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Parents

I Went To My Kids' First Swim Meet, And Here's What I Discovered

Caution: RANT AHEAD.

It’s only fair that I level with you now: this isn’t going to be pretty.

This parenting rant is directed toward all you parents who’ve told me for years that putting your kids in swim team is “so fun” and how “exciting” it is. Yes, YOU.

You lie. Evil, evil lies. So much lying, so little truth-telling. I have been deceived, but I am deceived no more ― I see the light of truth.

This is our first (and only) year in swim team. I only agreed to it because we found a team that doesn’t have practice until 10 a.m. each morning, because (let’s be honest) Mama is NOT leaving the house for 8 a.m. swim practice every day of summer break.

Not. Happening.

Practices have been fine. Enjoyable, even ― 45 minutes, some good exercise, and SCENE.

Swim meets? Swim meets are from the devil. THE DEVIL, I TELL YOU. 100+ kids and all of their “fun-ready” and “excited” parents crammed into a neighborhood swimming pool patio. So much sun. So much heat. So much sitting (IF you can find an empty square foot of patio space to wedge yourself and your camp chair into ― otherwise, you’re on your feet like a vertical sardine). So much waiting.

SO. LITTLE. SWIMMING. BY. YOUR. OWN. CHILDREN.

Listen, I’m a team player. I played competitive soccer for over a decade and I get cheering on your teammates even when you’re not in the game. I encourage that behavior in my own kids.

For the first two hours.

By hours three and four, though, even my attitude is in the dumps.

My kids had seven races to swim between them. There were 85 races total, some with multiple heats (see all of this swimming jargon I’m unhappily learning?). My son’s last race was #78. The meet started at 5:30 p.m. and at 8:45 p.m. we were only on race #59. #GiveMeAllTheAdultBeverages

My kids spent the evening eating second and third dinners (I fed them dinner at home before we left for the meet). My middle son ate three (THREE) cheeseburgers. My littlest ate two. They all three had a pack of Skittles. I SPENT $19 AT THE CONCESSION STAND JUST TO KEEP THEM FROM GOUGING THEIR EYES OUT WITH THE LARGE STICKS THEY KEPT LOCATING AND PLAYING SWORDS WITH ON THE CROWDED POOL DECK BECAUSE THEY WERE BORED OUT OF THEIR EVER-LOVING MINDS. If I keep this up, I’ll have spent as much on concessions by the end of the summer as I did on their entire swim team registration fee. Yes, I PAID MONEY for this “fun.” #ButForRealWhereAreTheAdultBeverages

We left early, before my son’s last race. Go ahead, criticize me all you want. Say we’re the worst, we’re not team players, blah-blah-blah-blah. I’m okay with it. We are kind of the worst — I get it. However, my kids were in bed before the sun came back up, and my husband and I were able to relax for 30 minutes at the end of our day, so I consider that #winning (even though my kids lost all but one of their races).

And... END RANT.

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