In summertime, the swimming pool is my best friend and my sworn enemy. It’s the perfect place to take my children on a hot day, but it’s also a huge hole filled with water and germs, just begging for my daughter to hop in without her Puddle Jumper.
We go to the pool just about every day, because what else can you do when it’s 96 degrees and humid? Spending a substantial amount of time doing anything will teach you valuable lessons, which is why I have learned that I will no longer do any of the following:
1. FREAK OUT About Sunscreen
It’s amazing that even when you’re right, you’re wrong. “Don’t use sunscreen, it has too many chemicals!” “Use only organic sunscreen.” “If you use the spray sunscreen, you may as well kiss the Earth goodbye.” “SPF 50 is a ripoff.” “Anything less than SPF 50 is ineffective.”
SHUT UP! I’ll throw some white stuff and swim shirts on the kids and call it a day. Or I won’t. Either way, I’m tuning out the sunscreen conversation.
2. Not Have Fun
It’s so easy for a parent like me to dread the pool. I really don’t like to swim because I’d rather respect water from a distance. I also don’t like to get my hair wet. I don’t like jumping in cold water, and I see red when kids splash me. Then add the general stress of making sure that two children don’t die, and the pool can become an all-out suckfest.
Summer is supposed to be fun, right? So, this year, I’m doing it. I’m going to refuse to be annoyed at the pool. I’ll have a cannonball contest with my son and pull my daughter and her raft around the deep end. I’ll put on goggles and pretend to be a shark attacking two little fishies. I’m going to have fun, dammit.
3. Get the Mom Tan
Yes, the “mom tan.” This is the tan that develops when you have to sit facing forward on a chair or chaise the entire time you are at the pool because your kids must always be in your line of vision. Thus, the sun only sees your front half, giving you a black-and-white-cookie kind of tan.
I won’t do it. I can’t lie on my belly yet, because taking my eyes off my daughter means certain doom. Yay! I have another reason to get in the pool with the kids: even skin tones!
4. Laud Dads and Bash Moms
Whenever there is a dad at the pool with the kids, I hear the most insane comments. “Oh, he’s so brave!” “What a wonderful father!” “We need more men like him.” Actually, he’s just a dad doing his job.
Moms, on the other hand, are subject to criticism. “I can’t believe she is wearing that bathing suit – she is a MOTHER.” “She needs to get off her phone and keep her kids from splashing.”
What’s truly awful is that these comments are flying out of the mouths of other women. Let’s stop this. Let’s refuse to do this, please.
5. Be a Martyr
I’m really over the whole, “Oh, the kids need me so I won’t do anything for myself” kind of thinking. It’s a little tricky at the pool, because water = danger, but it can be done. I took a newspaper to the pool the other night. While the kids splashed in the baby end, I was able to enjoy the crossword, Sudoku and word jumble.
If my husband is there? I’m grabbing a float and a drink while he watches the kids (“He’s such a thoughtful father!”). Maybe I’ll even lie on my belly in a chaise lounge to fix my mom tan. It’ll be off the chain.
6. Forget the Meaning of Summer
Summer was always THE BEST when I was growing up. I want my kids to have that. I want them to feel the freedom that only oppressive heat waves can bring. Even though packing for, spending time at and trying to get the kids to leave the pool can be overwhelming, I need to remember that these will be some of the best days of their lives.
So, I’ll put on my happy face, let them stay “just a little longer” and heck, we’ll even flag down the ice cream truck on the way home, despite the fact that it’s so close to dinner. After all, that’s what this time of year is for.