried you from your bed to the bathroom.

So lovingly, we’ve started knocking gently to give a reminder that, “Finish up ’cause you’re going to be late.”  Or, “You’ve been in there for 20 minutes, times up.”  Or, the ever effective “We have to leave in like 2 minutes — so GET OUT.”    And you can only imagine the responses we’ve received:  “I will.”  or “Oh, Okay.”   So our latest tactic is to basically lay the expectations on the line, alert the perpetrator around the 12 minute mark that their time is up and then, when 15 minutes comes around — we turn off the hot water.   It takes about 2 minutes for the effects to set in, but amazingly we are doing better about being out in time.   Hopefully the subsequent water bills will show the same level of improvement.  They just have to.

Parenting Tip:  Don’t pick a fight, just pick a new tactic.   [Proverbs 27:14  If anyone loudly blesses their neighbor early in the morning, it will be taken as a curse.]


2 Responses to “How Clean is Too Clean?”

  1. Billie Martin January 31, 2012 at 5:11 pm #



  1. A Boy’s Bathroom: Lessons, Myths and Mysteries « Bringing Up Beasts - July 10, 2012

    […] invitation to waste water – I won’t go on about this here, but invite you to check out a past blog on what can happen when you mix hot water with mornings. At 11 and 14, I love that they still have […]

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