A Small Dose of Reality...

... is sometimes difficult to swallow.

I was THAT mom today. You know, the one who raised her voice just a little too loudly at the kid's sporting event. The one who insisted that she knew best. The one you didn't want to look at, so you put both hands over your eyes... but opened your fingers just enough to peek through and see what she was going to do next.

Yeah, I was that mom.

And I'm embarrassed.

The school is in the process of starting its swim club next quarter, and the girls had their tryouts today. Riley made it. Sheridan didn't. I was completely caught off guard. Most of my friends who've seen Sheridan swim were as surprised as I was.

I kinda snapped.

See, last week when the director had the swim club meeting she told the parents that in order to make the swim team, the kids needed to be able to swim 50 meters non-stop (2 laps) .... with the clarification that they could swim any stroke.

No problem. Both the girls had taken private lessons in Israel to the tune of $30 + / lesson ... for almost 2 years. Sure it was a high price to pay, but now they're little fishies. The thousands of dollars was very well spent.

Or so I thought.

Riley jumped in the water today, and effortlessly swimming freestyle, glided across the pool. The coach looked over at me and smiled, and by the time she finished her second lap, he had already filled out the paperwork and added her name to the team roster.

Sheridan swam next, doing a combination breast stroke with a flutter kick. I have no idea where she learned it, though off she went, somewhat awkwardly to the deep end and back. But she did it... exactly what the director said she needed to do in order to make the team.

However, she didn't make the team. Moreover, I was told she needed swim lessons. Swim lessons to help her get across the pool. Which she can already do... quite effortlessly (though admittedly, it doesn't always look pretty). I mean seriously, she's 4 years old. She swims pretty darn well. Just not good enough for the swim team, which, I thought, was supposed to HELP her with the stroke mechanics.

So before I could turn on the filter from my brain to my mouth, I snapped at the coach, telling her that I was not happy. Through clenched teeth I loudly stated that she did exactly what she was asked, and it was not fair that she didn't make the team. I then marched over to the side, pulled Sheridan from the water, put her in her seat, and obnoxiously walked over to the athletic director where I boldly expressed my displeasure. The response? They want to see mechanics over endurance. It's great that Sheridan can swim multiple lengths of the pool, but since she can't swim one stroke perfectly, she's only eligible for swim lessons... until she masters freestyle, when they'll then put her on the team.

I had to take a breather. I knew I was going to say something that I didn't mean, and I could feel my face get flushed as my frustration intensified. I sat down and started talking to a few friends who waited to watch the girls. I mumbled. I vented. I unleashed my disappointment in the semantics of the expectations at the original swim club meeting. I was upset that the director watched the girls practicing yesterday for 20 minutes, yet never said anything to me about Sheridan's strokes.

And then it hit me like a ton of bricks... I was THAT mom. The one who annoys everyone in the stands because she's coaching the kids from the sidelines. The one who knows better than the coach does, because, "Hey, she's my superstar... you're JUST the coach." And I knew that I needed to swallow a big spoonful of pride and let this one go. Because honestly, they were ... gulp... right. Sheridan is 4... she won't be 5 for another few months ... and if we were almost anywhere else in the world, she'd STILL be in preschool. Why am I trying to push her so hard? She's a darn good swimmer for her age, but she's ... still ... only ... 4 ... years ...old.

With my tail not-so between my legs, I boldly walked back over to the athletic director and swim coach and gently explained that I needed to be an advocate for my kid, yet I deeply apologized if I was rude. Seeing the tears welling in my eyes, the coach quickly said, "Don't worry... I've seen you at other events and I know you're usually pretty normal." Whew. A quick discussion about private lessons, another apology, big hugs with my fishies, and it was time to go home.

To work on homework. Because even though she's only 4, she has more homework than her first grade sister. Maybe having the afternoons free won't be such a bad idea...

Here's Sheridan during her tryouts. I narrowed it down to just 16 seconds... cause hey... she does the exact same thing from one end of the pool to another...

