Courtesy of Elizabeth Wickham
There will come a time in our lives when we no longer drive our kids to practice at 5 a.m. Nor, be required to set up for swim meets, or drive out of town for a weekend meet. With all the time, energy and years of being a swim family, what are parents to do when it’s over?
There are great articles on SwimSwam about the transitions our swimmers will experience when their careers end, but what about us parents? Often, without realizing it, our lives and friendships revolve around swim and school schedules. The day will come when we need to focus on what’s next for us. Years ago, I was asked by our team’s president to become a board member. I remember thinking, sorry, but I have a life! Later on, I did join the board and the swim team took over.
Here are a few ideas to make the transition from being a full-on swim parent to a normal person:
One way to enjoy the swimming lifestyle is to dive in and try if for yourself. You’ll see swimming from a different perspective and make new friends with fellow swimmers.
Volunteer at a Meet.
Your club or high school team will be thrilled to have you wear a neon vest, be a timer or dish out scrambled eggs at the snack bar. You don’t have to work the entire meet or every meet. You get the privilege to show up occasionally and get your swim atmosphere fix.
Become an Official.
I’ve heard that some involved swim parents, who love the sport of swimming, become officials after their kids are done. Their weekends are filled with volunteering or being paid to watch kids swim.
Start a Boosters’ Club or Swim Foundation.
If you’re a parent who believes that swimming had an integral and valuable role in your children’s character and development, you may want to get involved by raising money for your club or high school.
I’ve known a few parents that became swim coaches to stay involved and give back to swimming. There must be a great deal of satisfaction to know you’re helping kids improve and have an impact on their lives.
What will you do when your children’s swim careers are over? Do you have plans to stay involved with the sport?
Elizabeth Wickham volunteered for 14 years on her kids’ club team as board member, fundraiser, newsletter editor and “Mrs. meet manager.” She’s a writer with a bachelor of arts degree in editorial journalism from the University of Washington with a long career in public relations, marketing and advertising. Her stories have appeared in newspapers and magazines including the Los Angeles Times, Orange County Parenting and Ladybug. You can read more parenting tips on her blog.