Connectivity and togetherness are two very strong themes of the natural parent. Many natural parents opt to bedshare because the family bed allows them to be close to their sleeping children and to better anticipate and attend to their needs. Mealtimes are shared among families of all kinds, as the dinner table is a great way to connect with one another after a busy day. There are other opportunities for connection and togetherness that are less discussed.
We all need to bathe, but why make it solitary activity? There are plenty of reasons to share bathtime, particularly with very young children.
All families are busy – that is the nature of the beast in a household with little ones. So often we are drawn in separate directions by work, by the demands of the home, and by our own personal needs. The time that the family can spend together as a family unit is often not as much as we’d like. The shower can be a wonderful opportunity to grab a few more moments of family togetherness. For the parents, shower time can be used to discuss the events of the day, upcoming plans, or concerns of the household. Between the parents and child, it is another opportunity to just be together. Children love to blur the line between playtime and bathtime, and showering or bathing with children is a great way to explore playtime together.
Showering together can be an opportunity to develop a quiet closeness with one another as well. The act of washing another person has deep symbolic roots in Christianity. But even without any religious overtones the act of cleaning another person is a sign of affection and intimacy, and it can forge a deep connection. Quietly washing your partner’s back, arms, elbows, hands – paying attention to every detail – is meaningful in that you are dedicating your time and your work to pampering and caring for your partner. How often do you get the opportunity to do that? Parents washing their child together can offer that same deep level of connection: it is a great opportunity to focus 100% of your collective attention on your child as you bathe him together.
There can be a significant savings in water usage gained by showering together. If your partner takes 15 minutes to shower and you take 20 minutes to shower, but together you take just 25 minutes, that’s 10 minutes of water usage that you’ve conserved. Each shower means a little bit of water saved, and over time, those baby steps add up to real savings.
Nudity and the Young Child
While some families believe that an open and honest discussion about body differences begins young, not everyone is comfortable with letting their young children see their parents in the nude. There may be an advantage to normalizing nudity at a young age, or it may open the door to questions that parents aren’t ready to answer. That is a decision that each family has to make on their own, keeping in mind the age of their child(ren), their own comfort levels with nudity, and their philosophy towards the inevitable question about why mommy’s parts or daddy’s parts look different from their own.
Discussions on the family shower seem few and far between. Child nudity is so taboo that perhaps even discussions of innocent nudity or necessary nudity are shied away from in the blogosphere. For other takes on the family shower, here are a few discussions:
Momotics sees nothing wrong with the family shower, but understands why people may be reluctant to discuss the practice.
In Japan, where public baths still thrive, the family bath is not taboo, it is a regular practice.
Dear Prudence suggests that there is a precise age when bathing together becomes improper. Do you agree?
What is your take on the family bath? Do you bathe together? If not, why not? If so, what prompted you to start?