Here's Riley's swimming too. She dove in ... which for her, is a HUGE accomplishment. She used to look like a cat splaying her arms out as she attempted to dive in head first...


karey m. said...


i'm surprised i haven't been this mom yet. but, then...if i'm asked one more time what my girls do {answer? they play. sometimes they act like jerks.}...i'll become this mom!

you handled it beyond perfectly. well done.

{and come on, sheridan! get your stroke together, for christ's sake! hee.}

Z. Marie said...

Well, if you really were THAT mom, you'd have had Sheridan in the pool with a stroke specialist within minutes.
Laura's dives into the pool still are very cannonball-like (although she does perch gracefully on the edge just before launching herself into the water). Of course, she's 8 and has never been on a swim team.
Hmmm, I think I'm going to become THAT mom now.

Emma said...

Hey, I think that a little part of THAT mum exists within us all, even us 'normal' ones!

At least you recognised the trait and managed to begin damage limitation procedures! Well done -there are many many out there who wouldn't be big enough....and yes, she is only 4!!

Mom24 said...

I think everyone who is a caring mom is "that" mom sooner or later. Ugh. Still it sounds like you handled it really well once you settled down.

Just think how awesome she'll be next year. :-)

Anonymous said...

Any mother who says they haven't been THAT mom at least once is a complete liar.

At least your kids saw you apologize and do the right thing afterwards. Not enough kids see THAT mom.

Unknown said...

Oh bless... I too have been THAT mom... But at least we can admit it RIGHT? Ya did good in the end.. : ) Hang in there!

Crystal said...

Who hasn't been that mom at some time! At least you stepped back and reflected before you unleashed. Your daughters swim great!!!!!!!! Now I am off to see if mine can get lessons in Kuwait : )

Amy Amy Bo Bamey said...

Yup....I have been that mom too. Based on the above comments it looks like we are not alone. It is hard to draw the line sometimes as mom's when we are standing up for our kids. Glad you had a moment to think and cool off.

They are both Great Swimmers!

Robin said...

I think that stopping yourself mid-stream, reigning it in, and then actually apoligizing pretty much proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are NOT that mom - you just very occasionally play one on tv.

We all blow it occasionally.

Sheridan swims much better than Maya does. The moment she finished swimming lessons Maya promptly refused to do any actual stroke and now does this weird doggie paddle mermaid thing, but hey, she's happy, and the teacher will be happy too when I have to pay for a full set of lessons again next year.

Heidi said...

Your kids are lucky to have THAT mom. And you swallowed your pride and didn't burn any bridges with the coaches. In my book, you did everything right and shouldn't beat yourself up at all!

Jen said...

I think that we have all been there. I think that best part was that you went back and apologized. Many ppl wouldn't do that.

Natalie said...

Love can be overwhelming, and as one who once didn't advocate for her child when she should have, I say, this is an OK "mistake" to make. You might feel a little embarassed, but I will always regret not standing up for my daughter. Love that coach: "(except for your freaking out on me today) you're pretty normal..."(!)
Congratulations to BOTH your girls for their mad swimming skilz. :)

Kirsten said...

It's frustrating when others don't see how amazing our kids are!! :-)

You handled it well.

Another Kiran In NYC said...

Oh I have totally been THAT mom.. why just yesterday I was! Twice... once at school and once at ballet!

Someday my filter will kick in! Or prehaps one day my very calm husband will find a big enough bandana to gag me when I shoot my mouth off. One or the other!

Your daughters swim very well. Perhaps you can have the coach give Sheridan another tryout after a while?

Anonymous said...

"usually pretty normal"


what the bloody is that supposed to mean?


I have those moments ... and will have more ... I'm impressed that you apologized!

Darlene said...

You have every reason to be THAT mom. You would do anything for your kids and that is why you are THAT mom. You apologized and that took alot of courage. You are one of the most AWESOME moms I know and you are keeping those coaches on their toes. Everyone better watch out...SHERIDAN will be back....ha ha ha.

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Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, you are so great. First you totally advocated for your kids, then your were really kind and humbly admitted to the coach that your reaction to a situation maybe wasn't right. By the way, your kids are both awesome swimmers! Your older one looks like she'll be an Olympian! :)

Lisa said...

ugh....that's a tough one. you handled it with grace though, and for that you should pat yourself on the back :)

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