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to wonder how you make the point your not a pushy mother to pushy mothers?

(50 Posts)
youarekidding Wed 22-Jun-11 10:58:02

My DS and I lived abroad until he was 2 yo, pool in communal area so very confident in water. Went to parent toddler swimming once a week when returned to UK and at 5yo he would 'swim' a lot but always under water so felt it time he learnt to swim on top. grin

Started local leisure centre lessons but group sizes were large and after research started DS with 'club' at same centre when he turned 6yo. (Dbro swam with them and was county/national medal winner so know they teach well)

DS has progressed quite quickly as he seems to have a flair for swimming.

Only problem is the other parents.

There are 5 classes (lessons are twice a week) in teaching pool. DS is in group 4. There are a variety of ages of children in each group but mainly seems children start at 4/5 in group 1 and leave group 5 by 8-10 yo.

There are so many pushy parents though who seem to insist on slating the way the strokes taught, boasting about there 5yo in group 5 and how they aren't moving up (everytime there are promotions) because its an age thing NOT on ability.

URGGG - Our children are young, they are learning a life skill, some will have it as a serious hobby, many will continue for excercise.

Thing is they seem to try and drag me into it with oh your DS is young too, he moves up quickly, when do you think he'll get to the 'club' group. (meaning big pool!)

When I say 'who knows' when x thinks he's ready, he's only 6 and may not want to train with a club I get replies that indicate they think my playing it cool is an act. FFS

AIBU to want to hide in changing room whilst DS swims (wouldn't as he wants me to watch) and really want to find elsewhere for him to swim. Except something tells me these parents are everywhere. <looks over shoulder>

Dozer Wed 22-Jun-11 11:02:36


AuntieMonica Wed 22-Jun-11 11:04:22

take a book?

Bramshott Wed 22-Jun-11 11:05:21

ipod and headphones?

youarekidding Wed 22-Jun-11 11:08:40

not a boast. Seroiusly pissing me off.

Like the idea of a book. My closest friends DD swims in group 5 and she has started coming earlier to talk to me and I stay after (DS plays with her other DD) to chat whilst her elder DD swims.

She feels the same as me about the other parents. (some I might add not all) but they seem to deliberatly come and sit by 'fresh meat' to have their conversation.

I just want DS to be a strong swimmer as we live near the sea.

Pagwatch Wed 22-Jun-11 11:10:24

People chose a safe subject in social situations. If you were in the school playground they would talk about other stuff.

Just nod along and open different topics of conversation. I strongly suspect that several will jump at the chance of talking about other things.

Because the only other possible scenario is that you are the only rational, loving, non pushy, non competitive mum. That isn't likely is it?

gethelp Wed 22-Jun-11 11:15:17

Learn a language and the only time you have to listen to the audio is at the pool, then you have to get away quickly after to get somewhere else. These women are everywhere and want everyone to be as insecure and tribal as they are.

exoticfruits Wed 22-Jun-11 11:19:57

I don't see a problem-nod, smile,change the subject.

Insomnia11 Wed 22-Jun-11 11:24:19

Ignore them. Take a book. Make a big W sign with your thumbs and index fingers and say "Whatever..." grin

I like the fact my kids are now learning to swim and they enjoy their lessons but I have to say I fecking hate taking them. It's on Friday evening and frankly I can't be arsed after a week at work then mad Friday rush around trying to do...all the stuff I do on Fridays.

The communal changing room temperature is set at about 35C and there isn't enough space so it's a complete scrum. Plus the fact I have to go in the pool as well with DD2 (2) for her Group 1 lessons hmm. Then we get in the pool and DD2 just constantly wants to swim off to where big sis is, or to go and see the baby in the group ("Want to see baby, see babeeeeeee!") just generally wants to swim off on her own and generallly not do anything we are supposed to be doing, so I get kicked and thumped for half an hour.

Then they weirdly, like no other pool I have known, have no steps (WTF?) so I have to haul myself out - if you can picture it I have a black and white swimsuit and am 12 stone (cough) odd and 5'7" - so think Orca at Florida theme park...then the kids swarm with 50 others to get a jelly sweet...then it's back in the sweat box, not don't put your towel in the puddle, leave the baby alone, are you not dressed yet...sit down so I can dry your feet...then we get outside...and BREATHE. Cue DDs taking half an hour to walk the 100 yards to the car as they are distracted by doing cartwheels and rolling down inviting grassy banks. Then we get home and I crack open the gin attempt to get them ready for bed.

Sorry to hijack. I feel better now. As you were. smile

Purplegirlie Wed 22-Jun-11 11:26:05

Just don't get drawn into any conversations that involve bragging or competition. Just nod, or say "good for him/her" if they're bragging about their offspring. Be cagey about how your child is doing. Like the others have said, the book idea works well too!

youarekidding Wed 22-Jun-11 11:27:10

Don't do playground drop offs as I work and DS goes with school club by minibus from a local centre.

Is this my first foray into playground politics? (friend in same situ as me re work etc).

I did try and change subject to holidays a few weeks ago. Backed off when that turned into a comp about who goes where and whos DC swam the most in the pool and who looked better compared to others in pool of similar age. <sigh> Not sure how it came about as I started off mentioning weather and how I hoped to take DS camping if nice in summer hols. hmm

Met a lovely mum the other night who was so normal. She was far more confident than me and actually asked one of the parents why they sent their DC to lessons when they weren't happy with the teaching. grin

Pagwatch Wed 22-Jun-11 11:31:27

See, you found one...

