I’m Jacqueline and I have four daughters—the oldest one is six, and the youngest is a ten-month-old. Needless to say, I don’t get a lot of time to myself. In addition to being a mother, I’m a writer, but this solitary activity does not get a lot of focus these days. I write while I watch Bubble Guppies and when I should be in bed, and I write when I should be cleaning, or exercising, or pre-cooking meals for the week. It’s one of the toughest things about parenting for me, that everything I want to do for myself takes time away from something more important. I am surrounded by squirming little people all day long.
I decided to try floating because I like to try new things, because I like to have new and interesting things to write about, and because I think that floating may be a good way to reduce the stress in my mind and body. But now that I’m committed, I’m wondering what to expect. Will I spend so much time worrying whether I’m doing it “right,” that I won’t be able to relax? Can you fall asleep in there, or will I get a face full of salt water if I do? When I am able to focus on my body, will I notice aches and pains I didn’t realize I was living with? Will I be able to pray, refocus, rest, and reflect while I’m in there, or will my mind continue at its usual mile-a-minute pace?
I don’t know the answers to these questions, but here’s what I do know. I know that I am on my way to an event that is scheduled into my calendar and does not involve my children. I know that it will be quiet, and I know that it will be good for me. No matter what the rest of my day has been like, I have to leave my house, by myself, or I will miss my appointment. And I know that this appointment is not a medical exam or a dentist appointment, so I’m actually looking forward to it!
I usually have a laid-back personality, but parenting is more stressful for me than anything else I’ve ever done. Parents of small children are generally a very stressed-out bunch, and I'm no exception; I know that it’s important for me to make time for myself, doing something that’s just for me.
To illustrate, I will tell you that over the last two days, I have: changed fifteen diapers; gotten woken up by hungry children at 6:30am twice; listened to nothing but Dr. Seuss stories while driving my minivan; eaten frozen chicken nuggets from other people’s plates for lunch; put a screaming five-year-old in time-out; gone “swimming” while holding a baby; been climbed on and jumped on with a tablet on my lap; filled and emptied a dishwasher and then filled it again; been to the grocery store with children twice, and forgot to get milk both times; built a block tower so it could get knocked down immediately (“boom!”); helped my kid turn her backwards underpants around, also twice; bickered with my husband about when the baby’s bedtime should be; had lots of cups of coffee without ever getting to finish one while it was still hot; been woken up in the middle of the night for bad dreams, bottles, crooked blankets, and drinks of water. And these were not even particularly busy days.
So, I don’t really know what to expect from my first float experience, but, frankly, it doesn’t actually matter all that much. Because, Float House Gastown, you had me at “alone.” You had me at alone.