Every Sunday morning, we take our kids to swimming lessons. Our three-year-old’s lesson is first, and we are almost always rushing in at the last minute. I typically burst through the door that leads to the pool deck carrying my unshowered (“too cold, mommy!!”), messy-haired daughter sporting a bathing suit one size too small. I plop her down at the side of the pool and walk as quickly as the wet floor and flip-flops will allow, back to the locker room before she can follow me. We sit for the next 25 minutes in the viewing area and watch a surprisingly happy K as she practices her flutter kicks, before it is our son’s turn to get dressed for his lesson.
In the moments that we have between watching both kids swim, struggling to get them dressed, and waving to them from behind the plexiglass, I get the chance to check out the other parents.
Most of them look like us…somewhat sloppily dressed, overtired, preoccupied with their mobile devices, while periodically commenting that “he’s getting better at his back stroke!” or shouting, “c’mon honey, you can do it, just jump in!!”
But there are a few parents that stick out. I like to call them the Shiny People.
The Shiny People show up right on time. Their kids are wearing perfectly-sized swimsuits. They carry their towels in brand new Lululemon duffels that perfectly match their coats. The Shiny women have gorgeous, thin bodies, and the Shiny men have perfectly-coiffed hair. The couples nuzzle each other and breezily chat while beaming at their beautiful offspring. They look like they just stepped out of J Crew catalogue page 17 entitled “A Sunday with the Family”.
I absolutely hate them.
When the Shiny’s are around, I begin to second guess myself. How is it possible for parents like that to look so put together, get along so well with their spouses, and seem to operate completely stress-free, while I am in the corner wearing oversized jeans and yesterday`s sweater, growling at my husband?
I have always assumed that behind the perfect exterior, every parent/couple is hiding some issues. But what if that isn’t true? What if the Shiny People know something I don’t? What if they ARE better parents, have better relationships, better lives? How does that happen?! And why do they bother me so much??
Maybe it is because I know I will never, ever be like them. I don’t have the money (or the desire, or the body) to dress like them. My husband isn’t the “modern-babywearing-latte-drinking-collared-shirt-on-weekends” sort of man. Our kids our noncompliant at best. And I am a stressed out bitch on Sunday mornings (and most other family outings).
So, I implore all of you Shiny People out there, please stop looking so damn perfect all the time, and let me in on some of the imperfections that you have hiding behind your Ray-Bans. And for the love of god, tone down the cologne. There is no one to impress at the public pool on a Sunday morning. No one.