Thursday, June 12, 2008

DCMM: Maybe Next Year

Either I didn't grow up in a geographic area where people joined and went to private pools in the summer, or I didn't belong to an economic class that did that. Regardless, I never belonged to a pool when I was a child, and I don't remember a single friend that did either.

When I was a child, we would scrape together fifty cents and walk up to the high school during public swim hours where we would pay to swim for the day.

Here in suburban Maryland, however, it seems like everyone belongs to a pool. I remember my first summer with three children after I moved here. It seemed like everyone had an opinion on joining a pool. Not whether we should join a pool, but which pool we should join.

In fact, everyone was so certain that we should join a pool that it didn't really occur to me to question my imminent pool membership.

I started to research different pools, fees, locations, and who goes there before I realized a couple of things:

1. Joining a pool is expensive.

2. If I take three young children to a swimming pool by myself, there is a good chance that one of them will drown. (And I'm not saying this in a casual way. I really believe that I am not capable of watching three children in a potentially deadly situation. And if I can, I don't think it will be fun for me.)

So we decided to wait a year until the kids got older. And we bought a wading pool. And we told ourselves, "maybe next year." But the next year the pools were still expensive and I still had three young children. So we played in the wading pool again.

The following year our wading pool cracked when we took it out of the garage. We briefly revisited the idea of pool membership before we decided that this still wasn't the year for us. So I bought a new wading pool. Good decision.

This year, when the beginning of summer rolled around, I made a conscious decision not to consider the pool. It's not that I think pool membership is a waste of money or a silly thing to do. Quite the opposite. It's a great way to spend the summer.

For some people.

For me? Not so much. The thought of packing up all my children to go to the pool for enough days over the summer to make it worthwhile kind of gives me the shivers. And I'm still worried about the drowning thing. Plus, my youngest is not potty trained enough to go into the big pool, and I don't relish the idea of spending the summer trying to force my older kids to stay in the baby pool.

Plus, I don't like to swim a whole lot. It's okay, but there are lots of things I prefer.

So this summer we've pulled out the wading pool again. My kids will continue to take their swimming lessons at the public pool. We'll go to the beach a few times, and we'll pay (a hell of a lot more than fifty cents a kid, by the way) to take them to the pool a few times over the summer.

For now we're going to have fun in our small backyard swim park. There's grass, a swingset, a pool, a sprinkler, and a (one-foot-tall) water slide. And that's okay.

As for a pool membership? Maybe next year.

Original DC Metro Moms post.

Keep up with how Jean's no-pool membership decision goes at her personal blog, Stimeyland.

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