Have I become one of ‘Those’ Mums?

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Today I broke up with my four year old’s swimming teacher. Well, in actual fact she broke up with me and I am still furious about it.  This was such a shock as there have been many times in my life where I have not been able to hold my tongue when confronted with rude people. Look, admittedly I do have an extremely low tolerance for stupidity and even less tolerance for unnecessary rudeness or bad attitudes from complete strangers. I, like many others can also appreciate a bit of rudeness where rudeness is warranted. I am usually the first to throw out a few colourful f-bombs or go for in for the kill when I feel something to be unjust like my pet hate of people pushing in, but this lady or should I say Sergeant (I know this as she reminded me 99 times ‘I am ex-military you know’) really takes the cake. For the first time or maybe the second in recent years, I said NOTHING. I remained cheerful as I gritted my teeth. I tried to ignore the hot burning sensation of fury as I hurriedly dressed my son to leave, knowing he would be listening to every word to coming pouring from my mouth. I walked out in shock and at that point I was still unsure what to do.

Anyway between her outright rudeness, pretending she didn’t receive text messages or emails, talking to the children like ‘dogs’ or sorry ‘soldiers’, her ridiculous logic regarding make-up lessons and her insistence on me joining Facebook in order to communicate with her on any level, enough was enough. Today after my son continued to cry through her lesson she responded with ‘I can refund your money if your’re not happy, I have a waiting list and plenty of clients’. Excuse me crazy lady but isn’t this your job? You are getting paid a decent hourly rate to help children overcome a fear of water, not to create one!

In a way I am proud of the pleasant way in which I responded to her behaviour today. I contained my shock and simply sent an email accepting her offer to cancel our lessons if we weren’t happy, but then a part of me is feeling as though I have let my self down. Perhaps I should have told the truth in my cancellation email and told her exactly why we were cancelling.  There’s always a part of me that needs to fight the fight, but lately much of me says ‘ Is it really worth it?’. I know I would’ve walked away feeling like crap.

Later today, while researching other swim schools in the area I had a horrible thought that maybe I had just become one of ‘those mums’. The mums who fight for their children so hard that they become the habitual school hoppers, the soccer club leavers or the dance school deserters. Maybe I should have put up with her rudeness and returned the following week? Maybe my child should get used to being petrified and scared to death of another adult? Maybe it will build resilience? My heart tells me I did the right thing but my mind is still playing out the argument I should have had. He is only 4. I was disgusted that I had watched him in tears today as ‘she’ tried to blame his fear on ‘behaviour’ rather than that she was a cold, harsh nut case who needed to calm down a bit. We are not trying to qualify for the Olympics over here.My son had no fear of swimming until this lady took over the lessons a few weeks back. Fill in the blanks lady..I mean ‘sergeant’.

As a teacher, I am a huge advocate for challenging the comfort zones of a child, so would hope that I have been able to separate what is helping and what is hindering. I continually preach about the disabling consequences of parents rescuing children and making life ‘breezy’ with no hurdles to jump and removing fears to conquer. This type of ‘helicopter parenting’ results in generations of children who can’t solve a simple problem like finding a pencil, and generations who can’t apply for a job without mum and dad holding their hand at the interview (true story).

But alas, as the evening draws to close and  I finish writing this blog, I receive a rude reply from her saying only ‘money will be in your account in three working days’. There I was this afternoon constructing a polite and cheerful email to ensure our agreement ended on a positive note. What a waste of time. Just goes to prove that regardless of how much I have learnt to control my own behaviour, some people are just Assholes!

Surely someone else has gone through this,  or am I just one of those mums?


16 thoughts on “Have I become one of ‘Those’ Mums?

  1. I have taught kids swimming on and off for over 20 years. There is no reason for any swim teacher to make a child cry. Ever. You are not one of ‘those’ parents and it’s a terrible shame your son has had a bad experience. I suggest you pull him out of lessons for a term or two and in the meantime, take him swimming just for fun – unstructured play time in the water. Good luck 🙂

    • Kate, Thankyou so much for taking the time to reply:) That is what i was thinking, but then everyone has their own way of teaching so I didn’t know if it was just me! He has also only just returned to the pool after having grommets/ tonsillectomy etc so just expected some gentle reintroduction. I read this to my husband and he said ‘see there you go, exactly what I’ve been telling you’.
      Thanks again

  2. From what I witnessed at his first lesson back after his op, I was disturbed at her attitude and as you know I’m definitely not a helicopter parent. I’m glad you’ve made the decision to cancel. Swimming is supposed to be fun too….not something he dreads. Hopefully you will find another teacher soon and he will settle back into it with someone with a more caring and nurturing attitude. You have shown much restraint….I’m not so sure I would have been able to hold my tongue with someone so unprofessional and clearly no skills in dealing with children who don’t relate to her ‘Sargent major’ style.

  3. You mean one of those mums that does the right thing? Then yes, it sounds like you are. A military environment works on adults who understand the need for harshness and barking. For children? Not so much. Well done.

  4. There’s the problem “Sergeant” she sounds like the freak off of prisoner. Maybe a better suited position for her would be boot camp for the teenage delinquents. I would certainly give the swimming centre a call and let them know your real reasons for for pulling out, they may have more complaints and her file will be getting thicker and thicker. Oh well done for having so much restraint, I doubt I would have been able to hold my tongue in that situation.

  5. I think her business will decline by numbers and she will have to do some self reflection eventually. Let her get on with it, I wouldn’t waste my time or energy someone like that, she will never except any blame or criticism , what she says goes! lol Sergeant Major remember. 🙂

  6. Wow, I’m fuming! What a hell cat! You ABSOLUTELY did the right thing. Perhaps you could serve up a little review of her swimming school on your blog??? Jus sayin 😉 xxx

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