Why was swimming the survivor of the post-maternity leave cull?
When my son first arrived, I was pleasantly surprised (and perhaps a little overwhelmed) by the number of age-appropriate groups and activities available on my doorstep. By the time he was just a couple of weeks old we were signed up for something almost every day.
Over the past 18 months we’ve tried everything: baby massage and yoga, sing and sign workshops, baby sensory classes, mum and bub groups, child-friendly fitness classes (for my mum-tum!), tots soccer and swimming lessons…with so much to do, how can you possibly choose just one or two?
But after returning to work (sigh!) something had to give and that was pretty much everything, except our weekly swimming sessions. Why swimming? Because it’s the only activity out of all of them that could potentially save my son’s life! Of course, everything we experienced was amazing and I don’t want him to miss out on a thing as a result of my mat leave ending, but teaching him this essential life-saving skill is something I feel incredibly strong about – especially as my husband was never taught and still struggles to get from one end of the pool to the other.
Swimming is now a family priority and we go once a week without fail. We’ve managed to keep up our swimming lessons, which are pricey but in my opinion well worth it, and are watching our son grow into a strong and confident swimmer at just two years old.
With baby number two due in a few months, it’s only going to get trickier taking them both to the pool (especially by myself), but come hell or high water, my children will continue their swimming education and will not end up like most children in the UK.”
N.B. Nearly half (45%) of all children cannot swim the length of a pool by the time they leave primary school age 11, according to the Amateur Swimming Association.