I just read my friend’s post over at her site, The New York Mom, both laughing and commiserating. It’s called “Not Another Day at the Pool” about her extreme dislike for going to the pool daily with her young daughter. She talks about the pain and tedium of the routine and says:
Lily loves the pool and I LOVE seeing her so happy and that is my prize and my salvation for enduring the pool on the daily. BUT…My skin turns 50 shades darker, I have this skin condition that leaves patches all over my neck and back because of the sun and that gets activated and sometimes the pool side chatter among the ‘mom’ types is plain ole silly and uninteresting. Plus Lily insists on hanging on me in the pool sometimes and pulls down my bathing suit by mistake and is all clingy in the water and this can go on for hours… DAILY!
I was in her shoes a few years ago. I had lost my main client and had to give up childcare. Both my kids were not old enough nor skilled enough to swim on their own, and I had no idea that I would be spending five days a week in the pool. I would look at every adult lounging back and relaxing in pool-side chairs, reading a novel, and dream I was in their shoes. I was a reluctant stay-at-home mom and it was the last place I wanted to be. There was no escape. I would look every woman in the eye and wonder what they used to do before becoming a SAHM. Yes, I was pretty depressed and there was no choice other than to “drown my sorrows” (sorry for the pun, but it kind of works).
Fast forward to now, the present. After years of lessons, my kids can now swim unattended. I can sit in a lounge chair and read my book. As a matter of fact, I’ve finished several this summer. I did go back to work, in case you were wondering, but my hours were recently cut and I became a quasi stay-at-home mom once again until I figure out next steps. But times have changed. I free-lance as a writer, I’m producing aplay, I’m not quite in the same place as I was a few years ago. I know this time is a blip and that I won’t be home as much with my kids moving forward. They are ages 7 and 9. It’s time for me to work full-time, to focus on my career, to strike that balance I so crave. With all this in mind, and the fact my kids are so self-sufficient in the pool, I now love going there. I take a half hour to swim laps, I sit in the sun (and have a lovely tan as a result). It’s time for me and I love seeing my kids jump in and out of the pool, as happy as can be. Pool time is now “we” time. Not just “them” time. Now it’s me begging my kids to go every day at camp. I enjoy it as much as them.
But isn’t that the truth, time flies, things change. One minute you’re watching your child in the pool, holding them up so that they can swim to the other side, teaching them how to kick and breathe in the pool. The next minute you’re no longer needed, except when they are hungry and want to go to the snack stand (which my son does way too often, and curbing the junk this summer is more of a challenge than ever).
Do I wish I had enjoyed those days at the pool several summers ago?