Anyway, my whole point about bath time is that as my kids get older (when they were younger I was in the bathroom with them the whole time, and often deep cleaned the bathroom while they bathed), I'm learning how to adapt every-day activities to make them more meaningful.
Bath time becomes play and bonding time for Will and Kjel and focused cleaning time for me, and precious one-on-one time with Merit.
Having the house cleaned while they are occupied means that:
Reading books together is only that - we just focus and read together. Rather than me trying to hurry it up so I can start to fix the wreck of my house.
Snuggle time is snuggle time. Not quick give me a kiss, I have a bunch of stuff that I need to get done.
Using the time that the kids don't need or want me to get other things done is KEY to a happy, balanced, healthy family and home.
I make dinner while the kids are busy doing something that makes them focus: play-doh, writing or drawing, reading to each other, playing on the trampoline until I call them back inside. That way, I can really enjoy making dinner.
Then when they come in or stop doing whatever they're doing, and we eat dinner, we really can all eat together. And focus on each other. And I'm with them, eating, rather than still trying to get it all together for them while they are gobbling it down.
I have learned over the last several years to love work. To love being tired. It is such a gift to be able to scrub my floors and clean bums and rake leaves and organize, bake, cook, pack lunches, vacuum cars. And on and on. It's such a gift! And it's delightful work. It really is. You might think I'm crazy, but it is! There is nothing, I repeat nothing more rewarding than a good, hard day of work punctuated by good, hard snuggle/reading/singing time throughout, ended with a clean, crisp house that smells good. Bellies full. Scriptures read, hymns sung, hands clasped in family prayer, and a family snoozing soundly.
When I have a problem, I work. Work does not mean generating income, it means losing yourself in service that will benefit others. Sometimes that means my kitchen gets deep-cleaned. Sometimes that means I fold laundry, Sometimes that means jumping on the trampoline with the kids, or reading a stack of books to Kjel when I'd rather be resting.
I've felt guilty in the past for the time I spend homemaking. I'm learning to embrace it. My life's goal is to create a home where the Savior would be comfortable taking a rest. I want my family to be nourished in every way, always. I want my home to be beautiful, clean, organized, and filled to the brim with love.
Nope, not there yet. But I do feel like I'm finally becoming an expert in homemaking, after all of these thousands of hours of practice. And it feels good :). If I can be nothing else in life but a wonderful mother and homemaker, I will die very satisfied.