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Mom of 6 ignites online debate when she admits her kids bathe just twice a week

Mom of 6 shares shower schedule for family
sharon.a.life/TikTok

If you have multiple kids, you know that managing the schedules of so many tiny humans often comes down to absolute necessity, because there’s just no time for anything else. But one mom of six ignited some controversy on TikTok when she shared that, in her household, designated bath and shower days are Sunday and Wednesday, explaining why this works for her family.

Sharon Johnson lives in Utah with her six children (ages 4, 7, 8, 10, 11, and 13), and she recently took to TikTok to share a few ways she “manages her household,” including limiting tech time to two hours a week (with checked-out devices to keep tabs on things), no sleepovers, an allowance, chores, no cell phones before age 12, and so on.

But the sticking point for many commenters? Her admission that “bath and shower days are Sunday and Wednesday,” to which she added, “If you need a bath in between, then absolutely, but otherwise, that’s good enough.”

Of course, much has been made over how often kids really need to take a bath, especially after a handful of Hollywood parents admitted they aren’t so strict about hygiene. But there’s no concrete answer as to how often you should bathe your child, and for kids with sensitive skin, bathing too frequently or using harsh products and/or hot water can exacerbate skin conditions like eczema.

Johnson defended her bathing schedule, responding to the controversy in the comments section and in a follow-up video, in which she explained that her family lives in an “incredibly dry climate” and that all of her kids “have really sensitive skin.”

“If they showered every single day,” she explained, “their skin would be so incredibly raw.” Add to the equation that the family shares one bathroom among eight people, and it makes sense why they adhere to such a regimented shower schedule. But it seems that, for her older kids, she gives them “more autonomy,” and that they bathe and shower on their own time, “like after gymnastics or soccer.”

“Having that many little kids, you’re like, ‘When was the last time you bathed?'” Johnson told TODAY.com. “It makes it easier to know that yes, people are bathing in between, but no matter what, you have two (mandatory baths).”

Coining the controversy “Bath Gate 2024,” she says the reaction she received was disappointing. She says bathing “is really cultural and has a lot to do with how you were raised,” adding, “If you live in the [hot] South, you might have to wash every single day and if you’ve never been to Utah or the West, you have no concept of how [weather] affects skin.”

Of course, that’s without mentioning the inherent privilege associated with how different races are perceived, along with stereotypes about cleanliness and hygiene that means BIPOC Americans feel compelled to go above and beyond when it comes to their personal grooming and care.

Still, Johnson says her viral TikTok emphasizes a lack of “nuance” in online discourse. “People can’t wrap their brains around the fact that others are different,” she told the outlet. “We live in a world where nuance doesn’t exist.”