They say you can lose your identity when you become a mom, and I do feel that way, because I spend all day every day with my toddler daughter helping her learn and grow. The weekends when dad is home from work, I hope he takes her out of the house to give me a break. But more often than not, it just doesn’t happen. It’s taking a toll on my identity.
I set an intention to get away and swim laps at the community pool this Saturday, a practice of reclaiming my self identity, and it worked! The water supported me, made me buoyant, its pressure surrounded and comforted me. And I could move! I put those flippers on and hauled ass across the pool. When do I move fast through a task with a toddler? Never. For example, simply walking from one room to the other to get my clothes on and pick up/put away a few things as I go is interrupted by my toddler’s questions and demands and this and that and climbing on me and jumping off the bed and pulling everything out from the closet and needing to follow me and be held. It’s exhausting; I lose momentum and motivation to accomplish or clean or “do” by midday. Anyways, water therapy to move freely and be supported felt great.
I was a swim team kid growing up. At 9 years old I was carrying a towel, bathing suit, and goggles in a plastic Lucky’s bag alongside my friends walking to and from swim practice. In high school I remember selling candy bars to pay for my swim parka and riding my bike in the dark to the early morning workouts before school started. In college our team traveled for swim meets, and I was coached on technique and greater life lessons that apply to being an athlete and so on. So being a swimmer has been part of my identity long before I became a mother. Today I drew from that and reclaimed a sense of self, and the exercise felt great.
Something happened at the pool that was not part of my intention, but a welcome surprise. Someone saw me swimming and invited me to join and even coach the local Master’s swim team. They complimented my swimming ability saying I was a really good swimmer — that I made it look effortless. They were surprised when I shared that I don’t swim often these days.
Maybe I’ll join the Master’s swim team and even find some adult friends and ward off the social isolation that comes with being a stay-at-home mommy, or at the very least, I’ll keep up with the Saturday lap swimming. Another perk I almost forgot to mention is that after the swim, I have A SHOWER TO MYSELF as long as I want, use all my products, get dressed as slowly as I want, in this huge locker room instead of a cramped space filled with bath toys. Score!
I found my identity with water therapy and found refuge in the community pool locker room shower. Try it for yourself!