I learned something today. Actually, I just relearned something I’ve learned every Memorial Day weekend since becoming a mother: I fucking hate the pool.
It’s not as simple as the fact that donning a swimsuit makes me want to crawl in the fetal position and stay there until September. It’s not the fact that I glare at carefree, bikini-clad teenagers burning them with my eyes. It’s not even the communal germ fest of wet, hot bodies bathing in piss-filled water or the notion that I’m exposing my children to the sun’s cancer causing rays. No, it’s just the fact that I am a complete nervous wreck each and every time we go.
I’m not normally such an intense mother, but when I’m at the pool I morph into secret agent mode. My sole mission? To keep my three children alive. I scan the pool looking for obstacles that pose potential tripping hazards. I annoyingly holler their names should I lose sight of them for the briefest moment. I barely smile, let alone engage in conversation that would require me to take my eyes off of any of them. I gladly give into ice cream and popsicle requests as long as it brings us out of the water and secretly pray for sudden thunderstorms the entire time we’re there. It’s just all way too stressful for me.
Am I alone here? Because poolside, it certainly feels like I am. Everyone else looks like they’re having the time of their lives, while I’m sure I look like a constipated wreck. I see mothers casually flip through magazines or chatting with each other. I actually saw a mother of young children reading a novel poolside. How is that even possible? I just don’t get it.
I do, however, totally get ignoring my children while in the comfort of our own home. I’m really good at that. You know, lest you think I’m always so attentive.