5 Things I * HATE * About Swimming Lessons

Oh swimming lessons, how do I hate thee…….let me count the ways:


My God, the heat. Can anyone tell me why swimming pools have to be set at exactly eleventy-billion times hotter than the sun? It’s like Satan himself was feeling chilly so decided to hang out at the local baths. No matter how little clothing I dress myself in, how many spritzes of my ‘ice cool and calm’ spray I apply, how strong my deodorant is or how many ice cubes I put into my sneaky G&T hip flask, I permanently feel on the edge of heatstroke. Turn the bloody heating down.


I hate having wet feet. In fact, I would go so far as to say that the only time wet feet are acceptable is if you are a) in the shower, b) in the bath, c) in the pool or d) in the sea. The lowest common denominator (incase you hadn’t worked it out) in all these scenarios; I would have been partaking in a water-based activity VOLUNTARILY. Yes, my feet would be wet but I would be benefiting in some way: lovely clean hair, a frolic in the waves with Ewan McGregor, etc. But no, when I take the Gin Kids to swimming lessons, it would appear that I have to end up with soggy shoes FOR. NO. ENJOYABLE. REASON.


So, the pool itself is a million degrees but the changing room is a BILLION degrees hotter. Thousands of damp, wriggly, tired, STARVING, moany, loud, sweaty kids all crammed into a dank cell. Sticky feet won’t fit back into socks, non-existent boobs must be covered, soggy knickers are dragged back on and wet hair drips down freshly dried backs. The mums, stuck in the unenviable trenches of doom, all give each other weak smiles of solidarity; all of us knowing that we’d rather be anywhere else in the world right now. Don’t even get me started on hair washing.


Swimming lesson day means only one thing: a symphony of snacks, a coalition of carbs, a beige buffet. There are sandwiches before, crisps 22 seconds after leaving the water, an apple on the way out of the building, breadsticks in the car……. Arrival home is celebrated by a mad dash to the table where everyone then refuses to eat their tea because they’re ‘full up’. 13 minutes later, they’re starving again, and so the cycle continues into the night. As if this isn’t enough, the neeeeeeeed for food is amplified by the flashing lights of the vending machine. Seducing my hangry children with its promise of pickled onion Monster Munch, this hunk of metal doubles my food bill for the week. That’s OK, it’s not like I’m already paying a millionty quid for the lessons themselves. Oh, hang on….


Why do I end up carrying SO. MUCH. STUFF? Like an exhausted, sleep deprived pack hose, I drag costumes and goggles and snacks and drinks and onesies and towels and shampoo and flip flops and activities to distract Toddler Gin (hah! like that ever works…) and my handbag and 4 cardigans and a pram and the kitchen sink for MILES across fields and roads and carparks to get to the bloody place. We’re always late so I’m always red faced and running and dragging a reluctant toddler and pushing a wonky pram and shouting at two kids and OH. MY. GOD. By the time we actually arrive, I’m ready to jump in the pool fully clothed myself. Atleast the two eldest get to cool down, I just get to watch Toddler Gin drop my phone in puddles and feed Baby Gin who is slowly turning into a prune in the heat.

I can’t be the only one who dreads this part of their parenting week with a passion? Please tell me you feel the same. In fact, if you see me at the pool, give me a wink. We’re all in this together.

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Rachel Millington is a mum of two. In her spare time, she works in PR, hanging out with people who are all a good 10 years younger and a lot more glamorous than her, which is terribly good for the self-esteem. She also volunteers for Mind & MumsAid, because she very definitely believes that maternal mental health matters. She can be found tweeting (/ranting about politics) @rachmillington and is also charting her absolute hatred and despair of the weaning process on instagram @mummyledweaning (whoever said it was easier second time around LIED).