Tackling the water with British Swim School

My kids received two free months of lessons and an ongoing discount in exchange for this post. Like always, all opinions are my own.

If you’ve been reading this blog, or know me at all, you know that I’m literally obsessive about my children’s safety. (I know, I know, I’m working on it, I swear.)

That said, there are some places where safety is a good thing, and the water is one of them. My parents live on a lake. I don’t care if my kids don’t become the next Michael Phelps, but I do want them to be drown-proofed as soon as humanly possible.

Enter: British Swim School.

Now, going in, I admit that BSS had the deck stacked against them. My kids had already started lessons at the gym that is two blocks away. (BSS’s nearest location was about a 20-minute drive). The gym also has childcare, so I can focus on one child at a time. Also, the gym is cheaper, so I knew I would have a hard time justifying the switch after my two free months were up.

But, determined to make the most of the two months we had, we geared up and went.

A fun start…

At first, my kids had an absolute blast. I saw them getting more confident, and having lots of fun as they became comfortable with submersion, jumping into the pool, and floating on their backs. Unlike our previous lessons, they really seemed to push my kids, and my kids seemed to be gaining a new skill every other week.


BSS nate floatNate amazed me a month in when he could jump into the pool by himself, and spin to his back with minimal help from his teacher. I was so excited, because I knew if he could just get to his back, he could keep himself safe until help could get to him.

BSS grace smilesGrace, similarly, was a little fish. She quickly learned the cues to hold her breath and was so anxious to get into the pool that every time I asked her if she wanted to go swimming, she started clapping and saying “yay!!!”

One step forward, two steps back…

And then, all of a sudden, Nate got scared. He told me he didn’t like swim lessons, and was defiant in class. I didn’t understand. What happened to my little go-getter? He didn’t even want to get into the pool with us on vacation. It was like a switch had been flipped and my once-fearless swimmer had become terrified of the water.

Class was a battle.

So I let him skip a lesson. (He had to come, because his sister still had to go, and I hoped that seeing her have fun would encourage him to try again).

They told me that this kind of regression is normal, and you never really know what’s going to cause it.

Great, I thought. We put all this work in and he’s gone backwards.

What came next, however, was wonderful.

They kept working with him. They brought in a second instructor, just to work him through his fears, and I swear, this man is the child whisperer, because the kid who was screaming in terror two weeks prior was laughing again.

Is he totally back? No. But the patience and consistency of BSS has really impressed me, and that’s why I’ll drive out of my way and pay a little extra to stay with them.

Living a life again

If I had to give you an excuse for not writing lately, it’s that life has gotten in the way. I say this in the best sense, because for once, life–and not my OCD–is dictating what I do.

My children are growing like weeds and pushing their boundaries daily. I admit, I still struggle with wanting to be overprotective, but on the whole, I’m letting them explore their world, and I am learning that their world really isn’t that dangerous after all.

I’m now meeting my (very talented) therapist every 5-6 weeks. If you had told me a year and a half ago that I would be going this long between appointments I would have been terrified. Back then, I couldn’t even make it a week.

It’s amazing how much time I lost to OCD. I mean, it literally was its own full-time job. And now, I hardly know what to do with myself.

I’m working through the feelings of guilt that I’m not doing enough–I’m Catholic, and a mom. Guilt kind of comes with the territory–but I’m starting to become more secure with the fact that I have TIME for things again. I’ve been reading. I’ve been enjoying my kids. I’ve been interacting regularly with people I didn’t initially know very well. I’m even helping to coach my son’s t-ball team.

This space, which initially came out of sadness and fear, is starting to become something else for me. I don’t know yet what I’m going to do with it, but I’m excited to find out.