The Militant Mommy vs. Bathtub Cannonballs

Ten minutes into our nightly routine, I heard the rumblings of my youngest singing softly to himself in the bathtub. I was in the kitchen cleaning up after a wild dinner while Sassy was thoughtfully picking up her room (or just stuffing everything onto her bookshelf) and Chachi was purportedly washing up in the bathtub.

Songs piping from all rooms of our home it completely normal, so I didn’t think twice about his soft crooning… until it slowly escalated into an over the top dramatic rendition of “On the Good Ship Lollipop” that would give Shirley Temple a run for her money. I smiled to myself and imagined him tap dancing on stage in front of thousands of people entertaining them all to his heart’s delight.

And then I heard the water.  

I could envision my youngest child sitting in the bathtub flapping his arms like an eagle and spraying water all over the previously dry bathroom with each upswing.  Laughing and singing away without a care in the world.  My mind wandered to the walls and floors. I started to have heart palpitations as I started to realize just how much water was being sloshed around.  My floor is no doubt a good two inches under water.  And my walls?  I couldn’t even go there.

I stopped what I was doing, stood silently in the kitchen for what seemed like an eternity, and finally exhaled.

I realized that I needed to make a choice.  I had been given an opportunity to either act as I usually do (the responsible parent), or to act as I want to, (the playful parent).

Was I going to march down the hallway and demand that he stop his water play?   Or was I going to quietly slink down the hallway and sneak into the bathroom to photograph his wild child ways?  

I chose the latter.

Jennifer Chaney Danville Family Photographer

My reasoning was simple: in the end it’s only water. And, more importantly, in the end he’s only a child. So I let him play. I silently stood in the bathroom doorway watching him for a moment before I took this picture. He was on cloud nine… until he saw me.

I asked what he was doing and he softly uttered, “doing cannonballs”.

I asked him if he was having fun and he nodded his head yes.

I smiled at him and said, “Good. Will you help me clean up the water when you’re done?”

His gigantic smile spread across his angelic face and he couldn’t get the word “yes” out of his mouth fast enough. Immediately he continued to splash and sing with gusto.

He expected to get in trouble. Instead, I took his picture, told him to keep having fun, and left. The Good Ship Lollipop resumed at top volume and all was right in his little-redheaded world.

This is how I want to be.  More relaxed and unfazed.  The truth of the matter is that I am a self-proclaimed militant mama.  As much I want my kids to test the boundaries, push the limits, and explore the world, at the very core of my being, I am a control freak.   Over the past two or three years, I have been sloooooowly dipping my toes into the playful mama pool.  While I realize this isn’t a pool I want to spend my days and nights in, it is a place that I want to get more comfortable dog paddling in (and then hopping out to mop up all the water on the side of the pool).

On this night I felt victorious.


San Francisco Bay Area





P.S.  If you are finding yourself in a similar situation, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below or on my Facebook page.  I know I can’t be the only mama out there who longs for order at the same time she loathes it.  ;)