The public pool seems to be the bane of every parents’ existence during the summer. We complain about the constant splashing, the never-ending goggle adjusting, the countless watch-me-do-a-somesault-underwater pleas, and the gag-inducing germs. (Okay, so the pool is pretty gross.)
But despite all of its annoyances, I’m here to proudly proclaim my love for the public pool. That’s right, the public pool. Not the backyard private pool. Not the country club pool. And not the vacation resort pool. THE PUBLIC POOL.
Here are just a few reasons why I absolutely adore the public swimming pool in the summer:
1. It’s cheap.
For about $200, our entire family gets year-round admission to all of the six public pools in our community. Daily admission runs about $6 per person. I don’t know about you, but I can’t even get out of Starbucks without spending at least $20, so $6 to spend an entire afternoon outdoors (and away from screens) is a steal. And if you live in a town that offers a summer pass like ours, you could visit the public pool every day for basically pennies. Even the food at the public pool is cheap. 25 cent ice pops, anyone?
2. We feel part of our community.
I’ll admit that as an introvert with social anxiety, it takes a lot for me to leave my house sometimes. Honestly, I need to psyche myself up just to go to the grocery store some days. So the fact that I eagerly venture out into the world to visit our public pool on a regular basis really says a lot. Sometimes we run into people we know, sometimes we don’t. But either way, our family feels like a part of our community, and enjoys the interaction with our neighbors.
3. My kids make new friends.
We often go to the pool with friends, but sometimes we go alone. And without fail, my kids will see at least one person that they vaguely know who is there with more friends and before long, they are engrossed in some game with a whole new group of kids they didn’t know before. It works out great for me (hello, lounge chair) and great for them as well.
4. It’s unpretentious AF.
You don’t need to shell out tens of thousands of dollars for a country club fee with Instagram-worthy changing rooms, travel to far-off locations and stay at a posh resort, or have a huge backyard that fits a pool. In most cases, the fees are modest and many communities even offer fee waivers.
5. My kids get some exercise.
All those underwater somersaults and jumps off the diving board burn a lot of energy. And there’s nothing as nice some tired kids at the end of a long, summer day.
6. It’s like taking a mini-vacay every weekend.
One of my favorite things to do during the summer is go to the public pool that’s farthest from our house. We don’t run into as many people as we see at the neighborhood location, so I can immerse myself in a book (yes, my kids are old enough to swim unassisted). My kids usually run into someone they know (or they make new friends — see #3), and my husband and I have a few hours to chat. It’s almost like being on vacation, minus the umbrella drinks.
So yeah, if you need me, you can find me at the neighborhood pool. I might even buy you an ice pop.