Picture this: It's the first day of swimming lessons. My son steps onto the top step of the swimming pool, sits down, gets out and says "all done mommy!"
It's been a rough summer. We have given the "trust" talk more than I can count, endured screaming fits of anguish, temper tantrums abound, and finally a calm recognition that it may not be fun, but it's necessary to learn to swim.
How is Parenting like swimming lessons?
My son was a perfect swimmer before he knew how to swim. I'm pretty sure he actually proclaimed to me "No mama, I know how to swim!" before swim lessons even began. When it comes to parenting we often start out completely clueless to what this calling has in store for us. We dip our toes in here and there when we are younger with babysitting or maybe we watch a niece or nephew for a few hours. Then with pregnancy we dream about all of the parenting faux pas we won't commit and how our children will never know what a power ranger is.
Then we have a baby and someone throws us into the water without a life saver or our trusty puddle jumper. We experience things that we never thought could possibly happen to us. Our head is forced under water over and over again as we reach our way to the safety of the steps. We get pooped on, spit on, woken up every few hours. Our need for a breath and a break cant be met because theres a tiny human screaming at us from across the room and they cant wipe their own bum.
Finally, after what feels like months of struggle, something clicks. The baby gets older, can sleep longer, control its bowels better and starts to smile and coo. The clouds have parted and swimming seems kind of fun. We aren't perfect and we probably never will be, just like Michael Phelps doesn't always win the gold medal but it's a process and we'll be made better in the end.
After swimming lessons are all said and done, do you want to know what really makes swimming fun? Perseverance, bravery, trying new things and a little bit of encouragement from your tribe (or your mom!). Parenting isn't like swimming a 50 yard back stroke, it's more like a 6 million yard butterfly with very little upper body strength. In the end, we will get there but until then just try to breathe and do your best to not drowned!