It is all about insecurity. People want to fit in and want their child to fit in.

And I think we quite like to imagine that all the other mums are some big amorphous clump of pushy cliquey types. But they are all just individuals like you and there will be others also just wanting to chat about random things and let the teachers do their thing.

Imagining that you are the only sensible non competetive mum is fine except that it require you to make sweeping judgements about all the others -some of whom will just be trying to fit in.

Book is good though grin

youarekidding Wed 22-Jun-11 11:39:56

pag your right. Its only about 3 parents (mums) out of the 11 dc's in DS group. They just seem to sweep through the viewing area chewing the ears off of others. Mostly we talk in groups or 3/4 due to seating so they seem to deploy themselves 1 per group. grin

Going to make my 'list' of topics to discuss. smile

Thinking TV programmes as unless someones DC is a budding actor/ress and I've failed to notice it can't turn into a competition. Now what programmes are OK to talk about?

I know I should be watching DS but his lessons are 2x1/2 hr weekly and seriously he doesn't do much differently one lesson to the next.

Plus tbh I would have no idea if he was doing it 'right' or not. blush

Pagwatch Wed 22-Jun-11 11:48:32


Sorry, can't help.I don't have time for tv what with getting my very talented dd to her gym classes.....

toddlerama Wed 22-Jun-11 11:53:49

You say they are keen to monopolise 'fresh meat' as you see it. Perhaps they are trying to be friendly to the new person in the group? I know lots of braggers. Simply do not engage with that part of the conversation. Let the silence hang awkwardly and they quickly move the conversation on....and don't do it with you anymore! grin

paisleyII Wed 22-Jun-11 11:57:57

i get this when i take dd to piano - she only goes as she has always loved tinkering on the old joanna' (her granny is a pianist and dh is a prof keyboard player) which is why she is learning however when i take her the other mothers stand there rambling on about the same old shite to each other and there is no way of getting away from it - seems to me that their offspring are mostly dragged there in preparation for scholarships (dd's piano teacher has mentioned this to me, she says alot of the kids she teaches don't want to be there but are pushed into it). honestly, what comes out of the mothers mouths - scholarship this and second instrument that (i have since learned that to get a music scholarship you need to be able to play two instruments) - dd is playing just piano because it makes her happy, we don't pressure her to do it. alot of the kids look really bored and that they don't want to be there whilst their over enthusiastic parents look on and boast to each other which exam they are either taking or just taken and the passes they got, ffs (once i have dropped dd off i go and sit in the car rather than stand and listen to their bullshit, but there is no escaping from it when i collect her......)

greencolorpack Wed 22-Jun-11 11:58:32

Take a notebook and write a droll novel using the dialogue you hear from these people. Personally I love the people watching, the psychology of it all.

I remember when children were at mums and tots, there would be mums there going on and on about "what can your child do? My child can't do that yet!" and I was all "yeah whatever!" inside my head, but out loud I was polite and tried to show an interest. I couldn't understand it, as long as they're all walking and talking eventually then what does it matter?

Bast Wed 22-Jun-11 12:06:50

You think they think you're pretending at playing it cool?

I think you're over-thinking grin

Ignore or change subject. I love Pag's input but I'd probably ignore, even if I got the feeling they were feeling I was intentionally playing it cool, rather than rising above.

TheCrackFox Wed 22-Jun-11 12:14:23

I think you area over thinking it all as it is just inane chat to pass the time of day.

youarekidding Wed 22-Jun-11 12:24:57

I probably am overthinking. grin

grin @ Pag.

youarekidding Wed 22-Jun-11 12:26:56

Your right about inanae chit chat. Just wish it wasn't centered around tooth loss numbers, which group at school/swimming.

Maybe its me. As a LP I get 1 hour a week when he swims and want to chat about shit not what DS can and can't do, and whos best a x,y and z.

mummytime Wed 22-Jun-11 12:29:20

Why not just greet him after his lesson with a Greggs Sausage roll (still in the bag) and a fruit shoot?

To be honest it is probably just 1 or 2, and the others are agreeing to keep them quiet.

vintageteacups Wed 22-Jun-11 12:35:36

Just tell the person next to you that you've forgetten when the last lesson is at the end of term and then they'll tell you the answer and then you ask if they're going on holiday etc - then you can chat about other stuff and not lesson stuff.

I thought your post was going to be about how they all think you're a pushy parent but actually you're saying they are all pushy parents. Just be you and don't care what they say.

Weird how lessons are done on age though - my childrens' lesson are all done on ability so Ds(6) has children who are 4 in his class and others who are 8 - if they can do everything on the lesson plans over the term, they move up to next level. I would be a bit hmm if they stopped kids moving to the next group because they weren't old enough.

Lizcat Wed 22-Jun-11 12:49:04

Some of us hide in private swim schools in private swimming pools until we have no choice, but join club swimming. DH and I go together we chat to each other sitting far away from other parents so we don't have to discuss DD with them.

youarekidding Wed 22-Jun-11 12:52:51

No- they are done on ability. Lessons start for children from 4.9yo. Mostly they progress and join 'club' groups at about 8ish. As some start later, can swim etc when they start they get put in group for their abilty. DS is in group 4 - there are 6-11 yos in that group.

Its not the club keeping dc's in same group due to age just the parents using it as an excuse why their brilliant dc's haven't moved up.

I am going to try really hard to change the subject, or do the nod but silence (shouldn't be too difficult as have laryngitis atm and no voice at all!). