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Penalised for being a single parent with a boy!!!!

112 replies

Zeezee25 · 24/06/2013 11:24

Firstly I would like to say ?hello? to everyone, even though I have comes to mumsnet to get info I didn?t signup sadly. Just to warn you this will be long!
Today I am faced with a situation and would welcome any advice or criticism, if I am wrong please tell me and help me understand.
A little background, I am a single mum who is 25yrs old with a 5yr old boy. I?ve currently finished my penultimate year of uni and work part-time. My son is your average little boy who goes to school and is a member of a swimming and football club.
Recently I have noticed that his swimming has improved but may need a little more help to improve his technique, adding to him also asking why I never get in the pool with him (im just so busy), I decided I would take him to my local pool once a week with me.
I get there and I first ask if there is women swimming times and I am told ?yes?. The times are perfect, 3days a week. I thank her and say my son will be so happy, and then it all changed from friendly to becoming defensive. The lady replies with ?oh sorry it?s only for women and girls?. I say ?ok, when can I bring my son? which she replies with ?only in public times?. The conversation went back and forth with me explaining I don?t take him in public for religious reasons also I am just not that confident in swimwear to be swimming with men around. She then suggests I ask a male family or friend to take him, this annoys me as he does go swimming but not with me which was the whole point of me coming. She further explains that women have complained that they don?t want little boys around, even little boys as young as 2yrs of age (I decided to ask what boy age was appropriate).
I was informed the pool programme is: 1 day ? women only no children, 2 days ? women and girls.
What I am annoyed/angry about is that 3 times a week these women can go swimming and I am told too bad. Why is there two days for women and girls and not one day each for girls and boys (even add little girls to the boys day I don?t really care). I felt extremely penalised for being a single parent, even more penalised for having a son and not a daughter. I also feel kids (babies in my eyes) are being made to be what they are not. Kids don?t care who is in the pool or what you wear or how you look. My son will swim with me and not care about anyone else. Am I wrong they change one day so little boys can swim with their mothers? I know I can?t be the only single parent in the community with a son, our needs are completely ignored.
Anyway it ended with me being told I cannot bring my son and to come public times or just not take him. I feel really sad now as I am faced with not taking him because I can?t bring myself t wear a swimsuit with men in the pool. Most of all I feel guilty for letting my insecurity hold my son back from improving his swimming. What advice would you give me? Have you had situations like this? If I am just complaining for no real reason please help me understand. Thank you so much for reading my very long rant.
Zeinab Smile

OP posts:

EleanorHandbasket · 24/06/2013 11:27

YOu're not being penalised for being a single parent.

You have choices. You either swim without him or swim in the public times. Or go to a different pool.

Sorry to be harsh but the rules are there (tehy are stupid rules in my opinion) and you have to follow them.


IneedAsockamnesty · 24/06/2013 11:27

So you want to attend a female only swimming session but feel your son should be exempt from having to be female to attend?


hobnobsaremyfavourite · 24/06/2013 11:28



primallass · 24/06/2013 11:29

No I would kick up a fuss to be honest. It should be women and children for at least one of those sessions, to keep everyone happy.


mixedmamameansbusiness · 24/06/2013 11:29

That's ridiculous. I think the cut off should be around 7. I have just started taking DS1 to the family changing room.

Write to the manager.


EleanorHandbasket · 24/06/2013 11:31

TBH I think if they are going to run women only sessions then they should be women and CHILDREN not women and girls, 5yo boys shoudl not be counted as men, it's ridiculous.

But they are the pool's rules.


mixedmamameansbusiness · 24/06/2013 11:31

Or at least pre school children should be allowed, particularly when there are three sessions available.


jellybeans · 24/06/2013 11:31

That's pathetic. YANBU. It should be both boy and girl children allowed or none. Ridiculous!


Fakebook · 24/06/2013 11:32

I don't think YABU, a five year old child is still a baby and not interested in women's bodies! It's ridiculous that the women would complain too.

But, they won't change their rules for one person. Maybe you could get a few friends together so they all can ask for a womens and children day too?


MrsMelons · 24/06/2013 11:32

Most of the sessions I know would be for under 5's and they are usually parent and toddler, not just women. There are a few women only sessions but no children allowed.

If the cut off for boys was 7 for the womens only sessions then presumably you would have to do something different for him from 8 anyway when he is still too young to go swimming alone.

I can understand your frustrations but I do think you are BU.


StuntGirl · 24/06/2013 11:32

Weirdly you're all singing from the same hymn sheet here, their intolerance just extends all the way to young males.


MrsMelons · 24/06/2013 11:33

I do agree that 5 YO boys should be able to go though, I am just not sure how you would get round it later on.


