Mum's the Word: Swimming against the tide to get space in the pool for the kids

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Three years ago I started Joan in swimming lessons when she was just about to turn five. I really feel of all the skills kids learn this is one of the most important ones for life. But what I didn’t know at the time is I was setting myself up for weekly meltdowns.

Swimming lessons suck! They are wonderful and great for kids and again something they should all learn to do and it can be a lot of fun. But not for the parent.

Where we go swimming is crowded and chaotic. It is literally survival of the fittest when it comes to nabbing a highly sought- after changing cubicle and do not expect to make any friends in the process.

If you are lucky enough to get one there is then a race against time to get your child out of their clothes, into their swimming gear, including trying not to tear every single hair out of their head putting on those stupid swimming caps, all before you faint from the heat.

There is then screams and squeals and usually hyperactivity before they are called for their lesson as the parents wait, faces burned red, some are sweating and all of us have a look of desperate unhappiness.

After the kids are called we literally are like a herd exiting the changing rooms looking for a trough of water.

It takes a few moments to recover all of us not wanting to acknowledge our sweaty pits or rosy cheeks, like everything is just fine and we are doing our best as parents.

Trying to carry on everyday normal parenty conversations like; do you know a good dentist? What did you do for Easter holidays? Have you booked summer camps yet? All while trying to catch a breath.

Then as the lesson progresses you have that sinking feeling that you have to face it all over again only time it is worse, because the kids are …. WET! Plus, not only now do you have to fight for a cubicle you have to fight for a shower too. And as we all know, kids are never snappy about getting washed or concerned that they might be holding up the queue.

Once they are washed it is the battle to get them just dry enough to shove their arms and legs through the clothes and if they have long hair to get that dry enough so it doesn’t soak the clothes, again all before you faint! I have actually said to Joan that “if mommy hits the deck go get another adult.”

Then one more battle awaits, fighting for a hairdryer. Which lets face it if you are already at boiling point the last thing you want is to hold an appliance that is firing out hot air. The worst one was a child using two hair-dryers had one pointed at me long enough for me to sweat, get dry from it and then sweat again.

The summer months are definitely more enjoyable than the winter months, simply because usually the clothes are easier to get on and you don’t have to dry their hair. But the chaos of it all still awaits us every Wednesday at 3pm come rain or shine.

Having said all of this, I love watching Joan progress through the levels and to see how happy being in the water makes her. She bounces into the lessons and is all chat afterwards.

I am sure I will have lovely memories of our Wednesday ritual of getting smoothies and sandwiches and doing homework afterwards in the gym cafe.

I know all the sweat and near faints are worth it because she is so confident in the water and during the summer when we are back in Canada she spends hours in the lake and loves every minute of it.

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