Mom Wants to Know If She's Obligated to Supervise Her Neighbors' Kids at the Pool
In a viral Reddit post, the frustrated mom says she didn't sign up to be a lifeguard at her condo complex's pool.
May 27, 2019
With summertime comes the opportunity for kids to enjoy pool days and for parents to be on higher alert for their L.O.'s safety near and in the water. But for one mom, the warmer days have meant watching after her own child, as well as her neighbors' kids at the condo complex pool. The mom recently took to Parenting subreddit, writing under the handle shamewhore, to explain the situation, asking if her fellow Redditors think she needs to step in as an unofficial lifeguard.
"I have one child and our condo building has a shared pool," she wrote on Thursday, May 23. "When we go swimming, other kids flock to the pool which is not a problem at all. The problem is, when we get out, I’m ready to go...but I feel like I have assumed responsibility at that point and can’t leave kids swimming alone. Their parents are at work or don’t even live here, because the kids invite their friends from the neighborhood. Or the parent will tell me their kids are fine to swim unsupervised and have permission to swim alone. Wel,l I can tell you based on the behaviors I see, they are not fine to swim alone. Some of the kids tell me they have permission to swim as long as an adult is watching. Well I’m here, but I didn’t sign up for being a lifeguard all summer."
She elaborated that she feels like the parents who work "think I’m literally sitting here all day happy to watch kids swim, since mine swims too, but we swim for maybe 30 minutes not all day, and we have other things to go do. I’m sure if I tell the parents they would say I’m not obligated to watch them but honestly I can’t relax knowing these kids are in the pool alone. Today, I had to stop one from dragging the other to the bottom of the pool when he was already out of air. The kid came up choking and crying. If I had not stopped the kid, who knows how much longer he would have held the other under."
The beleaguered mom noted that the kids are 9-13 and asked the social media community, "What should I do? I don't want to be held captive at the pool all summer."
A Redditor named WarlockTx's advice that has since gotten the most upvotes in the thread: "This seems like something to bring up with the condo board or mgmt." Nervous-Nellie agreed: "I would also make sure the condo association does something about notifying families about age restrictions. Notify them and post signs for a specific age unless with a parental guardian. If the kids still try to use [original poster] as the guardian at the time it’s easy to just point at the sign or say 'ok we’re all done in 5-10 minutes,' and then everyone gets out. I definitely would not babysit a bunch of kids at a pool for extended periods of time. It’s exhausting—that’s why lifeguards are paid."
A commenter named akb828416 agreed, "I second board management, I would be shocked if there wasn’t a strict rule about adult supervision for minors, as in their own adults it absolutely isn’t your responsibility. If you go to the parents directly and tell them and they dismiss you of the burden of watching by saying the kids will be fine you undoubtedly would be worried still. If the board comes at them and threatens possible fines, they might do something about it."
MrSnowflake2 shared that he had a similar experience: "We live in a condo building that has a shared pool as well. Our building has posted rules stating no child under 12 can be unattended....obviously some people ignore that rule. Our approach is we will keep half an eye on everyone else while we are down there, but when my kids are ready to get out, we leave. Unless I am specifically asked to watch your kid, I am not going to spend all hours of my day being an unpaid (and unqualified) lifeguard. I know how cold and clinical that sounds. But at the end of the day you can't be everywhere at once."
Carlinha1289 suggested the original poster reach out to her neighbors, as well. "I'd let the parents know what time you'll be there at and mention the incident. I understand you in the sense that I'd feel obligated to watch the children too but you can't just sit there and watch them all day..."
All in all, Redditors empathized with the mom's position and encouraged her to take a stand. Here's hoping she's able to get to the bottom of this headache-inducing situation ASAP, so she can get on with her summer sans anxiety about these unsupervised swimmers.