Sometimes I Want to Put Them All In the Tub

English: Little girl hanging up stocking by fi...

On Christmas day in 1989 we had three pre-schoolers. The anticipation of Christmas, the magic of a Charlie Brown Christmas tree in Cairo, stockings at the foot of their beds — it was all new, exciting, magical.

They were beyond excited.

At the crack of dawn they were in our beds. Tousled heads, Superman and batman pajamas, soft small bodies opening up stockings. By 8 we were around the tree reading the Christmas story and opening gifts, by 9 we were eating scrambled eggs and a cinnamon roll Christmas tree with bright green frosting and sprinkles.

By 10 they were a mess. The sugar, the excitement, the gifts – it was all too much.

So – I put them all in the bath tub. In warm, soapy water they played and relaxed. The bath time toys were familiar, nothing new. The warmth and relaxation calmed them down and all of life was okay.

It is now 23 years later. And sometimes I wish I could put them all in a tub. All in warm, soapy water where they can relax and have the cares of the world dissolve like all the bubbles surrounding them. Where there is nothing in their world that can’t be solved with hot water and bubbles. Where troubles wash off like the dirt on their bodies.

But. That would be weird. Because they are adults and as adults I am no longer able to solve all of life’s problems with a bath.

And this is where my thinking becomes flawed, needy of reprogramming. Because I am not the Saviour, I am not the person who can make life okay. I am not the person who can whisper in their ears that I will always be there. I can’t scrub off dirt and wrong and sin with a soft, soapy cloth.

I am one, startlingly imperfect, mom.

And that T-shirt (or sometimes plaque) that says “God couldn’t be everywhere and so he created moms” Well that’s a loaded lie right there and unfortunately that thought comes and roots its way into our heads by way of our eyes and ears and we’re duped.

But in my startling imperfection, in this tired, soft body of mine that has more dimples and wrinkles by the day, is a God who knows all about the lies I believe. He gently does the reprogramming, sometimes tenderly, sometimes more firmly. And I’m reminded that His all-sufficient, powerful presence is that much stronger than a tub of soapy water.

But I still sometimes want to scoop them up and put them in the tub.

22 thoughts on “Sometimes I Want to Put Them All In the Tub

  1. Hi Marilyn, It has been a long time my friend. Your words truly spoke to my soul. In your words I can still feel the warmth of my boys little bodies in there flannel jammies and I can smell their freshly bathed skin and hair. Being a Mom is something that unites us in all understanding. I love the picture you posted with this story. Love and Hugs
    to you.


  2. Amen! Thanks, Marilyn, you certainly have a way with words. It has been awhile since I have been on your blog, but thought you’d want to know that my 23 year old son sent me this link today. :) Warms a moms heart.


  3. Hi there my dear friend, it’s been awhile! I have had to deal with some issues, pout and pick myself up and come back again! I have missed you…you always inspire me, touch me, make me think and make me smile, thank you!

    I loved this for how true it is. We are taught to love our children and hold them close, but really we are supposed to love them and let them go, knowing that God has them in his hands always–it’s so hard isn’t it? At least for me? Just like we often struggle knowing, he has our back right?

    Thank you for your memories and thoughts, I do cherish them!



      1. Thank you my dear friend for asking!!! :)

        How are things with you, how is your family?

        We have had some struggles this year, trying to find our way, but we are finding it, we need to understand it’s not OUR way and that is hard isn’t it?

        It was my first Christmas without Courtney, she is working now and that was sad, I am going to try and go down there sometime soon…

        I have a new job that I ADORE, so that is GREAT!

        Though I did get some bad news about my knee, I have what is called Patella Baja. After my TPR, my kneecap dropped because of an tendon, this is causing my knee not to be able to bend very well and it can’t be fixed! I also still have scar tissue and bursitis in my hip and still have frozen shoulder in both, NOT sure why? So this threw me for a loop and I am just now picking myself up after my pity party! I am starting to blog again and get back into my life…
        This too shall pass as my Mama says!!!

        I will be around, I love hearing what you have to say, I just work full time now, so, I don’t have as much time as before!

        You truly are the best my friend and can’t wait to read your words again!



  4. I put them in the tub to calm them down and have a bit of peace and quiet! I like the comment from the lady who said now she puts herself in the tub instead and it really helps! I think the thing I fear most is not being able to make things right for my kids but I guess that’s what God wants from us most, is learning to trust him for everything.


  5. I love this and while, like you, I can’t put my daughters in the bath tub anymore and make it all better, sometimes I put myself in. And it really does help.


    1. Yes! This adds mightily to the post! Because it really does help to sit there and let those bubbles heal – though we can’t heal them, we can take steps to heal ourselves and see life more clearly. Thank you for this.


  6. This piece had me in tears….probably, most likely…because when I read the title I thought you meant you’d want to put them all in the tub and hold them under. I’ve had that type of mothering day (and the day before today..) But reading your piece and the love that you exude, your longing to save and protect, your desire to make it all better– and my tears at reading that seemed to indicate that perhaps at some level I do love them after all. I need the bath tub redemption you wrote about but I do love them deeply. Thank you Marilyn for always writing with such honesty. Thank you for helping me to articulate what I really mean….or what I want to really mean…
    You are a good mom.


  7. Parenting is humbling to be sure! God has taught me two things about my role as a mother – we say to God that we know they are His, He has ‘loaned’ them to us, blah, blah , blah….then He touches their life in a way we don’t like, allows something painful to happen to them or allows them to go down the path of sin. Then He reminds me that I am not strong enough to deal with their sin, I stand before Him alone on the final day and I am not the I AM.


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