MOM…There’s a snake in the pool!
We have a pool. It’s my baby. I only dreamt of having my own pool as a kid. It’s probably for the best that I didn’t. I got swimmer’s ear annually as it was. My kids are in the pool every day, at least for a bit, sometimes even in the middle of the winter. Our winters in Central Florida are mild, but the water in an unheated pool still gets cold! They just love the pool that much.
When we moved into our house my husband and I made a deal that he would take care of the yard if I took charge of the pool. It took me some time but I have learned the ins and outs of pool maintenance. I am pretty proud of that at this point, I can even backwash the filter all by myself. I was feeling relatively in control of this whole pool thing…until spring came.
Baby animals come in the spring, including baby snakes. They are small enough that they can slither right under our pool screen and right into the pool, but they aren’t big enough to climb back out. Luckily I am not one of those people who are horrified of snakes. (That’s spiders in my case.) I am wary of them, cautious, and living where we live, there are poisonous ones around. The fact that they are juveniles and may look nothing like the adult snake, makes it tricky to just Google it so you know for sure.
So, periodically one of my children comes in the door and yells, “MOM…There’s a snake in the pool!” It would be truly lovely if this happened when I was doing nothing, but if you’re a mom you know that you’re never doing nothing. And typically the snake in the pool call comes when you’re up to your eyeballs in a whole lot of something.
It happens to all of us, often many times a day. It’s likely not pool snakes for you, but it’s something. Usually, it’s not catastrophic like “MOM…Cy just punched Rory in the face!” (Got that one once, not fun.) Typically, it’s “MOM…the toilet’s plugged up.” Or the toast is stuck in the toaster, or the dog’s water was spilled all over the floor, or somebody spilled my milk, or somebody broke somebody’s something. (Usually something expensive.) Or, cringe, “Mom there’s a giant spider in the house.” (I lucked out. My son is finally old enough to take care of those.)
All of these interruptions are just tiny annoyances, tiny distractions from what you are doing that demand immediate attention. You don’t want to deal with them; you certainly don’t want deal with them right now…but you have to. If you are anything like me this is infuriating. And, depending on how old your kids are, you may have to deal with things that you don’t feel like dealing with hundreds of times a day.
So, where am I going with all of this? Well, I honestly wanted to tell you how I react to the sort of stress that living this way causes. I think that there are a lot of us out there who would be afraid to admit that we react…well normally. Normally, as in I yell. I have stomped, jumped up and down, screamed at the top of my lungs, and yes, I have cried. When the twins were about two and my third child had just been born my husband once came home to find the twins caged beneath their crib, which I had turned upside-down. They wouldn’t take a nap, kept climbing out, I had a brand new infant to tend to, and I just lost it.
And that’s okay. (They were actually quite safe in there, and the whole episode only lasted about thirty minutes.) It’s taken a few years, but I now know that it’s okay to freak out. Probably, if you don’t freak out sometimes, you won’t survive. If I had to keep all of this stress inside myself, I would have already died of a heart attack. I do not buy the idea that there are calm little perfect housewives hiding out there somewhere in perfectly clean houses, with perfectly behaved children, who never freak out. It’s just not possible.
It’s okay to freak out. If you don’t, I’m afraid of what the pent up stress may do to you. Talking to friends and family about the stress of parenting is a fantastic release, as is physical exercise. Wine for mommy at the end of the day is essential if you ask me. The freaking out is going to happen though, so that’s what I do, I let it. Then I put on my big girl panties and go get the pool net, and scoop the dumb little snakes out of my pool.
And sometimes…the snake in the pool isn’t the annoying interruption I expect. Like the time that we had three of them in there at once and not one of those little buggers wanted to let me save their freaking lives. After chasing them around the pool like an idiot for about a half an hour I found that I was cracking up along with all three of my kids. We ended up being quite entertained by the annoying snakes in the pool.