I took Ed for his first swim lesson this Sunday morning. We got there early and sat waiting, observing the bustle of parents picking up and dropping their kids off poolside. Past swim experiences have been about having a splash about but I felt that he really should start lessons at 3-years-old.
Why? I pondered this question in an earlier blog post. Swimming lessons cost a lot, are hard to get onto and research shows that there is no ‘right time’ to start them. I didn’t start until I was 5..I think.
Do we now start these things early because everyone else is? I certainly felt a bit FOMO (To Mum – Fear Of Missing Out) as I got into the pool with Ed and gritted my teeth into a smile as he moaned and shouted that he wanted to get out throughout most of it. I felt that I wanted Ed to be as confident as the other 3-year-olds who had been in ‘lessons’ since they were babies. I wished that I had taken him sooner.
Later, I realised that the FOMO effect is powerful. This was not a relaxing Sunday morning. I don’t want to be hanging around in a cold swimming pool with a crowd of other parents and my child clinging to my neck. I remembered that there were other children crying/screaming. But, I convinced myself that my child has to learn to swim and be confident in the water and I’ll probably keep going.
As we left the car park of the school swimming pool, we passed the Astroturf and saw a group of young children playing hockey…their parents watching on. What’s happened to Sunday morning?
In fact, whatever happened to the whole weekend? It’s now Sunday evening and I don’t feel like I’ve relaxed with my husband after a hard week at work. (admittedly I’m sitting here writing this silly blog post but it doesn’t take me long!) There is always other ‘stuff’ to do: food shopping, Ed’s football class (!) My step-sons staying, washing, marking, planning, house/garden chores etc etc…
I’ve read stuff about this before – usually in the middle-class Times Weekend section – about how trying to do too much in life isn’t necessarily a good thing. That children should learn to be ‘bored’ and that family time spent together just ‘being’ and having ‘downtime’ is important.
One article I read suggested that we are overdoing it with activities at weekends because we work long hours in the week. Ironically, we guiltily feel that we should do more with our kids because we haven’t seen them much.
Of course, there are benefits to getting your children involved in swimming and other activities as they learn vital skills and discipline and it also gives them a chance to exercise and socialise. However, I think it’s important to find the balance.
Anyhow, I’d better stop ranting and spend some quality time with my husband for the first time this weekend…