Swimming in Gold

It’s March.  Almost the end of March.

Today is the first day of spring break and I’m already freaking out about the summer.


Because all the community pools are rushing me with their “Early Bird Specials”

And by early bird “special” , I mean $500 for a summer pool pass for the family.

And no, the Rockefellers do not own the pool.  And no, it’s not filled with liquid gold for us to swim in.

And that’s a more reasonable option.  There are a few local community pools that you have to pay into a bond first (upwards of $1,500) and THEN you STILL have to pay a yearly fee.

They don’t accept arms OR unshaven legs as payment either.

Last year I went to a different towns community pool.  It was more of a waterpark style and the kids had a blast.  It’s $400, but farther to drive and they don’t allow you to bring food in at all.  They actually checked my bag last year and confiscated my sandwich.  But they didn’t unroll the towels where I was hiding the chips.  So there’s that.

So here I am, in March, trying to figure out what we’re going to do this summer.

While also looking at all the local free corners available for working.  Ahem.

And don’t even get me started on any camps I might think the kids might enjoy.

That’s another $300 EACH for a one week, few hours a day, camp each.

Seriously, people.

And now is where you might comment “You know it doesn’t take a lot of money to have fun with your kids, there are plenty of things you can do for free”

Yeah, yeah.  I know that.

But you know what?  I’m a stay at home mom.

That’s 24/7/366 (Thanks leap year, jerk)

I NEED for my children to do SOMETHING at least part of the summer.

It’s for me people.  And my sanity.  And is that a free street corner I see right there…….



So what are you doing with your kids this summer?

How do you plan to survive reasonably?

Who has nothing going on and offering to come play with my kids at the pool?






20 thoughts on “Swimming in Gold

  1. I feel your pain. I always struggled during the summer with the kids. We live in the land of thousands upon thousands of lakes so swimming is never an issue (if you don't mind a lake). Parks, picnics, biking, SIip N Slide (I recommend kids only or you may wind up with a broken hip), water toys, sprinklers…is there open swim at some of the local high schools or middle schools? That was always fun for my kids, too. Another thing we did was selected a different park to go to once a week or so. Just a new playground for them can be kind of fun (and free). Bring snacks…
    My recent post The Joys of Team Fundraisers

  2. Thanks Baby Jesus we live 5 minutes from Lake Michigan and our license plate tabs now have a State Park Pass on them so I can go to the beach whenever I want. Yay Pure Michigan.

    But Granny also has a pool.

    And my SIL has a "mini beach" in her subdivision.

    Those are the "free options".

    Don't hate. Just come visit. I'll take you all to these free fun spots.
    My recent post i did not plan it this way

  3. I'm in a similar place. Though the beach is kinda sorta free-ish and we'll use it on the weekends, we're enrolling our eldest in a 6 week summer camp at her preschool. It's partially to get her used to that location, to give her something to do, AND to give me some time "alone" with her new baby sister.
    My recent post Emma’s Birth Story – part 3 birth

  4. I am anxiously awaiting the summer activities catalogs for my kids. If we don’t have somewhere to be at least 2 days a week, we all get a little crazy. And by little, I mean totally nuts. And by we, I really mean me. I am prepared to donate blood and/or plasma to find our summertime fun.

  5. I am serious when I say that you can come to our house to swim at our clubhouse pool anytime you'd like. It's a dollar a person for guests. ONE BUCK. And, BONUS: you get to see me in a swim suit. Winners all around.
    My recent post Love, love, love…

  6. Have you checked out the Local Y? Membership is adjustable according to household income and it gives you access to all kinds of activities in addition to the pool. A huge plus is that they often have pool access in the winter too (either an indoor pool or a bubbled pool).

  7. Our pool tags are $5 per person but we pay $375 to the HOA so thats kinda like a $395 pool tag unless you dont buy the pool tag and then its $375 to mow the grass, not MY grass, just the common grass. Everyone lives at the pool in the summer here too. Many ppl build pools in their backyards to avoid the crowds.

  8. This was an issue we faced when we moved to a new town 4 years ago. The park district here has an awesome pool with a waterpark but that is only for 3 months, with wonky hours once school starts back up and what am I suppose to do if the summer weather doesn't cooperate with my desire to be in sunshine and warmth? I'm out $500 regardless. We also wanted to join a gym, looked into the park district one and added up all the expenses (pool plus gym) and almost had a heart attack.
    So we ended up joining a gym that is 24 hours, with an indoor pool w/ slides and an outdoor pool that runs better hours and is only missing a lazy river, really. Plus to this, in the dead of winter when I'm ready to throttle my kids because we are all stuck inside, – I can take them to the pool if I want. It ended up being cheaper than the park district pool and gym memberships.
    Or, make that PVC contraption…

  9. Hey, the park district camps aren't too hideously expensive. We're enrolling Annie in one again this year. She LOVED it last year. I can send you the link if you like.

    • You're right. The park district ones aren't too bad. We've done a chess one in the past. I'll look for sure and there are lots of street corners available at their downtown location.

  10. I don't have kids, but when I was younger I swear my mom used to leave us in the fenced in back yard with a swing set and lock the door for a few hours each day. We had a blast making up games and she was probably in there sipping margaritas.
    My recent post Ignorance Games.

    • Your mom is wise. I may be doing the same. Though we don't have a fence. But I probably won't notice after the 3rd margarita anyways.

  11. When you say community pool, do you mean park district? Our whole family can join for under $200. You should buy the house across the street from me and rehab it into something as fabulous as mine. ;-)

    If your kids, like mine, are more into science camp than sports/hike in the woods/build a campfire camp, then I feel your pain. Geek camps are especially pricey.
    My recent post You Want a Sneak Peek at My Kitchen?

    • We don't have a park district pool. We DO have the park district "Beach" in the downtown area but it's sandy, and crowded, and you have to deal with parking, and never feels clean to me. It IS reasonable but I'm not sure it's worth those other headaches.

    • There's none of that. It's seriously a square pool with 2 diving boards. If I go to a different town, I can do $400 and that's to a waterpark. But then they don't let you bring in food, and they DO check your bag on the way in. I *may* have got caught trying to bring in a sandwich last year.

  12. You need to start a babysitting co-op in your neighborhood. Everyone gets 5 tickets per kid to start with, 1 ticket = an hour. You trade babysitting and "pay" with tickets. I did this when my boys were little and it was FANTASTIC. (and yes, that means you have to babysit other kids.)

    Also, you should build one of your PVC contraptions to make a waterpark for your backyard.

    I know, I'm no help. Sorry.
    My recent post WWTBD

    • Not a bad idea, but around our neck of the woods it seems like everyone is at their gold plated pools over the summer. Really, it's like a ghost town around here. Or they're in Paris. Probably eating croissants or something. ::Grabs a bag of Cheetos::

  13. That's insane! I can't even imagine. We have a dreaded HOA, and for the low cost of $450 a year, we have about 9 months of access to a perfectly nice pool (as well as a park and some landscaping related things). I realize HOAs are the devil in so many ways, but I would hate to have to pay a summer pool membership like that. And I totally hear you on getting the kids out for a little bit this summer. When I realized that school would be ending in a few short months, I may have had a small panic attack. Maybe.

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