Over the weekend, TheDad and the Big Kids opened the backyard pool for the summer. It’s not warm enough to swim, but the Street Urchins who hang around with Little Brother have already been showing up at the door in their swimsuits, towels in hand. (I’m guessing they remember my ironclad rule from last summer: no towel, no swim.)
That’s not the only rule I’m going to have to enforce, however. This mom is really tired of people leaving stuff around for me to pick up. They’re all old enough to clean up after themselves. And if they won’t bother to get their friends to clean up, then they can clean up after their friends as well.
And then there’s the whole “availability” issue. When people are in the pool, I have to supervise. Even if they know how to swim. Even though I really don’t swim well at all. Having a pool brings a huge amount of responsibility with it. I’m not a fan of the Street Urchins’ tactic of “arrive home from school, change into swimsuit, and show up at my house.” So…my red light/green light sign has gone back on the front door.
This sign has been around since Little Brother and Adventure Boy were preschoolers. I took one of those foam door hanger things and drew 3 circles on each side. On one side, I colored in the top circle red. In the other 2 circles I wrote “Play Later.” Then on the flip side, I colored the bottom circle green and wrote “Friends Welcome.” Even pre-readers get the idea. (Little Brother is not authorized to change the sign without my permission.)
I don’t want to be unwelcoming, but neither do I want to be the entire neighborhood’s maid, lifeguard, and free babysitter. A few limits are a good thing.
3 thoughts on “The Kool-Aid Mom Lays Down the Law”
I remember doing this after Mary was born. It's a fabulous and very non-confrontational way to simply say, "We're not available." Right now, though, I wished we lived in a neighborhood with that many kids. Our friends down the street are moving soon, and things will be very quiet after that.
Oh and I'm sure they all get thirsty and hungry and want to be fed!! Your green light red light idea is the best! I'll have to tell my sister about that because she too has a pool that seems to mean, her front door has become a revolving door with kids coming and going all day!
I think that is a great way to set limits. I hope everyone respects it.