Thursday, July 09, 2009

Being a mom

The ear doctor works from home about 75% of the time during the summer. He sits in a very uncomfortable chair at our kitchen table and squints to read his laptop screen despite the streaming sunlight and ever-present Colorado dust. He does this because it's the only spot in the house where we can "borrow" Internet from one of our neighbors. He'll sit there for hour after hour typing away.

Except for the occasional break when our little Roscoe needs to go out. The ear doctor takes these mandatory breaks to get out, stretch his legs and walk around the apartment complex.

As the summer has progressed I've noticed his increasing annoyance at the people who lounge by the pool. Sure, I'm annoyed by and jealous of the 20 somethings that are "taking" summer classes at the community college and have all afternoon to read murder mysteries and drink diet coke. Who wouldn't be?

But the slow burning disgust that the ear doctor is working on is directed at someone else. I guess there are a couple of moms who take their kids to the pool...all day...every day. They lay there in the sun, zoned out to the world while their kids run screaming in all directions.

It bothers the ear doctor because he assumes that they all have husbands who are working hard at a job to support their apparent rock 'n roll lifestyles.

I'm not sure how I feel about the situation. What about you?


Neil and Meredith Larson said...

Ok this is about the buying a house post. When we bought our house we got several quotes and were able to get a lower interest rate because we told the company we were working with the lowest rate we had been offered :) About the pool I bet the husbands of those families are glad their kids are getting to go out and do something instead of sitting in front of a tv all day. Who knows these women at the pool might spend all the time their children are napping furiously cleaning their houses, doing laundry and making meals. Plus making sure several children at a pool don't meet an umtimely end can be quite an exhausting task.

allimarie said...

Even if it was a choice, I would still work.

CageQueen said...

My mom was a SAHM for a brief moment and would always take us to the pool. It is one of my fondest memories. And my dad did not resent it AT ALL. He was glad we were happy.

My mom called me last night to tell me that the new place she just moved into has a pool, and a bunch of kids come and skinny dip EVERY night, LOL.

Raven said...

I am currently a SAHM. I have also been a working mom. My Sprog prefers me home, which is kinda shocking for a teenage boy; they should be rejecting all things parent right about now. Both he and my husband also dread my return to work this fall as it means household chores becoming more an every person responsibility instead of mainly mine.

*shrug* It's different for everyone.

Lady Susan said...

I recently helped out my sister with three young kids while her husband was out of the house. Talk about the crazy. Summertime can be really hard with young kids. How do you keep them entertained and busy? What if you just don't have the money to enroll them in various summer camps? Perhaps the only thing keeping these women sane, is the fact that they can take their kids to the pool and have them run around crazy. Often it is easier to deal with them at the pool than cooped up in the house.

Megs said...

The women probably have earned the right to zone out by the pool in the sun after being pent up inside with the children climbing the curtains all winter.

I would so much rather work than be a stay at home mom. I really would. This is so much harder than reading stories to 25 five year olds. But I'm giving this full time motherhood my best shot. If Husband didn't insist upon me staying home, though, I don't think I would.

Katie said...


I know it doesn't bother him that these women bring their kids to the pool. He grew up spending many a summer day at both his own backyard pool and his grandparents pool.

It bothers him that their moms seem to bring them there, all day and just lay out and tan...for like 10 hours straight. These aren't little kids who stay at the pool for an hour and then go home to take naps.

Does that make a difference?

Leslie said...

that does make a difference. keep in mind, though, how it takes at least an hour to get those kids packed up, sunscreened (hopefully), lunches made and towels/goggles assembled before she goes and lays out for a bit. then, when they get home, she has to bathe them all and comb out the pool hair and stuff their post-swimming starvingness. probably put one or two of them down for a nap. then hang up the towels. then maybe think about taking a shower.

there's no excuse for letting them run wild, and surely the moms should get in and play with the kids every once in a while, but sometimes you just gotta let the kids be crazy. they are kids after all, and they're probably having fun.

Maggie said...

I agree with Leslie and the Larson's. It takes SO MUCH more effort to go to the pool with kids than by yourself. What is visible to others is the perk of being out and relaxing, what isn't visible is all the effort in front of and behind that time.

Hopefully the moms are keeping track of their kids, and if not, then I can see the annoyance. Otherwise, having the kids out of the house and doing physical activity during the summer sounds absolutely great. Maybe they do it so that when they get home and have to do the laundry their kids aren't going crazy with boredom.

dad said...

Throw Roscoe into the pool with the kids and let him have some fun

Jethro said...

Yes! The Ear Doctor is being judgemental and blowing things way out of proportion. If I lived in a cramped apartment with kids that were too old to take a nap and I got home from work and they had spent the "whole day" outside playing, I would be ecstatic. It sounds like the Ear Doctor is the one with the rock and roll lifestyle--sitting around playing on the stolen wifi all day long!

The next time the Ear Doctor goes by the pool, maybe he should stop and talk to the mothers and ask them how life is, and why they like the pool so much. He just might find out that they aren't just laying out and letting the kids run wild.

TRS said...

Just be careful about assumptions.

How does he know that some of these moms aren't looking for work... and there's none to find.

Maybe they take advantage of the nice afternoon to get their kids worn out so that she has some peace and quiet to type cover letters after dinner.

Remember the economy... I myself was unemployed for 14 months up until seven months ago. I worked part-time but that was just enough hassle to interfere with the job hunt. Equivelent to managing a couple kids I suppose.

My friends thought I must have had a relaxing summer - but I barely got outside and I was constantly stressed.

So what else... summer camps? Day care? Both are expensive - especially with multiple kids and only one income.

They live in an apartment complex after all so they're probably not raking it in.
For a reality check - many people I know (outside of the engineers) make between $35 - $65 thousand a year. Think about raising a family on that!!

