Why you shouldn’t mess with a mama’s me-time.

Why you shouldn’t mess with a mama’s me-time.

gogglesFor about a year, I have been dreaming about visiting my local pool ALL BY MYSELF. Doing 20 uninterrupted laps, chillaxing in the sauna and finishing with a blissful 30 minutes in the spa.

I haven’t enjoyed this very simple act of parental self-preservation because me-time when you have a baby is either non-existent or a military operation to pull off.

But on Sunday afternoon, I was pretty much at sleep deprivation rock bottom and decided it was either the funny farm or the pool. I told Mr Chick he was in charge and not to call me because my phone would be in a locker. I would be underwater and in the spa and UNREACHABLE. I then skipped out of the door screeching like a woman released from a 20-year hard labour prison sentence. (As if. The baby was sleeping.)

I got to the pool and commandeered the slow lane because there was no one in it. I swam fast. I swam slow. I took my time cleaning my goggles at the end of every length. I stretched and floated and kicked my legs with joy. I then went over to the sauna, whereupon I embraced the heat, meditated, sweated out toxins and basically thought about nothing but my pores for a good 20 minutes. It was the best sauna I had ever had.

But the pool and the sauna were just the opening acts. The spa finale was yet to come. I’d left it until last, and when I got there, there was NO ONE in it! The JOY of an empty jacuzzi. I sunk in, let the bubbles elevate me to a horizontal state, closed my eyes and blissed out. Then a little voice yanked me from my reverie.

“Excuse me, miss?”

I lifted my head to see a young pool attendant standing in the water in front of me. “I’m sorry, but you have to get out of the spa right now,” he said, pleasantly. “This whole spa area has been booked for a kid’s party.”

WTF. No one books a spa for a kid’s party. Was he joking? How was this possible? This was the piece de resistance of my whole trip to the pool. I had been looking forward to this spa time for months. No one, including a snot-nosed punk in a blue polo shirt was going to evict me from my happy place without a fight.

“Hmmm, there must be some mistake,” I said. “I have paid to use the spa, and in fact, the entire facilities here. I had to mortgage my house to come here, hahaha.” It was a useless bid to buy myself some time. Those bubbles on my aching back were heavenly.

“Of course, I don’t want to turf you out, miss, but it’s my job to inform you that this area has been pre-booked and you will have to leave the spa,” he said, slightly panicky now. I think he realised he had messed with the wrong mama.

“Well, I will be taking this ridiculousness up with the manager,” I said, my voice rising. I really had to get out. They weren’t joking. I WAS BEING EVICTED FROM MY BELOVED SPA.

I contemplated throwing a massive tanty or just saying, ‘No, sorry, I’m not getting out’ and seeing what happened. But just then a heap of kids with floaties got in and splashed me in the face and that pretty much sealed the deal. As I got out, a man watching them off to the right gave me an embarrassed half smile. I figured he was the douchebag who decided it was AOK to book the spa of his local pool for his 3-year-old’s birthday party. I gave him a murderous look and flounced off to the front desk.

“I would like to speak to the manager,” I said to the woman on duty, tapping my foot and trying to look important (as important as one can look with bedraggled hair and a towel around her waist). Within minutes, another young whippersnapper appeared in a different-coloured polo shirt. (I can’t believe I just wrote ‘whippersnapper’. I really am well into my 40’s.)

“Hello, Luke,” I said, taking account of his name badge. “I’m Rachel. I have an issue. I paid what I consider a substantial amount of money to use all your facilities, including and perhaps most importantly THE SPA, and I was just turfed out of it by one of your pool attendants as apparently a child’s party has pre-booked the entire spa area.”

Luke looked suitably aghast. “That shouldn’t have happened,” he said. “We book half the spa area, but not the main spa area. That’s always free for everyone to use.”

“Well, not today, apparently, and as you can see, it is now full of little munchkins wearing floaties!” I said, pointing through the glass door to the kid-packed hellhole my happy place had become. “Now, I love kids normally and on any given day I wouldn’t give a rat’s ass about getting in the spa or not, but to explain – I have a baby. A one-year-old, who is a lovely baby, but I AM ALWAYS WITH HIM, LUKE. I am never ON MY OWN. This is my first time swimming in months and I planned to spend most of my trip here IN YOUR SPA. Because I am awake at 5am every morning and I am SHATTERED down to my bones and I needed at least half an hour in that spa to soothe my tired muscles and make me feel okay about facing another week of zero me-time and 5am wake-up calls. I did not get that. I got 30 seconds in the spa, Luke. 30 seconds.”

