Journalist Steven Solomon recently delivered a talk arguing that in the next 30 years water will become “the new oil,” meaning that global water shortages will cause people to start killing each other (especially in places like Pakistan). And despite plentiful rain in California this year, our fresh water supply is rapidly dwindling. So, do I give my kids a bath before bedtime?
I was an environmentalist before I became a mom. I water my plants with undrunk water glasses. I take 2 minute showers. I plant native plants. But when my first baby arrived and the seemingly timeless advice “babies need a bath before bedtime” was bestowed, I had to think really hard about it.
I was told that bathing babies before bed should be part of every healthy bedtime ritual. But in drought-ridden California, it felt wrong to bathe a child that showed no visible signs of dirt every single night. So I didn’t do it (and they did not sleep very well, I might add.)
Then my children got older, more enthusiastic about their baths, and it became harder to deny them. Bad day? I need a 30 minute break? I know that if I throw those children in the bath…ahhhhh…take me away!
But I struggle with more than just the nightly bath. Children LOVE water in so many forms. They make rivers in the sandbox, potions with flower petals, mix colored waters in old glasses, play in the sprinklers, spray it from spray bottles, fill baby pools with it… Generally, when you introduce water to children, you’ve got a recipe for fun and thrills.
Yet children have virtually no concept of conserving water, and it’s so awful to feel like the crotchety witch warning them not to use any more of it. Especially when the little ones just don’t really understand that when they pour the cup of water into the grass, they won’t have it anymore…so they want another cup or, better yet, the hose.
Next: Water-saving tips