Free entertainment at the complex pool? oh heck yeah!!

Otherwise, what would be the prefered activity? Yeah, I guess it wouldn't be any harder to get the kids packed up for a hike in the foothills than it is to pack em up for the pool.
The zoo and museums have one free day a month - but that's only one day a month.

I guess my question is... what he rather have them do?

And if I were ED - I'd take the laptop to the pool and enjoy the sun!

Katie said...

Hey now, hey now.

Jethro, why the vitrol? I thought we were pals? Please don't call my man judgemental and intimate that he just dillys around on the internet all day. What he is doing is very important, especially for children born with central auditory disorder.

I'm not a mom, and I only have the example of my awesome sister to compare, but it seems to me that an active parent would go to the pool and actually interact with their children. Or occasionally think of some kind of stimulating activity for them to do aside from pool time.

To me, it seems good parenting doesn't take a lot of money. I know this because I know a ton of great parents who have very small incomes. It appears that great parents (like the majority of the people who read this blog) exert hard work and creativity. Neither of which seems to be happening in this particular situation.

Jethro said...

Katie, we certainly are pals. I was only pushing back.

I wonder how those women would feel about this blog intatimating that they are neither creative nor hard working nor active.

As TRS said, we should be careful about assumptions. It is certainly easier to find fault with those we don't know and yet look at ourselves everyday on the mirror and miss even our minor faults. In that vein, it is very easy for those who are in a different stage of life to assume that they would do a better job at anything. Remember beig in high school and thinking how much better a parent you would be than your parents? I sure do. Now that I am a parent, though, I wonder if I will be able to sacrifice the way mine did. But a few years ago, I /knew/ I would be better than them.

The fact of the matter is that just as much as I don't know what the Ear Doctor does on the computer all day, we don't know what else is going on in these women's lives.

For all we know those women could be asking their friends on their blogs, "Can you belive that there is a guy in our complex that makes his cute wife go to work every day just so he can stay home and take the dog out for a walk every couple hours?"

Katie, we are pals, and no disrespect to the ear doctor.

Mary Jo said...

I am a stay at home mom with a 2 year old and one on the way. Our apartment complex has a pool and trust me! Lathering a 2 year old up in sunscreen, packing snacks,pool toys and carrying a toddler up and down 2 flights of stairs takes effort but that is what you do to get out of the house and entertain yourself and your child. I don't just lounge by the pool because my child can't swim by himself. My husband prefers that I take our child places and do fun things during the day because he wants Jack to have a fun life and experience things! What your husband isn't seeing is the preperation and the struggle to get the kid in the shower to wash off the oily sunblock and chlorine. lol Katie I love your blog and just had to delurk to comment. Your husband seems to be observing older children which is different than a 2 year old so i understand that!

Kelcie said...

I love your blog and thought I'd chime in with a quick defense for your husband. I'm sure he's not trying to be judgmental. I used to lifeguard and I know for a fact we had many many parents who would drop off their kids for the day thinking the pool (and lifeguards) were cheap babysitters. This led to some potentially dangerous situations. Everyone has different parenting styles, but a pool is definitely not the safest babysitter.

Maggie said...

I also think that if you take your kids to the pool you'd better be ready to watch/interact with them even if they are older. You never know what could happen. As a mom of a younger child it is really frustrating when moms of older kids don't step in to tell them to be safe when my child is next to them because it's dangerous for her. I can TOTALLY see that particular frustration

TRS said...

See, that's just it - if the kids are 8-10 or even 12 they can swim on their own -- they certainly don't want mom hanging out with them (they only want her attention to watch their neat tricks)

And those ages are the years that they need their independence AND supervision. So I'm sure those moms have plans for laundry - that they can't get to because they have to supervise the kids... or plans to paint the bedroom ... but can't cuz they're supervising kids.... or clean out the closets or make freezer meals or.....

Granted, some parents don't clue into the fact that they can make their kids help with those chores - and those are the lazy parents... so ED has a point there.

Growing up, we didn't have a pool - but we had acres of farm land to both explore and to work.
Mom spent summers in the garden and in the kitchen canning.
That's not really feasible in a city apartment complex - so I'd say - the pool works... but then you have to supervise the kids.

Staci said...

Before I had kids, I too thought the way the ear doctor thought. Not until I had kids did I understand what it meant to hang out at the pool like those moms with "unattended children". It meant they spent many many, years being at the beckoning call of their kids. They fed them, bathed them, dressed them, played with them, held them, and did everything that they couldn't or didn't know how to do for themselves. They supervised them enough that they made it to do the day when the kids could be at the pool "unsupervised" while they sat there soaking up some rays. The fact that they are there with their kids instead of just sending them down there shows supervision. Once you become a parent, you will fully understand that there will one glorious day when you will finally be able to lay by the pool and watch your kids play and swim without being crawled on, cried on, or begged at. It is a well-deserved day for any mother or father.

heidi said...

everyone should feel free to enjoy their job. just because some days are easier/more fun than others does not negate that there is still work involved. this is true if you work outside of the home, from home or whatever your paid or unpaid profession is. somedays being at home with my kids is a blast. other days i consider polishing up my resume because i know working with adults has to be easier than working with my own children whom i love dearly.

as far as the moms at the pool, having not watched their actions myself, i can only guess if they are really watching/protecting their children. some parents expect lifeguards/other parents to catch everything they are missing. some parents are much more diligent. but no sahm(or anybody) should shy away from a little down time and relaxation. everyone should avoid bunout. you don't ever "come home" from being a parent. clocking out is not an option.

Anonymous said...

After you have a kid, or two reaccess that situation. See how you feel and how you handle it then answer that question yourself.