He was smarter than the other guy. He realised immediately I was a mama on the edge (ie, bonkers) and needed to be treated accordingly. “I completely understand, Rachel,” he said soothingly. “It’s a very big deal getting out of the house on your own when you have a baby. I’m very sorry your trip to our pool has not been what you hoped, and I would like to refund the exorbitant fee we made you pay to make up for it, if that’s okay with you.”

Okay, he didn’t exactly say ‘exorbitant’, but I could tell he agreed with me that the fees are bullshit.

The upshot being, I left $14 richer and got a free swim.

I may even go back, but I sure as hell will be calling ahead first to find out if the spa is booked for a bloody kid’s party.

Have you got the me-time thing sussed? If so, please share your tactics in the comments. Clearly I need help.

Linking up with #IBOT to Essentially Jess.

Journalist. New mama. Mr Chick's missus. Blogger at The Mama Files, Reality Chick, Letter To My Ex and Rachel's List. Author of sex advice book, Get Lucky. Writer for Good Health, CLEO, Woman's Day, Inside Out, NineMSN and many more. Current fantasy: adding a rooftop hot-tub to the house.


  1. Kelly 9 years ago

    What tha??!! Who the hell books a spa for their young kids? Dickheads, that’s who. I can’t believe you had to get out of the spa for them. Lucky you got your money back, but still, the spa!!!

    • Author

      I know. Appalling state of affairs. Well, that and the fact they don’t serve you champagne. Public pools are SO behind the eight-ball.

  2. Ha! Who does that?! Was there not a child’s pool?! Glad you got your money back! I love my me-time too, thankfully work affords me plenty of it 🙂

    • Author

      You’re lucky! I work from home which I used to think was a perk. Not so much anymore ha 🙂

  3. oh you poor thing!!!! I totally understand!!! I have a one year old and literally NEVER get any time to myself, but if I did, I would be totally devastated if it was overrun by kids. Hopefully your next attempt at me-time goes better!

    • Author

      This is it, Lu – I LOVE kids, but the one time I get a smidgen of time to myself I don’t want anyone else’s screechy rugrats within a 5-metre radius of my person. And to be turfed out of a SPA because of them… well, pretty sucky. I live in hope for the next me-time episode. Which will probably be in 2016!

  4. It would never even occur to me to book a spa for a kids party! Glad you gave Luke a talking too.

    • Author
      Rachel 9 years ago

      Some parents are weird. I think that dad who gave me the embarrassed look probably realised it was a bit of a dick move…

  5. Mumma McD 9 years ago

    Poor Luke! Although he seemed to handle the situation with aplomb, that’s excellent customer service training he’s had!! Hope you get to go back soon to finish your spa. My me time is at the gym – kids in the creche, 45 min work out and 45 min shower!! Not really, 10 min shower and a sneaky solo coffee 😉

    • Author
      Rachel 9 years ago

      Luke was the bomb. Especially considering he was about 12 and too young to have kids himself!

      I’m so jealous re your gym visits. Would you believe, just as I’m getting close to being ready to putting Charlie in the creche at the gym, they decide to DITCH the creche at the gym altogether!? I am basically destined to do online exercise videos for the next five years or so. It’s ridiculous even PAYING for a gym membership when I go about once a month 🙂

  6. Esther 9 years ago

    Go Rach! Pre-baby I had just about memorised the gym timetable with the best intentions to put the baby in the crèche while I worked out. I hadn’t factored in that working out actually requires work and motivation … And a whole lot of planning just to get out of the house.

    • Author
      Rachel 9 years ago

      And here I was always feeling envious because you seemed to get to the gym and to yoga so much more effortlessly than I did! 🙂

  7. EssentiallyJess 9 years ago

    Oh you are braver than me! I’m surprised though that the spa is able to be booked out for a party. I would have thought a kids pool would be more appropriate.

    • Author

      The trouble is, at this particular pool the kids bit and the spa bit are part of one large area, so that’s why I think 🙂 Thanks for popping over Jess. I’m loving your iBot link-ups xo

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