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How I stepped away from being a 'poolside mom'
Arianne Brown playing with her five younger children in the hotel swimming pool. - photo by Arianne Brown
As I stood shoulder-deep in the hotel swimming pool, surrounded by all six of my children many of them hanging on to me I felt tremendous regret.

Not for the moment I was experiencing, but rather for the many times before, when I avoided moments like these.

As a child, I loved swimming and took every chance I could to go to the public swimming pool. I remember swimming until my face was chapped from the highly chlorinated water and my blonde hair began to have hints of green.

Swimming was where I could let loose and be the silly me that I didn't feel I could be in other places like school and, oftentimes, home.

I remember seeing moms sitting poolside while dads would be playing in the water. I never quite understood why this was and swore that when I became a mom, I would be playing in the water with my children.

All that changed when I had my own children.

With each trip to the public swimming pool, I would find myself making excuses not to get in. The water is too cold, I would say. I would even use the excuse of germs, which didnt make sense, since I was happy to let my children and husband enter the water.

In reality, however, I sat there wishing I could play with my children. One thing held me back: my own insecurities.

Lets face it, even this self-proclaimed fit mom has been put through the ringer with six pregnancies, and the thought of being in a swimsuit in public was not one I relished. My worries about what others might think were keeping me from enjoying time with my children.

Recently, however, my family was put in a situation where we needed to stay in a hotel for a few days while in the process of a move. My husband had to go to work, leaving me to spend a couple of days in a hotel with my kids. And, with six pool-loving kids, sitting poolside was not an option.

As I entered the pool with my 18-month-old son in my arms, he splashed his little feet and giggled wildly. I knew at that point there was no backing out.

My older kids began having races from one end of the pool to the next, and begged me to join in. With my two youngest kids in tow, there was no way I could swim.

But I could run. We raced the width of the shallow end, doing our best to run in the water.

Before I knew it, all of the kids were hanging on me, and we were creating a whirlpool of epic proportions. Without me realizing it, my insecurities melted away, and all that mattered was the fun I was having with my children.

At that moment, I thought back to the younger me who promised to never be a poolside mom. I hope to keep that promise.