Do you know what I’m guilty of? Apart from driving around for far too long with the petrol light on, eating Nutella out of the jar and never quite getting around to moving the pile of clothes from the bedroom floor to the wardrobe. I’m guilty of taking myself far too seriously.
I don’t like looking silly, even when I’m with the boys, and it’s probably not a good thing. I’ve already noticed that our eldest is very much like me, and can be self conscious, even down to not wanting to gel his hair for a wedding in case people laughed at him.
It’s probably not hard to notice that I fret over what to wear, I feel a bit lost in social situations when the boys aren’t around and I don’t have them as a comfort blanket, and I will always do my best to blend in rather than stand out.
One of the worst situations for feeling self conscious has got to be swimming. Am I right? You’re semi-naked, running around after your children, and trying desperately not to get splashed for fear of mascara running down your face (yes, I wear make up swimming – I’m not confident enough to go bare faced). And it’s something that should be fun – we certainly expect children to enjoy themselves without worrying about how they look!
Anyway, this weekend we stayed in a hotel with a pool. It was a basic square pool with no slides or waves, just a shallow end and a deep end. Nothing fancy to distract the boys from the fact that their mother is an awkward turtle.
The boys were happy jumping in, and throwing goggles in for Stew to chase, while I watched. After a while, I realised I was just standing there, waist deep in water, wearing a purple dinosaur swimsuit that makes me look fun when really I was doing nothing to add to the experience. And why? Because I didn’t want to get my hair wet, or ruin my (pretty basic) make-up.
Where has this come from?
I used to be in a swimming club. I swam four times a week and didn’t give a second thought about how I looked. I loved the freedom of being in the water (as free as you can feel swimming sets of lengths, but you know what I mean) and I didn’t even think of packing foundation or blusher in my kit bag.
What exactly am I teaching the boys by not getting involved? Nothing, that’s what.
So, I manned up. I put the goggles on, pushed off the wall and did a few lengths. It felt great! After a bit of breaststroke and front crawl I decided to see if I could still do a few strokes of butterfly … and I could! I did two lengths and when I stopped, our eldest took the goggles from me and said he was going to do it too.
He never usually puts his head in the water, but he dunked his face in threw his arms forward and came up beaming! He even asked if he looked like me swimming.
By the time we got out of the pool he was telling us that he’s joining a swimming club and take part in races like I did.If that’s not making a positive impact, I don’t know what is.
Heck, by the time we left there I was considering getting membership to the pool myself!
Ok, I’ll admit I was a bit panicked that I’d lose the lovely eyelash extensions I had for the wedding last week … but I got past it, and even emerged with all lashes intact!
So the moral of the story is … take yourself too seriously and you’ll end up hanging around missing all the fun, and it won’t be long before your children notice that you’re sitting on the sidelines. Or you could forget about looking a bit silly or drawing attention to yourself by being the mother who sets an example for their children.
What’s the worst that could happen? Smudged make-up and a frizzy fringe? Nothing that can’t be fixed in the changing rooms after. Go on … your children will thank you for it, and you’ll feel a heck of a lot better about yourself!