Unless you're one of those lucky moms who live by a beach, odds are, you and your kiddos will spend quite a few days at the pool this Summer. Full of lifeguard-suited teenagers, gangs of splashing kids, and moms jockeying for the best lounge chairs, the pool can make for a totally fun or completely stressful experience, often depending on the age of your kids and your own pool personality. As a mom of a 4-year-old fearless, but not yet competent, swimmer and an 18-month-old wild man, a day at my local pool usually instills more feelings of anxiety than excitement for me. Will my daughter listen when I tell her to stay close? Answer: almost definitely no. Will my son's swim diapers hold up? So far, thankfully, yes. While taking my kids to the pool can certainly be stress-inducing, it's almost always good for some people watching, and I've noticed nine distinct types of pool moms. Which one are you?
- The completely overwhelmed mom. She's toting a baby and a toddler, and she's not yet sure whether this trip to the pool was a great idea or the worst one she's ever had. (Her husband advised her to rethink the plan multiple times.) She spends two hours chasing her toddler around the shallow end while her baby tries to pull down her swimsuit top then decides to call it a day.
- The golden years mom. She's sitting in a lounge chair, reading the book of the Summer, with not a care in the world, except whether her iced tea might be running low. Her strong-swimming children are quite content playing with their friends all day while she reads, chats with friends, and maybe takes a dip or two. The kids find her when they need money or a snack, she obliges, then they head out again. She's the standard all other moms are trying to reach.
- The well-stocked mom. Need sunscreen, swim diapers, goggles, or pool toys? She's got them all, plus cut-up sandwiches, juice boxes, and even an extra towel or two. She puts a lot of thought into packing her extralarge pool bag, and this year, she added a cooler to the mix. Waters and freezer pops for everyone!
- The gym-rat mom. She spends nine months of the year Spinning, running, and doing interval training so that she looks amazing in a bikini, and now is her time to show off that body. Feel free to express your jealousy; she doesn't mind at all.
- The lifeguard mom. She isn't really interested in getting wet, but she doesn't trust her kids left to their own devices. You'll find her standing sentry on the side. If only the real lifeguards would lend her a whistle.
- The sun-worshipping mom. A former tanning-booth devotee, she's here for one reason and one reason only: to get a tan. Like the gym-rat mom, she's probably wearing as little as possible, both in terms of clothing and SPF. By mid-Summer, she'll be almost uncomfortably brown, and she'll love every single tan line.
- The sunscreen-wielding mom. This mom believes in applying 50+ SPF as often as possible. You'll often see her chasing around her kids, who are also wearing full-sleeved rash guards, floppy hats, and water shoes, with hands full of lotion. Otherwise, you'll find her safely ensconced under an umbrella.
- The deep-end mom. Who says kids should have all the fun? You'll find this mom in line for the slide, playing games in the deep end, and doing laps during adult swim. A former camp counselor and swim-team member, this is the season that she loves most, and she's soaking up every minute.
- The time-to-go mom. She's been trying, unsuccessfully, to round up her kids for more than an hour, and really, "It's time to go." But maybe, just maybe, she'll bring them back tomorrow.