Summer’s almost over and I’ve been swimming at the town pool as often as I can. The goal was to lose weight, but all it’s done for me is increase my appetite (conveniently, there’s an ice cream truck in the parking lot). But I digress.
What I wanted to talk about was the locker room at the pool. It’s a basic facility with two benches, cube lockers, a couple of showers, toilets and a fuzzy, distorted mirror that doesn’t reveal when I leave with mascara smudged under my eyes.
But what I really want to talk complain about is women who bring their little boys and particularly their not-so-little boys, into the locker room. As a mom of two former-little boys, I understand that you can’t send your three-year old into the men’s room alone. But…comes a time to separate the boys from the big boys.
Call me a prude, call me overly-modest, but I think that a nine-year old belongs in the men’s locker room. Okay, even a seven-year old. Yeah, the one who is already wearing his swim suit but stares unabashed at me while I unhook my bra and pull on my Speedo.
Sure, it’s easier to bring him into the women’s room. You can see him when he walks by the showers, opens all the curtains and turns the water on in each one, you can hear him when he yells as that he can’t find his goggles and you can feel the discomfort of other women and girls in the locker room when he leans against the cinderblock wall in a pose that’s pre-teen cool and watches us females wiggle in and out of our bathing suits.
That at the town pool, 19 year-old Swedish au pairs be required to wear armbands that identify them as such. That way I won’t feel like such a schlump when I look at their thighs and think, “I have three kids, she has three kids, why don’t we look the same?” Maybe instead of armbands, they should be required to wear baggy, one-piece, turtleneck bathing suits that say “NANNY” in block letters on the back.
Is it too much to ask?
That people who have family money come clean so I don’t beat myself up wondering how come I can’t afford to go on vacation to Borneo and drive a new Volvo when the part-time poet with the glassblower husband down the street can. I’m thinking maybe lawn signs. “This mortgage-free house courtesy of Mom and Dad.”
Is it too much to ask?
That anyone who says “Oh, you are a stay at home mom? I could never do that. I’d be so bored,” be punished for their ignorance by having to host a sleepover with six nine year-old boys (including two who have asthma, one who is lactose and gluten intolerant and one who is “gifted”), take a two year-old, a five year-old and a six month old grocery shopping and then spend four hours at the mall shopping for prom dresses with a fifteen year-old girl and end the day teaching a sixteen year-old boy to drive stick shift. Your stick shift. Boring? Hah.
Right now, I am sitting at my computer sipping an ice coffee and contemplating whether I can postpone the minimal work that I have and go for a swim. Right now, while I am not working, all three of my kids are slaving away in actual paying jobs. It’s a beautiful thing.
Okay, Lewis is a camp counselor, but Nathan and Perry are wearing shoes and are holed up in air conditioned offices like actual adults. They have bosses and copy machines and meetings. I almost feel sorry for them.
Then I remember all the times that I begged them to take out the trash, to put their dishes in the dishwasher instead of shoving them under their beds, to flush the toilet and suddenly, a summer of actual work seems like poetic justice. Think I’ll go for that swim now.