This afternoon we should be having a quick dinner before rushing off to our local leisure centre armed with swimming trunks and a towel. But we’re not. Last week I made a decision, which to be frank, broke my heart a little bit. I called time on swimming lessons for Monkey. Since we returned to the pool after the saga with his perforated ear drum, each lesson has become more stressful, Monkey’s become more upset and more unwilling to join in with the class.
I know it’s not a fear of water or the pool itself. We’ve been to the pool on weekends and he’s happily splashed around, stood right under the play showers and loved every minute. He doesn’t take after me, and I’m glad of that. But the swimming lessons were becoming traumatic and no matter what I’ve tried each week has been more of an issue for him.
I see swimming as a life skill, having not learnt that skill myself until well into my forties, I’m more than keen for Monkey to learn to swim at a young age. I did actually cry as I wrote the email cancelling his lessons. I felt that I’d failed him, but I also realise that pushing him to do something that I want isn’t the answer, it won’t get my son swimming. That want has to come from within him. So this stubborn mother has let it go. For now anyway!
I’ve looked at other pools, and at one to one lessons, which frankly would probably suit Monkey much better, but they cost so much more than the leisure centre. As a SAHM Mum I just can’t stump up the cash. So, yes, I feel that I’ve failed on that score too, it’s the payback for being there to take him and pick him up from school every day, I can’t afford the ‘luxuries’ that working might provide more easily.
So this afternoon we won’t go near a swimming pool, maybe we won’t next week either, but soon I want to get Monkey back in the pool, regularly, just with me, having fun, splashing around. Then maybe, (ok, yes I’m praying silently) he’ll see for himself that learning to swim could bring even more fun. That it could allow him to go on new adventures. I’d love him to be able to swim before our holiday in Portugal next June, to be able to jump in the pool, squealing with glee and soaking his grandparents in the process. But am I just wanting him to experience things I never did, am I trying to live my life through him? I hope I’m wanting him to swim for all the right reasons.
So for now I’m calling time on swimming lessons, I’m truly listening to my son and what he wants. But it doesn’t stop me feeling like I’ve failed him.