Chaos or Joy?

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Bathtub crayons are either the best or worst idea ever. It’s all about your perspective. And the fact that they truly are the best and the worst.

Your kids will think of them as an untapped art media chock-full of potential {and so do you–when you buy them}.

You may even get some reading done on the ceramic throne while the little ones scribble and create away.

You get to hit all three categories of fine motor development, hygiene, and quality time in one nighttime ablution. Bing, bing, bong!


Your bathtub may look like a bomb went off on a bunch of Teletubbies and splattered their guts all over the place.

telletubbies getting bombed

You won’t enjoy scrubbing purple, green, and red mildew off the tiles only to have that replaced with a pink film that feels disturbingly sticky.

You will need to pinch waxy pieces of “crayon” from your kids hair and scrub their toenails with your husband’s toothbrush just to get the majority of it off.

So. Is it worth the trouble? Some days I say no. Loud and clear, with that annoyed edge in my voice.

And then other days, like last night, I embrace the chaos of my household and let my kids go nuts with those sticky, weird crayons.

So what if Coco has a few strands of green and pink hair. So what if I spend my morning shower with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. So what if Chaucer has blue teeth from eating the crayons. {Actually, that’s probably a bad thing, huh?}

I want my kids to have fun. I want them to have opportunity to be creative throughout the day. They should giggle. They should imagine.

They really love those bath crayons. And I really love them. The kids, not the crayons.

Probably my biggest takeaway from Bloggy Bootcamp this past weekend was what Heather of The Extraordinary Ordinary had to say. I’ve heard it before–seen it in pins and a few hundred Keep Calm signs. But this last weekend it just made sense in a whole new way.

Embrace the chaos.

Chaos is not abstract. It is gritty and all too tangible.

Chaos is a waxy, sticky bathtub covered in Teletubbie guts. It’s the mysterious combination of peanut butter and unknown goo I find on my iPhone screen after Chaucer gets ahold of it. It’s the frantic rush from house-to-car-to-carseat-to-school-to-bathroom-to- classroom-to-carseat-to-house that I have to do on a daily basis with two small children. It’s not finding the other shoe. Oh, that surreptitious other shoe.

I get stressed out by my chaos usually. Maybe it was just the fun, the encouragement, and the being away that gave me a new perspective.

A perspective that transforms messy crayons into a good opportunity. Good because I’ll see the colored tiles tomorrow when I get in my shower. I can decide right then and there to be either annoyed or blessed by my of chaos.

I hope to choose the latter.

What does your chaos look like and what are you going to choose today?


Today I’m thrilled to be linking up over at Heather’s site for Just Write 

24 thoughts on “Chaos or Joy?

  1. nicolette @ momnivore's dilemma

    I consider bathtub crayons abstract art. They do become more like Sharpies the longer you fail to clean them {not that I’ve EVER done that}.

  2. [email protected] Mom

    Love this post. There is so much chaos every day. Mine looks a lot like the the house-to-car-seat, etc . one you described every morning. Some days it is pressure and hard to embrace. But I try. And when I do, I am happier.

    1. hillary

      I know. I can either break out in a sweat and let anxiety take over, or I can laugh and accept that this is my reality right now. I really want to be better about accepting it.

  3. Sarah Koci Scheilz

    Good morning, friend! Visiting from Just Write this morning. Love your take on embracing the chaos. And those crayons look just hilarious! What a beautiful take on things.

    1. hillary

      Welcome! Thank you for your kind words. Today was my first time linking up–definitely not the last time either!

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  5. Kim

    I had that same love/hate relationship with those bath crayons! You would think they’d be easy to clean, but nooooooo. ;-(

    1. hillary

      There have already been way too many tears in this household too. And they’re mostly from me and my frustration. It’s so much easier to just give in to it and laugh. I hope I can keep moving forward with this new perspective!

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  7. Natalia

    You’re so cute. And such an excellent writer. I love reading your posts! Stick with it lady, you’re going places! #uddersup


    Thanks to daughter, this is my tub’s twin. I hide the Crayola’s nowadays. Lol. Visiting from SITS.

    1. hillary

      Pretty bad, huh? I kind of leave the shower feeling all gross and color-streaked.

  9. Stan Faryna

    Johnny will love them. My ex-wife – not so much. It’s perfect! Thank you.

  10. deebs

    I feel like I had been depriving my daughter of the perfect childhood! crayons!?! we only have bathtub markers which wash easily off with the spray of the shower head. she’s probably going to require years of extensive therapy now…

  11. Amanda Nelson

    I love those things! Except I don’t buy the Crayola brand. I buy Munchkin brand. I found them at Target, in the aisle with the bath toys, in the baby section. They wash off SUPER easy. Just needs a washcloth, no scrubbing. And they don’t seem to flake as much. So it makes for a much easier clean up. But I also don’t have tile in my shower/bath. I just have one smooth surface. So that might play a part in it. Either way, those things are awesome.

    1. hillary

      Oh cool! I will look for that brand next. Not to bash Crayola but these suckers flaked all over the place!

  12. Stephanie Precourt

    I have done a lot of cleaning/knitting/reading/working on my laptop in the bathroom while the kids take a bath!


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