I want to be a Pool Queen

You know who the pool queens are. In fact you may be one of them. These are the “ladies” who wear their freshly-washed terry cloth cover ups, carrying their soft-shell cooler packed with egg salad, drinks and chips, in neat Tupperware containers. Their towels are freshly washed, neatly rolled under their arms, and dangling from their arms are more tote bags filled with pails, goggles, sun tan lotion and water balls. They camp out at the pool all day. They stay there all day.

I watch in awe. How do they have time for that? I wonder, “Don’t they need to get home to get ‘some stuff done?'” I secretly imagined that they must have an army of servants, ready and working for them back home. They don’t want anyone to know; gossip might spread if we all find out they have servants.

My pool experience turns out to be quite the opposite. When I do manage to get us packed and ready for the pool, I’ve already invested about two hours, average, to get the meals packed, (my kids won’t touch egg salad) the snacks loaded in the bag, and place myself into my own bathing suit. I’m thinking of every possible circumstance we could possibly run into, and carrying the antidote in my bag. During this time the boys find the goggles, fill water bottles, slather sunscreen, and manage to get themselves tangled up in some kind of squabble that slows us down. The topic? Someone lost their googles, so they’re trying to take someone else’s, or they can’t find the squirt gun. By the time we’re ready, the kids are ready to eat again, so I need to tack on another half an hour to our prep time to give them a snack.

And… I haven’t even started dinner yet.

The pool is an easy walk and once I get there, I instantly envy the Pool Queens, looking relaxed, who arrived first and have all the good lounge chairs in the best spots. Of course, my timing is off, and we arrive at exactly the moment the whistle is blown for break time. Once the whistle blows again, I’m pulled into the pool so kids can jump into my arms; I quickly look like a drowned rat. Of course, even before the first hour is up, one of the boys is ready to leave. I stall our exit, so that everyone is ready to go at once. So, figuring that stall, we’re average about 1.5 hours at the pool. Horrible odds, when you factor in my two hour prep time.

Once we’re home, there is the hanging of the towels ritual, the rinsing the chlorine out of the bathing suit ritual… and OMG my kitchen is a mess! And I haven’t even started dinner.

How in the world do the Pool Queens manage to spend the entire day at the pool? They’re still there, at the pool, relaxing. Who’s cooking dinner for them, I wonder? In fact, they look as if they’re having a Frankie Valley, Annette Funicello kind of summer day I’d love to have. I bet there’s even a root beer float waiting for the kids as soon as they get home.

There is a primal part of my being that needs to understand how things work. I’ve been studying the Pool Queens, trying to copy them, to no avail. The basic difference between me and the Pool Queens is this: When I finally arrive at the pool, I look exactly like someone who spent the last two hours packing to get ready for the pool. When I Ieave the pool, I look exactly like someone who has been used as a human bungee cord in the pool. Yet, the Pool Queens, always look fantastic; untouched by the events going on around them. That’s why I call them Queens. If you’re a Pool Queen, please let me know how you pull this off; give me lessons. I’d love to learn more.

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20 comments on “I want to be a Pool Queen
  1. Hmm…I’m not a pool queen, so I don’t know. But egg salad sounds really good. I think I’ll make it for lunch today.

    P.S. You sound like a very fun pool mom 🙂

  2. This reminds me so much of the tennis scene from Gigi where Leslie Caron is rushing all over trying to hit the ball and her oponent doesn’t even have to move. I always feel like Gigi:) Do you think the Pool Queens are robots or Stepford Wives? It’s just not natural!

  3. Me too. I had plans this summer to become just that woman – I would calmly pack lunches and after swimming lessons we would just stay all afternoon. The kids would swim and I would join them for a while before taking to a novel. (My real estate agent would show my house while we were away. After it’s painted of course.)

    Then I’d make a leisurely dinner.

    No, really. I’ve been dreaming about it since January.

    But it’s 50 degrees outside; my plans are being revised.

    It was a good dream. If I ever figure it out, I’ll be sure to let you know.

  4. What a great post! I know exactly the “queens” you are talking about and I am not one of them either. How funny!

    I’m Kellan – nice to meet you. See you soon.

  5. That’s funny…I do that same thing…arrive at the pool just as they blow the whistle. So do you think we have good timing or bad timing with that? I mean, it is sort of a talent to arrive at that time all the time.

    I get to sort of be a “beach queen” next week. We go on vacation with my extended family and only have to cook supper once during the week since each family takes a day to cook. It’s wonderful. Makes me think we should coordinate something like that all year.

  6. Oh Susie – I, too, want to be a Pool Queen. I always feel like such a rookie at the pool – my hair flying all over the place, my body oddly contorted (in a bathing suit!), and sweat pouring down my back as I chase my little one around. Luckily, we do most of our swimming at my parents-in-law’s, so I don’t have to see the Pool Queens often, but I see them everywhere else. They are also the Story Hour Queens, the Park Queens, the Waiting Room Queens, and the Mall Queens – they make mothering and outings look so effortless! I look forward to the day when I seem so “with it” when I am out and about with my daughter.

  7. I always wanted to be a Pool Queen too!
    They always look so organized. Their fingernails and toenails match…they have nice color but are never sunburt.

    I would give bring chips and Peanut butter then let them buy a snow cone.
    On pool days there would be alot of Salads, Carry out and pizza’s for dinner.

  8. I know them and have a much spicier name for them that I won’t share in the interest of generosity and tolerance. But the pool queens I know not only have servants at home, enough expendable cash to always buy take out from the gourmet market for dinner, BUT they also bring servants to the pool, arriving with nannies in-tow so that they properly lounge and read and perhaps dash off for an impromptu tennis match without having to worry about actually spending time with their children. And they often bring decorator’s samples to the pool to show the other pool queens the fabric swatches they must choose from in order to redecorate the dining room. So it’s a bevy of pool queens huddled around Robert Allen prints sipping iced tea while their children pull hair and torment younger children or, perhaps, drown.
    So there’s my two cents on pool queens!

  9. Ah, yes, I was at the pool today, watching this very thing go down. While I was hauling my BIG red cooler, my 5-year old’s tennis racquet, the large pool bag with goggles, swim trunks, lotion & towels I once again wondered how these ladies have managed to look as if they never gave birth! They were probably looking back at me wondering why on earth I’d ever get IN the pool and get my hair wet. I looked lovely, let me assure you.

    Anyway, your bean fort beats everything. No pool finess needed.

  10. I’m wondering when I’ll get to be one of the “Pond Queens” who gets to loll about on the grassy hill, reading a book and snacking while the kids pummel each other with pool noodles in the pond. Because my 4 yo daughter thinks she can go deeper than she really can, and my 5 1/2 yo son really doesn’t know how to avoid conflict with teasing or splashing boys.

    On the plus side, we live about 1000 yards from the pond, so we just go home to eat 🙂

  11. Hi, Susie,

    Here’s what I know: purchase your own above-ground pool. Set it up where you can see the kids from the kitchen, where you are preparing the egg salad and root beer floats.

    The children will have fun in the pool; you will be keeping an eye on them, and some of the work will get done. That’s how we do it here. 🙂

  12. i’m no pool queen (red heads!) but I always have the pool bag packed and ready to go- I even leave it in the car.

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  14. I know, it takes so much effort to take two little ones to the pool. And all the stuff! The stroller would tip if I put the strap of the bag over the handle. It just doesn’t seem relaxing to me!

    But what I am enjoying this summer is that my almost 4yo is taking swim lessons that I don’t have to participate in. I get to sit on a chair and read a magazine and watch. And the baby stays home with daddy and is already fed dinner by the time we get home.

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