The Mommy Chronicles: Paddling Through the Summer

18 Jul 2019 Marlena Rice
Beaux William takes a break from paddle boating at Lake Lurleen. As our Littles get more comfortable with the water, the entire family can breathe a little easier while trying new water-based activities. Beaux William takes a break from paddle boating at Lake Lurleen. As our Littles get more comfortable with the water, the entire family can breathe a little easier while trying new water-based activities. Marlena Rice

Growing up, so many aspects of my life revolved around swimming. There was team practice, competitions year round, and, best of all, those shopping trips with my mother to buy new swim gear. And then? You guessed it, rinse and repeat. For 12 years. 

With a growing Little, I’ve had an internal battle. Should I teach him to swim on my own, or should I send him to a more traditional summer swim training program? I opted for the latter, and here are a few things I have learned in the process.

1. Just because I lived, ate, and breathed chlorine-infused water as a kid, it does not mean my Little has to love it too.

When signing up for lessons, I found myself imagining my Little and I swimming laps together when he gets a little older – blue ribbons adorning his walls after a few years of competition. My hopes were dashed quickly when I asked him if he liked his first lesson. 

“Yeah, I guess.”

And he did that shoulder shrug he does when I have gotten overexcited about something he just thinks is “okay.” 

Okay, so we won’t be looking for a year-round team like I expected, but at least we signed up for some summer fun!

2. Sometimes, my Little will easily do for others something that he kicks and screams doing for me.

This has been a tough pill to swallow, as I used to teach swim lessons when I was a teenager. I mean, why shouldn’t I teach my own son? This answer has become evident during our lessons. 

Our kids might occasionally be willing to try new and exciting things without us, for many reasons. They might fear letting us down, or they might just want to impress the “cool” swim instructor my son has told me he has to work with. 

Ahem. No, I’m not upset. Not at all. 

3. Not being in control feels good.

In a perfect world, I’d be able to successfully work from home, chauffeur my son to all of his summer activities, teach him new things, make sure we are both well-rested, and not feel as if I’d like to pull all of my hair out. But this is reality, and those 30-minute sessions three times each week have given me a much-needed breather.

When your Little is taking swim lessons for the first time…

  • Register for a program that allows parents to watch at least a portion of the instruction. Not only will this ease your nerves, but you will see what your child is learning, and know if the activity and the instructors are worth long-term support. 
  • Understand that freedom in the water is good for continued growth. Use floaties sparingly, so your children dont become too dependent on the extra help as they are learning. 
  • Once lessons are over, never take for granted your child’s comfort in the water, nor their strengths and abilities, because even the best swimmer can have an incident of drowning.

Marlena Rice is a busy mom and writer who lives in Tuscaloosa with her husband, Rod, and their son, Beaux William. Check out her blog at heartfullybuilt.com.  

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Druid City Living (DCL) is Tuscaloosa, Alabama's premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.

 

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