|This is what my kids do at the pool.|
It's no secret that earlier in the year I discovered a love for podcasts. Podcasts by women for women about regular life are my jam. And if you can throw in some spirituality and a lesson from God while still making me laugh, well then I am your #1 fan.
Earlier in the summer I was listening to such a podcast (I can't remember exactly which one because I binge them all... If it comes to me I will most definitely come back and site the reference.) (This is possibly why I received a failing grade for almost every research paper I wrote in college.) Anyway, the ladies on the podcast were discussing some of the most annoying things of summer and mentioned those obnoxious kids who glob on to your family at the pool. They were speaking specifically about those who just show up for snack time, but I was thinking "YES. I don't like those kids that just pick a family to hang out with and never go back to their mom. And their mom is super relieved to get a break never seems to try to find them. Ugh.... how annoying are they?!?!?" (said in the most holier than thou voice.)
Maybe you see where this is going.
Well today while watching my kids play at the pool while sitting under the umbrella and listening to (you guessed it) a podcast, I realized something. Louisa is one of those obnoxious kids. She is totally happy putting around the pool and going up to kids who have a doting parent or grandparent with them and just strikes up a conversation. Clearly she got this skill from her father. As I mentioned, my preferred posture at the pool is sunglasses on, hat down, ear buds in, and a sign that says "don't even think of coming to talk to me". Well, just kidding about the sign... maybe.
I watcher her today go up to several families (like usual) and show them all of her swimming tricks like blowing bubbles, putting her face in the water, and super splashy kicks, but then I noticed this one grandfather move to the deep end of the pool with his kids.
"Huh? that's weird" I thought. But maybe he is wanting to work on their swimming technique and needed more room. Then, as Louisa started putting that direction to chat, I noticed he quickly moved his crew to the opposite side of the pool. He was clearly trying to get way from her. She was one of those kids to him.
Ooops. I didn't see that coming. I thought those children were the one with dead beat, neglectful parents. Wait. Am I a dead beat mom. Is it true? Am I okay with it? So many questions for an afternoon at the pool.
/ / / / /
Several weeks ago I was sitting at the pool watching the kids swim and noticed another mom swimming with her kids. She and her 2 preschool age kids were playing right in front of me where Louisa was just doing her thing. This young mother was very hands-on. And super encouraging... no really, like seriously encouraging. "You are so great at kicking in the water!" "Way to blow bubbles!" "You are so brave!" "I love spending time at the pool with you guys!"
I immediately felt the mom guilt well up inside me. "I should be playing with my kids. She's a better mom than I am because she actually enjoys splashing with her 3 year old. Why can't I find so much joy in watching my toddler blow bubbles in the water?"
About that time I noticed Louisa joining in this family's love fest. She is never one to turn down some good old fashion praise and adoration, even from complete strangers.
"Look at how high I can splash when I kick!" "I can put my whole face in the water! Watch me!" The Super Mom looked up at me and then looked back at Lou and said "YOU ARE amazing! Thats the best splash I have ever seen! Look boys, isn't she great at splashing!" And then looked back at me with as if to say... "I guess I will just show your kid the affection she needs since you obviously can't be bothered to mother well." (To be fair. She didn't say these things out loud. But I can totally read minds and well... I'm 99% sure that is what she was thinking.)
She was mom-shaming me right there in the shallow end of the pool.
I couldn't believe it. I wanted to jump in and defend myself and tell her how even when I am in the pool Lou swims up to strangers to show off and how I am a super mom. That I limit screen time (well unless it's summer. or unless Sesame Street is on, because it's educational. or unless I'm trying to cook dinner and... well never mind) and that limit sweets and make homemade dinners and read bedtime stories and....
Instead, I sat there looked her in the eyes and tipped my visor to her. I will not be shamed into mommy competition. I will never win at that game. The truth is... by her standards I am a dead beat. And I think I'm totally cool with that. My kids are happy and safe and have learned to play by themselves (most of the time). Even my mom, the Mother Theresa of moms, didn't chase us around the country club pool cheering on our doggy paddling skills. I never once felt neglected.
So yeah... I am THAT mom and Louisa is one of THOSE kids. And neither of us are looking to change. I'm not sure we could even if we tried. But look at this face. Don't you want to see her stick her whole face in the water? It really is a fantastic skill.
FACEBOOK FROM THE PAST
I did not enjoy the snarky tone the Wii Fit took with me as it informed me I was overweight and my "wii fit age" is actually 64. What?!? Shut up you stupid Nintendo.