Most of us vow we will never compare our children to other children. Yet, on some level, most of us do. I would sit in some mom circles and hear stories how “so and so’s daughter can’t color in the lines yet….my kid has been doing that since she was blah blah blah“. I’ve been in various conversations where other parents are questioning whether or not the behavior of their child is strange or on par with other children.
I would say that overall I was pretty good with it. I never wanted my daughter to feel like she was competing with a peer of hers. If she was behind on picking something up, I would just tell myself that her time would come and all kids develop at a different rate. And obviously on the surface, to my daughter, I would be encouraging and comforting if she struggled with something.
With it being in the middle of summer and water activities aplenty, I can’t help but worry about my daughter’s tentative nature around water. First of all, I am not confident around water. I never have been. So my nervousness about my child in the water is suppressed at all times in hopes that this will not influence her in any way. Second of all, because of my uneasiness around water, I don’t want her to suffer the same fate. I want her to be able to enjoy swimming and become a confident swimmer.
This summer, my daughter is 5. She is getting much more comfortable in the water, however, still needs to wear her floaties. In my own bubble, I see nothing wrong with this. She’s improved over last year since she will now go into deeper water without needing to be held. She also puts her face in the water, something she wasn’t happy to do last year.
However, when you compare my daughter to her friends, most, if not all of them, can swim. No floaties. Head underwater. Jumping into the pool. There I go. Falling into the comparison zone. The zone I try my hardest to avoid. But I can’t help it. I feel like I’m doing something wrong. Am I not encouraging her or teaching her hard enough? Should I be pushing her to do it? But why? She’s having fun doing what she’s doing. Do I sign her up for lessons even after she’s told me she doesn’t want to and shows no interest at all? At the same time, she needs to learn to swim for her own safety. My husband, who is a great swimmer, has been teaching her, but we all know it’s somehow different than a stranger doing it. There are many studies out there stating early lessons are better. But those kids aren’t my daughter. Those studies don’t know my child.
Maybe I’m over thinking it. Maybe it’s a case of “her time will come”. Maybe one day, when she’s ready, when she’s hit that mark on her very own timeline, she will want to truly learn how to swim. She will feel comfortable enough to be open to learn. I just want my daughter to be safe, healthy and happy. On her terms. And not everyone else’s.