Monday, June 1, 2015

Swim Social Blog: 'Preparation; Crushed Clothes; Makeup; Hair; Body Image'

Blog by Anne Kane: I have a day off every Monday. A day of rest and relaxation. Yeah, right. Monday is my cleaning day, my shopping day, my try and see my mother day, my kids swimming lesson day, I could go on but you get the point.  

I manage this day with a carefully planned routine and my one piece of quiet time is sitting with a coffee while the kids are in the pool. They harp at me most weeks to come swimming with them, but I usually resist because I can’t face more tasks on a Monday.  For a woman, swimming involves preparation with a checklist the size of which a commercial airline pilot would be familiar with.  

There’s the prep work before you go. Boys, us girls have to shave our legs - otherwise our legs will end up looking like yours. I could go on with this shaving explanation, but I’ll stop there. Then there’s the makeup. The clothes. The hair. The psychological worry that people will see you in a swimsuit and be reminded of their trip to Seaworld.

My eight year old daughter loves Mondays. She loves swimming and looks forward to her time in the pool. Thinking back, I too enjoyed every opportunity to swim as a child. My dad was in the RAF and I learned to swim in Cyprus. I competed in swimming as a child.  I was a water baby.  But I’m now a coffee mum. Or I was until a couple of months ago when I decided it time to take the plunge – literally – and use Monday me time to have some fun splashing around with the kids before their lessons and then get some lengths in while they are in their lessons.  How have I done this?  I’ve broken my objections to swimming into the component parts and dealt with them one by one. 

Objection 1: Preparation. The kids lessons are at a set time after school and part of my carefully fully planned Monday routine – I’ve simply added shaving my legs into the mix in the morning. 

Objections 2: Crushed Clothes. I hate lockers.  They are the adult version of a scary monster hiding the cupboard.  This monster CRUSHES CLOTTHEESSS.  I then soak them taking them out.  My solution to this is simply to treat Monday like the dress down day it should always have been.  Jeans and a t-shirt.  If it’s a little crushed, so what?  I’m only going home to put the dinner so, not heading to a royal garden party.

Objection 3: Make up. It isn’t that I feel bad or ugly without makeup, it’s simply that it’s been years since I’ve willingly left the house without any.  We don’t like change – if you don’t believe me, trying sitting in a different seat tonight to watch television.   So I don’t leave the pool without any make up, I just leave with very little on.  Sixty seconds in front the mirror with mascara and concealer and I’m good to go.

Objection 4: Hair. I have a hairdryer that I think was designed at NASA.  I think my local swimming pool designed their own.  While drunk.  And blindfolded.  It is hopeless.  My concession here is that I towel dry it, put it in a bun and deal with it when I get home. 

Objection 5: Unfounded fears over body image.  I’m reminded of a line in the Baz Luhrmann song “Sunscreen” – enjoy your body, use it every way you can, don’t be afraid of it or what other people think of it.”  My body has produced two children – it has neither the shape nor the consistency it did when I was twenty one.  And even when I was twenty one, I was still worried about body image.  We may talk about body image in another article, but here’s what I do.  I wear a swim suit not a bikini, I take a deep breath and I walk with my head held high from the changing room to the swimming pool.  If more of us did that, perhaps those women (and men) who are really worried about body image will see some normal women not giving a stuff and it might help them feel the same way.

The result of all of this is that I’m having great fun with my kids in the swimming pool and getting a little fitter by doing lengths while they’re in their lesson.  And I’m drinking two less cups of coffee on a Monday.  Swimming shouldn’t be difficult.  It isn’t difficult and if we all swam just a little more often, we’d be a happier, fitter and less stressed bunch. 

Anne Kane
 also attended the Scottish Swimming Come & Try Open Water Session at the National Swimming Academy in Stirling (31 May 2015)

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