Big Family Life Hacks – Towels

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In our new house, with the reality of the fact that we have EIGHT kids (I still sometimes can’t have a hard time believing this fact… but then I go in the bathroom, and see all the towels…) I decided to institute a new towel policy.  🙂 So far so good.  Each child has one particular color towel.  They have 2 each – I wash once a week …ish.  It is not the biggest bathroom, but we have enough hooks for all, with low enough hooks for the littles to reach.  They are responsible for hanging up their towels.  If they do not, they will be drying off with a wet towel.  I personally detest that feeling, so I am hoping our kids are the same, and it encourages them to hang them up.  One mom can hope.  As parents, we must hold on to hope.  🙂

I start this post with this disclaimer: These are some fun things I’ve done through the years to help make life work a little easier in the home.  It doesn’t mean it is the right thing for you.  It also doesn’t mean it is the right thing for me all the time.  Some things have been tried and have failed, some of worked well, and some have been great and have run their course and something new takes its place. Every house is different.  Every family is different.  And every season is different.  I’ve had systems that have worked tremendously well, and then – poof!  It’s over.  Something new must be created to help organize.  And sometimes, life is just messy.  Or I really need to rest.  And so my tidiness must look different, and I have to be ok with that.  It’s a continual work in progress.  But finding new ways to make things work efficiently is fun for me.

Oh towels!  With 8 kids … we go through a lot of towels.  Sure, when they were all little – I actually used to just create a bit of an assembly line.  Our 3rd child was born before our oldest was yet three.  And so, the baby was bathed when the baby was bathed, and the two little toddler boys were in the tub together, with fun to be had and loads of bubbles until there was a certain amount of water on the outside of the tub, and then it was time to get out.  I could use one towel to get them both dry and into PJs they went… and usually make it a couple of days before I hit the replay button.  One towel every couple of days… those were the days.  Life has changed a bit.  A lot.  Now there are 8 sweet and stinky children, none of whom can bathe together, and even if it is an assembly line… they all (minus the 2 littles) can go in and shower themselves, each use a towel, and get themselves dressed.  My, have times changed!  But oh! the towels.

I did for a time go “all white.”  I just bought a big pack, or two, of white towels from Costco, and left them in the linen closet for them to grab.  It was convenient too, because I just had a hamper they could go into, and I could run a hot bleach wash and they would be ready to go.  This worked for a while.  But then, I noticed that the bigger kids were getting bigger, and for some reason… towels were not getting hung up on those nice hooks I had for them.  It was hard to pin down the culprit, because it was all of them.  Leaving wet towels on the floor isn’t good for the towels, or the tiles, or the sub floor beneath the tiles.  And yes, they are still kids, and they just want to finish the annoying task of showering so they can get on to the next best thing of blanket forts… or catching fireflies at dusk… or last minute homework… or a summer ice cream run in their PJs… or the final pages of their library books.

I love our kids, and I want them to have a good childhood, filled with those things.  But, I also want to help them grow up to be responsible adults.  I remind them how it is not fair to their future college roommate, or spouse, or anyone else if I don’t teach them how to pick up their wet towels and hang them up, or make their beds every day, or pick up their dirty laundry and actually put it in the hamper, not on the floor.  They will learn how to be responsible adults by practicing responsibility as children.  Not an overwhelming amount of responsibility, but enough to make them caring.  So, if the rush of the morning craze to get out the door for school happens and the bed making does not –  as we drive home from school, lately I’ve been saying, “When we get home, before you can go outside to play and have a snack, you must first go upstairs and make your beds.”  And if only one happened to make his bed that day, then I try to remember and praise that one.  Or, if I go upstairs and notice that someone’s towel is wet and on the floor, I may remind them that they want to run up and hang up their towel, because drying off after their next shower will not feel good with a wet towel.  It puts the consequence in their court.  They decide if they want to dry off with a wet towel, not me.  So for now, I’m trying this route-  hoping the consistency will help.  Parenting is an interesting journey, balancing loving our children so deeply, and teaching them life skills for earth, and spiritually preparing them for Home (heaven).   May our kids love deeply the Lord and their neighbor, and may they pick up their towels by the time they grow into adults.  (and maybe make their beds without being asked.)   Please, dear God.  Thank you!

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