The Day Swim Lessons Taught Me to be a Better Parent

Ahhhh…spring!

Well, kind of spring, right? It’s apparently snowing and freezing in lot of the country. In central Florida, though, it’s GORGEOUS. We’re currently experiencing that high-of-70-degree weather we only get for about 10 days between summer and winter, which we pretend to call autumn. And. I. Am. Loving. It.

However, we are in the middle of the kids’ swim lessons, so the cold weather is a bit of a downer for the little folks. Thankfully, the pool is heated. Un-thankfully, George’s little teeth are always chattering when he gets out.

So, about the necessary trauma we call “swim lessons…”

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Since it’s only mid-April, I’m running low on current pool pictures.

Y’all. We are riding the struggle bus each and every day on the way to George’s Infant Swim Rescue (ISR) lesson. I keep rotating between telling him ahead of time and surprising him in the parking lot with a bathing suit. In the former situation, he hyperventilates and panics the entire eight-minute journey. In the latter, he only has three-ish minutes to get from calm to panicky.

“I’m not going to be happy. I’m going to cry!” his little voice tells me from the back of the minivan.

 

“Well, as long as you learn how to swim, that’s OK!” I reply with conviction.

Is this the best response? I have no idea. Then again, 3-year-olds aren’t exactly known for their logical thinking patterns, so Mama do what she do. By the way, Olivia was in lessons too (which made her SO MAD), but then she decided to “break” her foot and get a cast. So, she’s off the hook until next week.

Yesterday was ugly. I warned George that we were heading to swim lessons right after we left the gym. (Read: Mama’s muscles were dead from lifting weights.) I was hoping we’d move past denial, anger, and bargaining and at least land on depression, if not acceptance, before we got to the pool.

Yeah, that was a no-go.

The more he fought getting into his bathing suit, the madder and more frustrated I became. (My pride always takes a hit when my super-serious mom voice and tone doesn’t get us anywhere. This is silly and immature, I know.) I made it to the poolside by propping foot-casted Olivia on one hip, throwing the bag over my shoulder, and basically dragging hysterical George by the wrist while he was still trying to get out of his swimming trunks. It wasn’t a good moment for us.

20170519_164008896156897.jpgAnd, of course, 15 seconds into his lesson, he was perfectly fine and dandy. He kicked and floated and breathed at the right times. And when he got out of the pool and got his fruit-snack reward, all was right in his little world. Frustrating, to say the least.

That five-minute meltdown has now haunted me for 24 hours. It was ugly. was ugly. I want to be such a better mom than that. No, frankly, I want to be such a better human than that. I’ve been a Christian since the sixth grade. Eighteen years. And that’s all of the self control and growth I had to show?

Now, before I get the “You’re a great mom!” “These things happen!” and “No one is perfect!” comments, I do realize all of those things. I know we all snap and sin and regret things. Only Jesus was perfect. I get all of that, and I’m definitely not above cutting myself some slack.

It’s just frustrating. I don’t always know how to best reach and parent my children. I have to constantly learn how to better encourage, discipline, manage, and love my babies. And, to be honest, it’s a lot of work. I used to think I was tired after sitting in a cubicle all day. Nope. This is what tired is. And it’s not just physical or mental wear.

After swim lessons, while his dirty-blond hair was still spiky-wet, I apologized. I always try to do this, even though he’s so little. I told him God doesn’t call us to be angry like Mama was, but God also tells us we need to listen to our parents (I couldn’t completely let him off the hook, after all!). It’s hard to know how much gets through to his super-active little brain, but he did try to tell on me later to his daddy, so I’m guessing it all made some kind of impact.

I’ve been reading A Place of Quiet Rest by Nancy Leigh DeMoss for a Bible study. It’s an amazing book offering practical advice on how and why to maintain daily devotions with God. And it’s convicting me all over the place. I’ve always been a student of the Bible. I’ve led Bible studies in my home. I’ve signed up for every Bible study I can. I went to Christian schools all the way through. I know a lot about the Bible and about Jesus. But I’m honestly not certain how vibrant my direct relationship with God is.

Honesty time.

I don’t make daily devotions a priority. Shoot, there are weeks when I don’t make weekly devotions a priority. How am I supposed to follow God’s leading in my life and my children’s lives when I’m not nurturing a relationship with God? What an illogical choice!

We, as a Bible study group, decided that we first need to conduct daily devotions out of routine. Get into the habit of praying, reading the Bible, and listening to God’s still, small voice. Devotions have to be more than checking a task off your to-do list, but they can start there. Then, as you grow, they change into something more relational and vital, as your relationship with God deepens.

“Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.”

– Proverbs 16:3 ESV

Well, I can at least (re)start there. Won’t you join me?

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Angela says:

    Love this

    Like

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