Learning to Swim – Learning to Parent

By 20th September 2023Studio Chit Chat

Hi lovely readers, it’s Jemma here! I hope you’re all had the most wonderful summer! We managed to get away for a fabulous week in Mallorca with our five year old. And while we were there, she mastered swimming without a float! Which got me thinking – Learning to swim, seems an awful lot like learning to parent our little ones! Both of them require patience, guidance, gradual progression, and a healthy dose of letting go. In this blog post, we’ll explore how learning to swim without a float compares to the journey of parenting.

Facing Fear and Uncertainty

Freya has been learning to swim for a while now, but she’s always found the idea of letting go of her float scary and intimidating – just like entering the world of parenting. Both experiences come with a mixture of fear and uncertainty. When she’s in the water thinking about letting go of her float, she experienced a fear of sinking or not being able to stay afloat. Similarly, as parents, we often worry about making mistakes or not being able to meet the challenges of raising a child. Or as it’s also called “Mum Guilt”

Starting with Support

In both endeavors, having a strong support system is crucial. When learning to swim, beginners often start with a float or instructor holding them up. Freya has been learning for a year with her wonderful teacher, and her confidence has been getting greater and greater each lesson. And with parenting, the saying “It takes a village” is so true as well! This support might come from family, friends, or parenting groups depending on your own network. It doesn’t matter where your network comes from, just that having a strong support network makes the job so much easier. These supports provide us with a safety net as we gradually build our confidence and skills, ready to “let go”.

Gradual Progression

Just as Freya gradually let go of the float as she gained her confidence, as parents, we must allow our children increasing independence as they grow. From those first wobbly strokes in the water to a child’s first steps, these are milestones marked by a blend of excitement and trepidation. The difference in just 8 months since our last family holiday was huge. Last time I was uncomfortable letting her anywhere without me. This time, I was more relaxed to take a back seat as long as I could see her.

Letting Go

One of the most significant similarities between learning to swim and parenting is the eventual act of letting go. Swimmers must eventually let go of the float entirely to truly learn to swim. Similarly, parents must allow our children to venture out into the world on their own, making their own decisions and learning from their experiences.

Adapting to Challenges

Neither learning to swim or parenting proceed without challenges. From overcoming the fear of deep water to handling a teenager’s rebellious phase. Both journeys test our adaptability and problem-solving skills (And I’m really not looking forward to that sassy teenage phase! She already seems to be 5 going on 15!). Just as a swimmer learns different strokes to navigate various conditions, as parents, we learn to adapt our strategies as our children face different life challenges.

Celebrating Achievements

Every successful stroke swum without assistance is a triumph, just as each of your child’s achievements—big or small—is a cause for celebration. Both experiences are filled with moments of pride and joy, reminding us of the progress made and the growth achieved. And reaching milestones like birthdays, starting school, learning to walk are also little victories for us as parents too! A chance to take a deep breath, look at your child and think “I made that” and enjoy that intense moment of pride, just like your little one experiences when they finally swim!

Life-long Learning

Finally, both parenting and swimming are continuous processes of learning. Just as swimmers can always refine their technique and strive for greater efficiency, as parents we are forever learning from our children’s evolving needs. Both experiences remind us that growth knows no bounds.

Anyway – that was my random holiday thought and reminise of the summer. Here’s a picture of the little swimmer because I’m so super proud of her!

Little girl sat at the edge of a swimming pool.

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