My job is the best birth control ever. Every day I deal with children, and it’s not all fun and games. Sure, I try to make the kids smile, but I won’t hesitate to tell them to sit down and shut the hell up.

Ok, maybe not in those words.

What is it I do exactly? I work in a pool. More specifically, I am a swim coach for kids. That’s right, I spend my shifts in a cesspool of germs and boogers. I’m not exaggerating either. The other day I saw a huge chunk of snot just laying atop the water right where I had to do my lesson. I didn't get rid of it, though. Just pushed the water to make it float to someone else.

Ever since I started there it’s been sick central for me. I have not stopped sniffling and coughing since my first month there. I’ve had the flu as well, and you’d think management wouldn’t want you coming in sick and infecting all the babies and kids, but they’d rather us just suck it up and work sick than have to cancel classes if you can't find coverage.

Kids throw up in the pool all the time. It’s usually not because they are under the weather, though. It’s from incessant crying and freaking out. Or it’s from improper breath control while being submerged. We deal with a lot of tears, and a lot of throw up.

When a kid throws up in the pool it goes one of two ways. The first is that we celebrate getting reprieved of our lesson and we evacuate the pool so we can clean it out. The second is that they deem it safe to continue and just skim the stomach contents out of the pool. We go on with our classes, feeling disgusted inside at what we are swimming in.

But it’s not so bad. I get to teach valuable life skills! I help prevent kids from drowning! I’m basically a hero. It can feel rewarding to see a child progress, but overall the job is not glamorous. Kids don’t see me as a hero. They see me as the scary lady trying to make them go underwater. They scream in my ear as I try to comfort them, usually to no avail.

Some see me as a beacon of safety, on which to cling with an iron grip. When they don’t want to go in the water that is what they’ll do. They’ll hang onto me like a koala, with nails just as sharp that dig into my skin. I’ve left my job with pinch marks and bruises.

It’s not the only pain they've caused me. I like to joke that my job is just me getting abused by children. I’ve been whacked in the face, kicked in the crotch, scratched, pinched, jumped on, and head butted. I've also had kids scream in my face with ear-drum rupturing cries.

I’m not religious, but I’ll try my hand at prayer when it comes to this job. “Please let someone throw up real bad and let us get out of classes for an hour.” Or even more drastic, I’ll pray that one of the babies will get diarrhea in the pool and they’ll have to shut it all down for 24 hours. Sometimes I imagine getting a call that this has happened and that I don’t have to come into work. Better yet, if it happens on a Friday evening, I get out of that shift and the Saturday morning shift. You'd think I'd be concerned about not making money, but truth be told, I'm more concerned with my sanity.

It has only happened once while I was working a shift, and it was during my last class, so I didn’t get off the hook at all. The worst part was that it was during one of my baby and parent classes. Scratch that, the worst part was that management couldn’t tell if it was what they thought it was, so they made me stay in the pool and continue the lesson while they examined it. Finally, they made the call and we scurried out of that pool faster than beachgoers in shark infested waters.

Needless to say, I took a long shower afterward. Following that incident it was clear to me what a crappy job it was. Pun intended.

Why do I stay there, you might wonder? Well, Mama didn’t raise no quitter, except for when it comes to ice skating, violin, ballet and—nevermind.

Truth be told, it drives me crazy. But I do have bonds with my kids, and my coworkers. Plus, the pay is decent and there are good benefits, but let’s pretend it’s just the sentimental crap!


And now a quick joke...

I don’t like kids. That’s why I had low self-esteem as a child.