This afternoon, at Maddox’s swimming lesson, I was that mom. The one that other mothers look at with a sort of sad smile. A mixture of pity and understanding.
We paid for the term’s swimming lessons upfront and Maddox and I set off to today’s lesson with genuine excitement, goals, and hope (from my side).
Last week didn’t go so well – picture all others swimming and Maddox standing on the side crying – so we had a good chat and Maddox and I set goals for today: feet will be in the water and he will splash as much as possible. A realistic goal, I thought. Gentle intro to the pool and a bit of fun mixed in, I thought.
Well, apparently, I set the bar too high. 20 minutes of negotiations and tears just to get the swimming costume on. Then, using my unreal powers of distraction and annoyingly excited voice, I managed to carry him to the pool. More negotiations. All mothers staring at us through the glass window. Me accidentally flashing my arse to them but not caring during the negotiation.
And finally, my little boy crying and frozen with fear, broke my heart and we went back to the changing room and left.
Today’s lesson? For Maddox, it’s to keep trying, gently, until you succeed. For me, according to my own parenting style (we are all different), I refuse to force (nothing wrong with a bit of coaxing) anything on Maddox. His fear was real, albeit irrational, and sometimes the tough love approach just isn’t worth it. I want to create memories of love and happiness, not fear.
Next week’s goal? Getting Maddox into his swimming costume in under 15 minutes.
Last week’s situation: