There are two types of people in the world: those who like baths, and those who don’t.
I suppose when it comes to children you might add a third category, being of the type who don’t like baths but are made to have one regardless, but for the sake of simplicity, I shall stick to those who are in control of their bathing choices.
I love a bath.
But I am picky.
I can’t take a relaxing bath in a bathroom which is crowded with kids toys. I can’t take a bath when there is kid-craziness and general hullaballoo going on in the house outside the bathroom door. In fact, I really can’t settle to a bath unless there is a reasonable degree of security that I will be uninterrupted by partner, child or cold water.
Bath is sanctuary.
“There is no problem on earth that can't be ameliorated by a hot bath and a cup of tea.”
- Jasper Fforde, Shades of Grey
Bathtime is solitude. Bubbles, oils or bathbombs, a robust book (book holder or skill required here), and beverage of choice is necessary. Assume the position hitherto known as ‘bliss’. (Side note: now I know wine or bubbly is generally regarded as the stereotypical ‘ladies’ bathtime beverage, but there’s a lot to be said for spirits, too. Tea is also a personal favourite, although one should take care to not simultaneously overheat internally and externally from hot liquids. Iced tea is safer. Passing out in the nick on the bathroom floor due to carelessly dehydrating from excessive indulgence does tend to dent one’s bliss).
To take a bath is to remove the trials of the day as you disrobe; to add some magic potions to soothe and soften, and to wash off the dust and stress. There is method and meaning to this ritual of Bath.
That act of slowly inching my scrawny, tired and neglected frame into the steaming water, adjusting to the heat and enjoying the tingle as the senses awaken and then subdue, is something I often think of when I’d rather be somewhere else. Somewhere, lying in a bath, nostrils poking above the waterline like a hippo, wallowing and enjoying the sensation of becoming as buoyant as the water depth will allow. Ah, my bliss.
“There must be quite a few things that a hot bath won't cure, but I don't know many of them.”
- Sylvia Plath
So one of the indulgences in our build is to add a bath to the ensuite. It was a conscious, selfish decision because, clearly, I don’t want to share. This bath is mine. No discussion will be entered into. You can take your rubber ducky and leave right now.
Despite that, we made a mistake in planning this bath. In the whirlwind of making decisions on all the bathroom fitouts, we managed to choose just the very basic bath for both the ensuite and main bathroom, which will be mostly used by our kids. Partly this came about due to budget but also because I didn’t realise how petite the bath would be.
When the baths arrived and were installed onsite, I blanched. A kid-sized bath in a kid’s bathroom I could live with, but a kid-sized bath in an adult bathroom was quite another thing. I’d blundered.
Thankfully, we negotiated for the builder to remove the ensuite bath while we quickly ordered another, still fairly budget, but much more adult-friendly. Sigh. Of. Relief.
Oh, there were thoughts of palatially-proportioned bath 'bowls' which would bath the whole family at once (although how could this ever be relaxing?). Or perhaps a spa bath big enough for two (definitely NOT relaxing and so irritating to have my book interrupted). A flick through the latest reno magazine or scroll through Pinterest gets the wishlist whirring.
But at it's core, remember this: a bath does not need to be any longer than your own body, and only deep enough that you can wriggle your shoulders down under the waterline. The rest is excess and a waste of good book money.
Had I the money, then yes, perhaps I would have loved a more serious bath in both spaces, even extending to that spa. But here’s the reality for most people: there’s only a limited budget and something’s gotta give. The kids will have a kid-sized bath. Adults will have a (modest) adult-sized bath. And in the future we may add an outdoor spa.
I might even share the spa. But don’t bet on it.