Summer is a glorious time of year when the scorching heat beckons you to toss on a sundress, make some homemade lemonade and head to the pool. Novel in hand, sunscreen in tow, time to relax and work on that tan.
If only it were that easy.
Such a lovely dream!
Such a lovely dream!
Heading to swim pre-children was something that could happen in a moments notice. A friend could call you up and within minutes you’d be lounging by the water, adult beverage in hand. After all, we’re lucky to have so many watering holes around Austin.
Trekking to the local pool with children in tow is whole different ball game, it’s an adventure of epic proportion, one you must be mentally and physically prepared to endure. (Don’t even get me started on finding an appropriate swim suit.) Nothing happens in a matter of minutes (unless of course, you consider the thousands of possible ways a tiny person could drown) just getting the gear together for the pool is an hour-long ordeal.
I remember the last summer I was pregnant, when it was just my son and I at the pool I would look down at my growing belly and think, “How the hell am I going to do this next summer?!” I think all the other child-less adults at the pool had the same question in mind. Juggling children can be total chaos, add in the extra danger of a large body of water and you have yourself a highly stressful situation.
The pool is no longer an enjoyable place of rest and relaxation. It’s a straight up endurance test with children and when you add on multiple children, the stress just increases.
Luckily, when it came time to haul my two kids to the pool I had enough experience taking them place around town on my own that is wasn’t as bad as I had imagined. (Ok, in reality the first maybe 3 times I was filled with so much anxiety I would try to corral the help of the lifeguards to keep an eye on my kids at any opportunity. Which, btw is not their job. Having been a former lifeguard, you need to watch the ENTIRE pool, not just the small children in front of you, no matter how much mothers may beg.)
You just need to have the right supplies, ample snacks, more towels than children and a realistic expectation about how long you’ll actually spend inside the body of water itself.
Tips for Surviving The Pool with Two Kids:
- Make a list
A mental or real list, but the last thing you want to do is forget something so better to write it down. Check it twice
- Gather supplies
Sunscreen, sunscreen stick, sun hats, swim diapers, extra swimwear, sunglasses, coverups, sandals, dry clothes, dry underwear, dry diapers, hairbrush, bug spray, wipes, body wash or shampoo, small first aid kit (you never know when someone will need a bandaid) towels, a picnic blanket, a wet bag (or a few ziplocks or garbage bags), water bottles, ice, snacks, snacks and then throw in some more snacks just for good measure.
- Designate a Pool Bag
Instead of lugging a baby bag and purse to the pool, try to get a special pool bag that will fit everything. One bag is the way to go. Less is more! We have a bag that is half insulated cooler, which is great for keeping water cold and food away from the ants and bugs.
- Leave the good toys at home
You may be tempted to bring the awesome water toys to the pool, but in my experience these tend to get swiped by another kid or lost. It’s not worth it. Take old yogurt containers, cups from restaurants with holes poked in them or dollar bin finds. There have been too many hours spent chasing down kids to get back our toys that have been borrowed. The same could be said for footwear. Just this last week my son wore his favorite (and coincidentally expensive) sandals to the pool and another child wore them home by mistake.
Only take what you don’t care to loose, especially when flying solo mama.
- Don’t forget about your own needs
I’m not saying to bring a magazine with you to the pool, that would just be crazytown, but if you have a special sunscreen or hat toss it in the bag! I always tend to forget healthy snacks or food for me and end up munching goldfish, which as we know are not the least bit filling or good for me. Dried fruits, nuts, cut up veggies or granola bars have kept me alive most summers.
- Be aware of your surroundings
Take the kids to the bathroom as soon as you get to the location and make sure kids know where your camp is set up in case they get separated from you. Also, be sure to point out the lifeguards, where the lifeguards stations are located or designated emergency areas where they can go for help. For small children it helps to also talk to about the role of lifeguards too and who else is in charge at the pool.
- Know the rules
Some pools allow floaty toys and some don’t. Some allow jumping or diving, other’s don’t. Some have blow-up tubes or noodles you can borrow, some do not.
None of them allow peeing in the pool.
- Take only the necessities
You do not need to bring a newborn car seat into the pool area.
Do not take a bouncer or swing.
If your kids are older you may not even need a stroller! It was a glorious day when I could walk hand-in-hand with my kids to the pool without a clunky stroller. I was never a fan of assisted swimming devices (water wings, puddle jumpers, whatever you call them) because I was a former swim instructor and wanted my kids to learn how to actually swim, but mama, sometimes you need these things to ward off the panic attacks that come with taking kids to the pool.
Know that is isn’t impossible to take multiple children to the pool, you just have to be prepared.
This summer we’re welcoming baby #3 to our crew and as we head to the pool I expect it to be a huge cluster of fun.
But, with rising Austin summer temperatures close to 100 degrees, do what you gotta do to stay cool in this heat mama!