Bath time then and now: how parenting changed my favorite ritual
I remember those glorious days so fondly. There were candles, there were magazines, there were bubbles, there was bliss. It was a time when time was on my side. There were no little hands banging on the bathroom door to be let in, no thermometers to ensure a luke-warm bath, and not a sound other than the soothing melody of water filling the tub.
Before I had children, my bath time was my ultimate “me time” experience and a time to relax, recover (after long runs, a bath of Epsom salts was the best) and rejuvenate.
Bathing seemed to be a solution for most things.
Tired? I’d have a bath before bed. Stressed? I’d have a bath to decompress. Not feeling well? I’d take two Paracetamol and run a bath. Sad? I’d pour in double the bubbles and have a good mope or cry in the tub.
Fast forward a few years and as a mom of two now, gone are the candles and fancy Jo Malone bath products and in are rubber toys lining the bath, and hypo-allergenic and no-tears soaps and shampoos. And a bath thermometer, of course.
My “me time” over the years has been replaced with little ones wanting to hop into the bath with Mama, or interruptions while I’m mid bath to go do a craft, feed them or remove the “very scawy” ant in the living room that has completely immobilized my toddler.
There have been some “interesting” shared bath times with both my kids over the years.
There was a time when my son, a toddler then, wouldn’t bath unless I got in with him and put some food colorant into the water to turn it a different color (most times I’d exit the bath with blue or red stains on my hands). Then there was a time I was bathing with my son while I was pregnant, and I battled to heave my body out of the tub. He thought this was hilarious and tried helping me out by pushing me, which kinda made things worse. Eventually my husband had to come to my rescue and pull me out, which felt a bit like a one-sided tug of war.
And let’s not forget those times when I thought it would be fun to bathe with my kids when they were babies.
“Oh it will be such a bonding experience,” I mused at the time. And it was all fun and games until I saw, and how do I diplomatically put this, number twos floating on the surface. I clearly didn’t learn my lesson the first time, because I tried bathing with my babies again, and most times it yielded the same results and ended with me dashing out the bath with my child as quickly as I could, usually squealing (me, that is). This would then be followed by a cleanup operation using the very handy plastic bucket and spade set next to the bath.
Despite some loss of dignity along the way, there have also been some very happy and fun bath time moments with my kids and I know that when my daughter no longer wants to share a bath with me, I’ll be longing for the days of little feet touching mine, and blowing bubbles, singing and telling stories in the tub.
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