Ahh ... summer! No school, no schedule, sleeping in and sno cones galore! I love summer time and I can't wait for it each year but it seems I forget every time June rolls around that along with summer comes the constant daily question, "Will you take us to the pool?"
To the super-fun moms out there, that question is answered with a quick "Yes, kids! Let's go! Whoo hoo!!!" However, when that question reaches my ears, I secretly cringe. I can't pinpoint exactly when it happened over the years, but I no longer think going to the to the public pool is fun, which is weird because I absolutely loved going to the pool when I was young.
Back in my day the local pool opened in the morning and closed in the evening and I'd stay for the duration. I couldn't wait till Memorial Day when it opened and dreaded Labor Day when it closed. It was my childhood summer hangout. Even clear up into high school I went as often as I could.
Not anymore, and actually not for several years now. Once I became a mom, going to the pool was SO much different. First, I was confronted with worry of 'what swimsuit do I wear?' What is appropriate for a "mom" and what kind of suit will make me still look trim and fit, even though I had a baby?
Then, at the pool, the water that once felt refreshing and inviting, seemed ice cold and really uncomfortable. All the little kids splashing and hollering used to not phase me, but I gave those obnoxious monkeys the evil eye when they splashed that freezing water onto my toddler who was trying to gently navigate through the chaos. The lifeguards, who I use to believe would save my life, seemed to be more interested in their tan, then putting the hammer down on the gaggle of rowdy boys in the kiddie pool.
So I gave it a few more tries when my oldest daughter was little, but a messy diaper disaster from a stranger's child swimming next to mine, sealed the deal for me. I decided a plastic pool in the back yard sounded like a much quieter, more sanitary and definitely more private environment for us.
I was able to satisfy the kids with the plastic pool for several years, then we graduated up to the huge blow-up family pool, which was also a success until we moved here and live a few blocks from the public pool.
Now my girls have caught on that swimming at the local pool with lots of friends, diving boards and slides is WAY more fun than in our backyard. I was able to avoid the public pool for five or six years, but now I face it on an every day basis. I managed to weasel out of it last summer because "baby sister had to take a nap" conveniently during pool hours, but this summer "baby sister" is napping less, and, after two weeks of swimming lessons, has become quite the fish.
The girls literally ask me every day to take them to the pool and I have given in several times now, much to my dismay. During my first trip this year, a light bulb went off I figured out why I don't like going anymore ... I'm too old!
I'm pushing 40 years old. That's right, I said it. The big 4-0 is knocking on my door and I'm getting more picky and set in my ways. I now prefer air conditioning, rather than 103-degree weather. When I fix my hair and makeup in the morning, I would rather NOT have to do it again later that day. They don't make attractive swimsuits for moms who've had three kids. I'm not going to pre-tan in the spring time so I look good by summer, so I always have a shorts and t-shirt tan, instead of a cute, bikini tan. I don't like resembling a pack mule entering the pool with bags full of beach balls, goggles, floaties, tubes, towels, kickboards, etc, and washing loads and loads of wet beach towels isn't my cup of tea.
I spend my time at the pool, burning the bottoms of my feet on the scorching concrete, getting splashed in the face by kids deciding to cannonball right beside me instead of at a distance, corralling all of our pool toys and chasing down hooligans who've stolen them. I buckle and unbuckle my four year olds floatie 78 times, hear "Mom, watch me!" 79 times, and yell "Don't run!" 12 times.
I have to constantly adjust my swimsuit to ensure it's sitting in the right location, make sure my gut's sucked in at all times, and try not to walk too fast for fear of excess leg jiggling.
It's really more of a job to go to the pool, rather than fun. I go because my kids have a blast and gets them out of the house to, as my Grandma always said, "blow some stink off." Soon enough they'll all be old enough to go by themselves and I can wait at home in the air conditioning with my feet up, fully clothed and gut hanging loose cause I am getting TOO old for the public pool!