Community pools are a melting pot of families. You have all kinds: from the regulars who camp out every day with a buffet of snacks, to the ones who huddle in one corner of the pool and pretend no one else is swimming around them. 

While I am doubtful we can ever reach full pool zen potential in such a publicly shared space, I have a feeling that adding a few extra lines to the Pool Rules sign might start to shape things up! These are the five rules I wish were posted at the pool.

1. Maximum Yell Capacity: 3

There are times when you must, for safety purposes, yell at your child from across the pool to "stop running!" But if you have yelled at your child's so many times I now know their name, it's time to come up with Plan B. With this rule, you are granted a three-yell capacity. If you have yelled at your child three times, it is time to go home. Maybe they need a nap? Maybe you need a nap? Either way, the pool is clearly not working for you today and you should try again tomorrow. Your only option to stay is to have a one-on-one conversation with your child, in lieu of yelling across the pool. 

2. No Passive Aggressive Toy Comments

This may come as a huge shock, but most pool toys look alike. Exactly alike. All us parents went to Target and bought the same dive sticks, pool balls, and water guns. So when my child picks up your child's ball and tosses it to his brother, there is no need to make passive-aggressive comments and stake claim to that ball. Here is a helpful list of appropriate and inappropriate responses when another child uses your child's toy that looks exactly the same.

Appropriate (said directly to child who took toy, or parent of said child):

  • "Excuse me, sweet child, would you mind handing that ball to me? It belongs to my son. Thank you."
  • "Hi there! We brought that ball to the pool but we are happy to take turns with you if you don't have an toys here today."
  • "Hello! Would you mind asking your child for that ball? My son brought it and really wants to play with it. Thanks!"

Inappropriate (said loudly to your own child or an imaginary person):

  • "I know that's our ball, sweety. I know we brought it. Well, he just took it. I don't know why - he just took it."
  • "Well, we came with five dive sticks and now we only have three. Other people were using them while we had a snack. I guess they took them for themselves. Now we have to buy new ones. Some kids don't know any better, they just don't have the manners our famliy does. I guess that's what you get at big pools."

3. Wet Happens. Deal With It.

Please do not act shocked when you get wet in or near a pool. I understand that no one over the age of 12 wants to be sprayed in the face with water, but when you are sitting on the side of the pool dangling your feet in the water, a random splash or water droplet may come your way. Do not make a scene. Do not act offended. Just dab yourself with your towel and move on. 

4. No Creepers Allowed

See that fully clothed man sitting in a corner chair peeking over the top of his newspaper? He is not here to swim. He is a creeper and needs to leave immediately, no exceptions. 

5. Don't Dump and Run

If your child takes a dump in or around the pool area . . . you are responsible for that crap! Literally. I am sure that is embarrassing for you and your child, but it is not cool to leave your fellow pool goers with a hot and steamy. If you need to run home to get some cleaning supplies, that's cool. Just let people know you will be back to clean up. We understand.

I believe these rules may change the family pool experience for the better. Next time you and yours go to take a dip in the community pool, bring your giant permanent marker and hook your Pool Rules sign up with some fresh directions. Everyone will thank you!