Summer’s here! There’s always this big buzz about summer and summer fun. I get it, kids are out of school, the weather is hot, and it’s easier to do more things outside. There is one thing that I have never understood about summer, that’s aversion women have when it comes to water. Even before kids, I noticed women/girls/female people will go to the pool and lay in the sun rather than getting in and splashing around.
I personally have not understood this. Why would anyone lay next to water and roast when it’s way too hot out, when they could cool off and beat the heat. Of course, this lack of understanding has only gotten worse since adding Princess Pea into the mix.
If it was up to Princess Pea, we would spend every day, all day at the pool. This was true last summer and it’s still true this summer. Thank goodness we have a community pool. This summer I invested in new board shorts to accommodate my slowly expanding pregnant belly, along with my super comfy swim shirt, I have no excuse to not go to the pool.
The only thing that drives me crazy is every time we go to the pool, there are tons of kids (which is great because Princess Pea would always rather play with friends than mom), but the kids are all in the water splashing around and the moms are sitting on the side lines. I get that water fights, underwater tricks, and cannon balls are not the most “mom” activity, but I’ve found myself too often being the only adult in the water.
So what? People have their agency. They don’t have to swim with their kids. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Except how many times have I been the one to save these kids that are in the water with their floaties, but no adult near by? I have lost count how many kids Pea’s age (she’s 3) maybe a little older, that are in the water with their puddle jumper alone. The kids get a moment where they are struggling and coughing up water and me, the only adult in the pool, reacts. It is such a safety issue/liability for me. I am not a life guard, I came to the pool to be with my daughter and keep her safe, not be pool police for everyone else.
Besides the issue with these moms who seem like cats near a sink full of water, the potential drowning of the kids is real, but it’s what is being presented/taught to their children. I was at an activity with a bunch of young girls at the pool and so many women were there in full street clothes. They told me they don’t do water… you don’t do water? What does that mean?
Yes swimsuits are awful, that’s why you get creative (like my board shorts and swim shirt). There are so many options out there that make it so you don’t feel naked in a swimsuit. But when we as women don’t get in the water we send the message that motherhood is boring. Being a grown woman means no more fun. You’re playing into the bad body image messages when you don’t throw caution to the wind and jump into the pool.
Now, I don’t want to criminalize everyone. Some people just don’t enjoy the pool. This past week we went on a fabulous family vacation. This trip included time by the lake. We did swimming and kayaking and just had a blast. Princess Pea loves to dig. She loves sand and dirt. She wanted to spend a good amount of time on the beach, in the sand. I personally loath sand. I can’t stand walking on sand without something on my feet. I hate that sand gets everywhere. I just really dislike sand.
I stood awkwardly by while my child dug in the sand and struggled to understand how to make a sandcastle. After hovering, I realized I was being one of those moms. “Go play in this thing I hate, I’ll stand here.” I plopped myself down in the sand and began digging and showing Pea how to do different things with sand. I kept reminding myself that sand does wash off and go away eventually. After a few minutes, I completely forgot how much I despise sand and focused more on the great time I was having digging and building with my daughter.
We moms need to move past our aversions to things. We need to cut loose, forget that we don’t have the perfect body, forget that we hate whatever activity is in front of us, forget that we’d rather read a book or roast in the sand. We need to jump in, get dirty, and show our children that growing up doesn’t mean that we no longer have fun, that we no longer enjoy these things.
What is your mommy aversion?