Laptops on the Pool Deck

I had no idea it was this hard to learn how to swim.

My memories of this stage of life are fuzzy. I have one specific memory of jumping into the “deep end” and my swim teacher being so proud of me when I touched the bottom and came back up. That’s it. From there I was more or less a fish and still approach swimming with a childlike joy I didn’t expect in my late 30s.

So the fact that my four-and-a-half-year-old still needs a flotation device to feel or be safe in the water came as a surprise. I heard from other moms that participating in a “competitive” environment like Guppies (the little tike version of Swim Team) can help build confidence and the skills to finally nail down the concept.

I signed us up having no clue how many days a week the classes would be but knowing it would probably be towards the end of the work day, so it would be totally doable.

But then.

Too many kids signed up and for safety reasons the class was moved to 10:00 a.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday for six weeks.

My heart sank.

Even as a remote worker with a more flexible schedule than most, this was more than I could handle. I have recurring meetings during that time. 10:00 is the best time to meet, after all!

I felt like I was sacrificing my son learning how to swim for my career. Obviously it wasn’t that dramatic and with a bit of creativity and willing grandparents, we are figuring out how to make it work. He is there right now as I write this, and I get to be at my desk doing what I do best and what I feel called to do.

The swim sessions I have been to thus far have a stark contrast of parents/guardians on the pool deck. The stay-at-home moms are in swimsuits, herding around other children with sunscreen and snacks. Then there is a collection of moms smartly dressed or in their work-from-home casual seeking out shady spots where they can still see their laptop screen.

I have seen two dads. Two. One I know works odd medical hours and the other was a local priest on a staycation.

I am used to toting my laptop everywhere–I will sit in a parking lot and hop on my hot spot to find spots of time to write, edit, or send emails and maximize odd gaps in time. It is a way of life for me so I didn’t really notice the laptop pool moms until my husband took my son to swim class once and reported back his astonishment.

“Something is wrong with this picture,” he said. “Have you seen the moms on their laptops and phones on the pool deck and almost zero dads?” Frankly, I was so proud of him for noticing and recognizing the disparity that I almost forgot to be dismayed by the scene. (And also, I am pretty used to it by now).

In 2024, the caregiving and raising of children (including vital skills like learning to swim) falls HEAVILY on the moms—the moms who are still expected or required to continue crushing it at work while raising their young.

We have to do it all and be it ALL OF THE TIME!

I am not writing this to gripe and moan. After all, we created a scenario at TealHaus where we are beautifully blending our motherhood and professional roles. I am mostly at peace with the symphony of schedule arranging I conduct daily to juggle my responsibilities.

But we have a unique model. We had to intentionally create it, and I am well aware of the differences my fellow moms face in other environments.

The problem is our societal structure–it is broken and does not support working families the way we really need it to. There is not enough reliable or affordable childcare. The work week is not conducive to managing the needs of raising children. Employers unintentionally or intentionally penalize women who have to take leaves for birthing children and cover the required needs associated with illness and ongoing “just life” care.

Schools are out for summer and working parents must scramble to find childcare at a minimum, but the enrichment/joy/fun/excitement they desire for their children is sometimes an inaccessible holy grail.

And if a child has a long-term illness or special needs, a parent will often have to leave the workforce entirely to manage the associated appointments, therapies, and care necessary.

Plus, if a dad was to break the norms and take on some of these duties, in all likelihood he would not be in a work situation that was conducive to that either. How often do parents of the mom or dad variety have to use PTO to cover sicknesses for their children?

We could go on and on with examples. They are endless.

I am not naive enough to think this is something that me–or a group of people like me–can solve in my lifetime.

But we are working on some ideas to start making a small dent in what change could look like in our community in Greenville.

This is just a teaser for part of what Lindsay is away working on during her sabbatical this month…but let’s just say at TealHaus we are fired up and ready to do something.

The rest is, as they say, yet to come.

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Laptops on the Pool Deck

I had no idea it was this hard to learn how to swim.

My memories of this stage of life are fuzzy. I have one specific memory of jumping into the “deep end” and my swim teacher being so proud of me when I touched the bottom and came back up. That’s it. From there I was more or less a fish and still approach swimming with a childlike joy I didn’t expect in my late 30s.