Yesterday was Mother’s Day. This is a memorable day for swim moms because of the intense roll we play in the lives of athletes. We wash thousands of towels, cook thousands of meals, know the locations of pools everywhere we go, and are always prepared with goggles, snacks, and towels.
But today as I was drinking coffee and the house was quiet, I read a great article about what all moms are supposed to do. I shed a few tears as I realized how deeply this statement applied to swim moms.
We kindle the fire in our children so they can live their passions.
This is so very true. And even the greatest swimmers on the planet will tell you that their moms helped orchestrate their swim journeys. l knew when my Hannah was swimming across the pool at four and never wanted to stop that she’d found her love. Through the years she has enjoyed a love/hate relationship with the sport. It requires profound commitment. But, love reigned forever supreme. And I’ve tried to navigate my role. Sometimes I’ve done it well. Other times I’ve crossed boundaries. But I’ve always wanted her to do what she loves. So I’ve now finally figured out what that means.
1. Support their dreams whether it’s a scholarship to NCAA, fun in summer league or something bigger. It can be easy to blur your role as mom with coach. But you are not the coach.
2. As the quote says, help ignite that passion. This can mean many things. But mostly it’s finding the right tribe and an awesome coach. Having been on the awesome to awful spectrum on both, the right tribe and leader is the critical component to ensuring they are happy. It’s their decision. But provide the guidance. It’s the single most important element to a great athletic career: A Rocking Culture.
3. Love the journey not just the outcome. It is easy to get caught up with winning and losing. Kids who stick with the sport love the experience. They have fun. Encourage this in your swimmer. The trips to movies, pasta dinners, and travel trips matter. Do what you can to support this.
4. Be their fan. This may sound obvious, but it’s so critical they know it. And remind them to be their own fan too. This inspires a fire in your swimmer that you can spot at every meet. Kids who love to swim light up the pool. And they encourage others.
5. Cherish every memory. My own daughter has two years left in a sport she’s loved for 16 years. She’s had amazing success and heartbreak. It’s helped make her a strong and resilient person. And she’s made friends she will cherish forever.
Thank you swim moms for igniting that passion.
About Donna Hale
Donna Hale is a 16 plus year veteran swim mom whose daughter competes in NCAA.