To the Other Swimming Mum

Hello Other Swimming Mum,

This swimming lesson on a Friday night business is hard work isn’t it? When what you really want to do on a Friday is flump out on the sofa in front of Night Garden and let your children run around without any trousers.

We arrive at the swimming pool and the chaos of the changing room and there you are, Other Swimming Mum. You’re all done and you’re getting your girls ready to go home. ‘Sit down and let’s put your socks on’, you’re saying. ‘Come back please you need your coats. Yes I know it’s hot in here but it’s chilly outside……Yes it is very hot, it’s melting. Yes, I did say MELTING because it’s VERY HOT. But it will be cold outside’.

We’re doing exactly the same but in reverse. My boys are removing shoes, socks and jumpers, and carelessly discarding them all over the changing room. ‘Yes you do need to take your shoes off’ I’m saying. ‘Put them in the bag please, pick up your monkey please, yes take off your jumper – it is very hot in here. Yes it is hot, it’s very hot.’

We glance at each other and smile. ‘Why do we put ourselves through it?’ I ask. ‘It’s impossible, they just run off in opposite directions’ you respond, as your girls run off in opposite directions.

I’m exhausted and we’ve still got the getting changed ordeal to get through. I can see you probably felt the same when you arrived, although you are much better at the patient voice than I am.

We left the house looking like we were going away for the weekend, armed with swimming kit for the biggest boy; and snacks, drinks, toys and books to keep the littlest boys going. It took me at least 20 minutes to get boys to go to the toilet, put their trousers back on and drag them out of the house. And all for a 30 minute lesson during which my 5 year old demonstrates that he can competently walk up and down the length of the pool, while I sit watching in sauna-like conditions and his brothers scale up the viewing pane and would happily somersault over the top if I didn’t pull them down first. I suspect your girls are more co-operative.

But you seem like my sort of mum, Other Swimming Mum; I think we’d get on. You have the same weary-but-trying-your-best look that I wear most of the time.

And we’ll do it all again next Friday. I’m exhausted just at the thought.

child in swimming

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