CloudsAndTrees · 24/06/2013 11:33

You are not being penalised for being a single parent to a boy, although I do agree that there should be women and children sessions rather than women only.

If you are being discriminated against at the moment, then men are being discriminated against far more so.

It is your choice to avoid public swimming sessions, so it's not the pool that is making swimming unavailable to you. You are doing that yourself by your own choices.


shewhowines · 24/06/2013 11:34

Sorry, but I think YABVU too.

He is 5 now. At what age will YOU decide he is too old to go with you and other women? 6? 7? 15? What is the cut off age?

You think 5 is ok, other women clearly don't.

Personally I think you are bonkers for worrying about the men, however I can see why culturally that may be difficult for you, but you can't have it all your own way.


Zeezee25 · 24/06/2013 11:37

no, i am asking them to have 1day for mothers like me who want to swim with their young sons and no have to be around adult men. for religious reasons i cant swim with me and because i have a boy i cant take him to women only fair enough but there should be a time when all kids(siblings) can share the pool. just one day.
this is the only pool that has a time that men dont use.

OP posts:

ChunkyPickle · 24/06/2013 11:37

I don't think you're being unreasonable to expect that young children should be allowed in the pool whichever sex

But I don't know where that line would be drawn - many places pick 9ish, but I've seen people complaining about 9 year old boys staring at them/their daughters so I could understand younger, and preschool would seem a practical cutoff (2 feels too young)

Could you not wear a more modest swimming costume and go at the public times? Or perhaps family times (dads will be there, but like you they'll be concentrating on their children)?


quoteunquote · 24/06/2013 11:39

I don't understand, you don't want to go swimming with males, but you want to go swimming with your son?

It is confusing,

You could book him some individual lessons, or find a local swimming club where he can train, our local swimming club start them at five twice a week, fun training.

find other women in the same position hire a pool for an hour, local small pools hire for about £75 to 100 an hour, so put up a notice and see if there are others who want to join in, but you may find it hard to find ones with only girls.

I surf with some Muslim women only one wants to cover up, so would the sea and wetsuits be an option?

you can buy cover up swim suits,

or stop worrying about it, and go swimming, your son's ability in the water should outweigh other stuff.


LoveWine · 24/06/2013 11:40

I think establishments should not be made to accommodate every person's wishes or it may become ridiculous. What if I am not confident enough to swim with other people and want the pool to myself for an hour twice a week?


JacqueslePeacock · 24/06/2013 11:43

YANBU, that is a stupid system.

But can you find a more covering swimsuit and go to the public swim? A burqini? It would be a shame to miss out on swimming with your little boy.


OddSockMonster · 24/06/2013 11:43

May I ask, given that you don't feel comfortable swimming with adult men for cultural / religious reasons, is there an age at which you / others sharing your religion would not want to swim with male children?

It's obviously something that's bothering you quite alot (and you have my sympathy). I'd suggest if it's a council run pool, have a chat with your local council / councillors.


Zeezee25 · 24/06/2013 11:43

sorry my last comment was late.
i see where your all coming from the cut of age would be difficult to decide on. even though i still feel there should be one day for children both boy and girls. i guess ima have to go modest swim-suit shopping. :)

OP posts:

LessMissAbs · 24/06/2013 11:44

'My son will swim with me and not care about anyone else'

So it is you who us fabricating a problem out of nothing.

To accomodate you and not change a policy for an entire group of people, they would have to run personal, private sessions for you alone.

Goethe clue us in the word public, as in public pool. There were lots of times when training to represent my country in triathlon that I found its times and other users inconvenient tome, but I still didn't think it should be run to suit my own personal needs.

Do you really think that men, who compose half the population, will be paying any attention to you when swimming? Or are you in some way irresistable?


CecilyP · 24/06/2013 11:44

You are not being penalised for being a single parent! It has nothing to do with your being a single parent. The pool have a women only session which you can go to but your DS can't go to because he is a boy. There are family sessions which your DS can go to but you can't take him for religious reasons. I would write to the organisation that runs the pool to request that at least one of the women's sessions should be open to women with young children (maybe under 7s) of either sex. I would also make reference to your religious reasons, especially if your religion is quite common in the area where you live.

But, please don't go on about being a single parent because it is completely irrelevant.


ChunkyPickle · 24/06/2013 11:48

Just double check at the pool that they'll not kick up a stink about the swim-suit - if they try to then that's absolutely something to kick up to the bosses/local paper etc.


Zeezee25 · 24/06/2013 11:48

my son does go to swimming lesson its just i would want him to practice more with me who can swim instead of paying more money out i dont have. plus he asked me why i never swim with him. i also need to accept that some people see little boys as men because they share a gender.

OP posts:
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