Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

The day is done.

I pull on the silver handle and hot water pours into the tub. After leaning over to sprinkle in some bath salts, I straighten up and disrobe.

I leave my clothes in a pile on the floor. They are soaked in dishwater and covered with the tell tale spots and patches of a day spent toiling at the housework. They are the uniform of a stay-at-home mom: Loose, comfortable black sweats and a baggy t-shirt.

I step gingerly into the tub, anticipating warm water but find it to be a little cool. Once I’m seated, I turn the handle to the left. The water comes in hotter. It’s still not enough, so I push a little further.

Steam begins to rise.

I swirl the water around the tub, pushing it behind me where it always seems so much colder. I fan my fingers and let my hands sink below the surface.

I look down and my gaze rests critically upon my body. Breasts that could still be described as full but certainly not perky. A flabby, scarred abdomen that once proudly held a child. Strong, muscular-but-stubby legs. Crooked, misshapen unpainted toes.

I slide back, lay my head on the cold white surface of the corner and use the tips of my toes to shut off the tap.

The resulting drips lull me to sleep.

Too soon, the chill of the water revives me.

Reluctantly, I lift the drain stopper, step out of the bath and towel off.

Goosebumps pop up all over my body and I reach for the flimsy, leopard print satin robe – a gift from some long past Valentine’s Day – hanging on the back of the door.

It sticks to my damp skin but provides no warmth, so I trudge into the bedroom and search for a fresh pair of sweatpants, dress and crawl into bed.

Wash, rinse, repeat.

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43 thoughts on “Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

  1. Is this fiction, Julie? You didn’t mention being rudely interrupted by a small child, so I’m assuming this was a dream. πŸ™‚

    Thanks for sharing your luxurious bath and sweatpants with your readers!

    1. Haha, no. I never get to shower or bathe while the kiddo is awake. Usually at night or during naptime.

      I wanted to my readers to get a sense of the bit of melancholy that sets in after a certain amount of time as a SAHM. It’s kind of what I’m dealing with now.

  2. Girl, you are so good at painting a picture for us.

    I understand how you feel…sometimes it’s the same darn thing over and over and over. But then, would we trade it in? I wouldn’t.

    Also, I don’t take hot baths nearly enough. It’s like a luxury these days, yet it’s free. Huh.

    1. Thank you, Greta. You’re right, I wouldn’t trade it. But it does seem like Groundhog Day sometimes.

      A warm bath once in awhile is definitely a free luxury. πŸ™‚

  3. I can relate (except I don’t do baths). I’m in and out of my SAHM uniform, and some days, I just want to slap on some makeup, put on a pair of heels and er, go to the mall. Or something. Instead, I pull on some shoes, pin my hair back, and take Monkey to the playground. Wash, rinse, repeat.

    Wanna hang out?

    1. I think I actually style my hair maybe once every 10 days. Which is sad, because I have tons of hair that’s begging to be played with. Just no time.

      We’d definitely hang out.

  4. “Melancholy” is really such a perfect word. It hits just the right note between “I know I’m lucky, I am grateful (really I am)” and also “so this is all there is.”

    Because all-there-is is awesome.
    Most of us (I assume) wouldn’t trade it.

    But sometimes it does feel like bathwater you’d hoped would be hotter.
    Still. It serves its purpose.

    And this anecdote (archetype!) was beautifully written.
    Plus sweatpants are very comfortable.

    Thank god.

  5. I was just telling Stephen that yesterday. That lately every single day is like the day before, I know exatly what is going to happen. That’s why today I decided to break the habit and go for a walk. Gray (he wants to be called Gray lately :)) had a BLAST! And I got some fresh frosty air. πŸ™‚

    1. Yes! And it’s not a bad thing, it’s just the same. And sometimes you get anxious for something new. But you’re nuts for going walking in this cold. My nose would fall off. πŸ˜‰

      1. No, it’s not bad. And I guess it means that you have a pretty good schedule (that thing everyone keeps bugging you about when the baby is born, used to drive me crazy). It wasn’t THAT bad outside. Back home when it was -4F I’d still get on a bus every day and go to school and to work.

  6. That was beautiful and sad at the same time. Tomorrow, I wish you a day of fulfillment and when you’re done a hot bath that leaves you feeling clean and refreshed.

    1. Every day is pretty fulfilling! I just wanted to recognize that sometimes they’re all the same, and even though they might not be exciting, there’s still beauty in the routine.

  7. It’s so easy to get lost in the SAHM routine. I live in yoga pants and t-shirts, but would love the chance to actually get dressed for something.

    I love how you wrote this!

    1. Thanks, Kim. I’ve never been a fan of dressing up, but I wish I was able to get out of the house more often during this time of year. The cold and gray just makes me uggghhh.

  8. Loved this post! Had me hanging onto each word, relating, understanding, empathizing, smiling. Been there! Love my baths at the end of a long mommy day! A little me time before I get up and do it all over.

    Kimberly

  9. Wonderfully written Julie!

    Ahhh, the moment between slipping into the bathtub and looking at what your children have done to your body, is bliss. I always bring a book to distract me from reflecting on the day. I’m sure I was impatient and imperfect and I like to enjoy the bath!

  10. You are really an amazing writer Julie. I know that you usually go for “the funny”… and you’re awesome at THAT too… but seriously, you have a fabulous way with words. It’s a gift.
    And I know that most of us Mamas have felt exactly the way you described… which is probably why it resonated with so many of us.
    I love this!!!
    Thanks for linking it up for #SundayFunday!

  11. I’m not a SAHM, but I can still relate. I call it monotonous chaos – every day is the same routine, yet I always feel frazzled at the end of it.

    But after spending a few days away from both my husband and daughter, completely enveloped in the solitude of my own home, I realized it’s OK. And I really wouldn’t want to have it any other way.

    Beautiful post, Julie. I’m only sorry I’m just catching it now.

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