Weird Times at the Pool

I have something to confess, something I did today that I never thought I would do. It was strange and not like me at all, not like anything I ever would have predicted: I read a book — at the pool.

I know. I’m lightheaded at the thought.

I posted a picture on Instagram (I kind of cheated because I made a deal with myself that I could only get on Instagram after I’ve posted here each day) but I was at that delicious, gut-wrenching part of the book where you are a little too far from the end to finish it in this particular sitting but you are about to be done. And you need to get to the end to see how it all ties together (or how it doesn’t) and yet you aren’t ready to part with these characters and this world.

So I took a picture of that last half-inch of pages because readers everywhere can identify with the mixed feelings. I snapped a pic and posted those sentiments.

A few minutes later I got a few texts from friends admitting they saw my picture and had feelings on me being in that position. What a strange place to be — Rachel Balducci, reading at the pool.

Folks, I can’t believe it myself.

This summer has been a strange new place of relaxation and please, don’t walk away hating on me. Not that I want to boast about my life being un-relaxing — but don’t get the wrong impression. There is plenty of life and busy-ness but right now, when I’m at the pool, I’m in a position to sit back and read. And soak up a few calming breaths.

And it’s wonderful.

I do try to keep in all in balance. Isabel and Henry still want me to get in a play with them, and I do. I’m not ready to be a mom that comes to the pool merely to sit and watch. It’s fun to be a part of playing and splashing around.

But yes, it’s true — I also enjoy the part where I sit back and let them do their thing while I do mine. I think it’s important and healthy and honestly, it’s wise. We moms need to find our down-time and in this season of my life, I can get it at the pool. We don’t have nap time anymore, so here is where I will find my quiet.

And for all you momma’s out there who can’t believe you will ever be in this season, trust me when I say: you will. Just believe me. It’s true. For years I was the mom with so many little boys climbing on her it was almost foolhardy to go to the pool.

I remember a day when I was standing in the shallow holding baby Augie while watching Charlie in a float and one of the big boys (Elliott? Ethan?) jumped in to me without a warning yell and slammed his head into my face.

There I stood in the pool holding a baby in one arm with my other hand on a float and a small boy swimming back to the side of the pool (after happily jumping to his mother!). And I cried. I stood there and cried. I cried because my face hurt and because my life was overwhelming and because I had this recurring thought that “I will never be the kind of mother who can easily manage life outside her home with all her children.”

And just like that, here I am. I’m that lady, the one reading at the pool while her kids frolic with each other in the deep end.

It’s gonna be okay. You’re gonna make it. There is grace for this season, and there are so many good things to come. I say that to you. I say it also to myself. xo


  1. So, so good to be hearing from you again! I loved this post…my kids range from 13 to almost 2 so I’m always in a stage just a step or two behind you. I enjoy reading what’s coming – the good stuff and the tough stuff both. 🙂

  2. I enjoy your writing. Keep on keeping on. Thanks for these words of encouragement. Someday I too will read a book again — at the pool.

  3. I needed to read this today, so thank you. I have 4 boys (8, 6, 4, 18 months) and the pool is sooooooo hard this year. Harder than last year when the baby slept in his stroller for most of our visit. Hard enough that the oldest 2 boys have started keeping track of our “longest day at the pool” (currently at a whopping 87 minutes). The pool is such a beloved place, and so important for my 4 year old who is on the autism spectrum. But it tests all of this momma’ shortcomings. We are keeping at it, but your words help me to appreciate the time in the water with them (and to look out for the jumps ?) because I know they won’t always care if I’m in there with them. Thank you. And glad you’re writing 🙂

  4. I’m in that weird phase, too, though a bit farther along than you. I take (or send!) two teenagers to the pool. I have loads (way too much!) of time to myself during the day, because after you get a taste of a little relaxation at the pool, and not refereeing sibling squabbles all day, they’re suddenly gone. Just left with the two “babies” at home. I’m thrilled if the 4 adults come home for the weekend!

  5. But what are you reading ? Can we have the title ? It sounds like a book you would recommend.

  6. Thanks for writing this! I’m currently in the 4 boys 4 and under state of life, and even the thought of going to the pool makes me want to cry. There is just NO WAY I can do it alone. None of my boys know how to swim and, oh!, how *I* want to be the one to teach them! After calculating how much it would cost to get a pool membership + pay a babysitter to come with me to the pool every time we went I finally conceded that just paying for swim lessons was the way to go. Sometimes it’s hard to accept that this is just the stage of life I’m in. And that it’s ok if someone else is the one to teach my boys some things. Thanks for showing me the long view.

  7. Oh my- we were almost there! I have a 2 year old (in a couple days, he’ll be 2), and my next youngest is 9, then 12, 12, 14, 16, 18! I do remember the year I was pregnant, and maybe the year before that- and oh man, it was soooooo relaxing to go to the pool- everyone could swim, and they all had fun! So, we are back to a not so relaxing time, except that the older kids do a good job at helping with the little guy. So it’s definitely better than 10 years ago…..and I know it’s always changing, so I’m trying to enjoy it.

    Glad you are back writing! ?

  8. This piece spoke to me! I’m a mom of three boys, two laughed and one nearly so. My nest is down to a few stray feathers . . . but I’m truly happy to see them off and doing what they are supposed to do! Better than in my basement, right?

  9. Ha! I just said to someone, “I wonder when I will ever be able to read a book on the beach. That sounds nice.” It will be here before I know it. Love that you are writing again-love the sibling fighting hating each other post. It might take the space that going away to college allows, but I have been seeing a little improvement with two particular boys as they get older. Keep writing please!

  10. Glad you’re back. I was thinking it was over for the blog and I just don’t have it together enough yet to be much of a follower on Instagram.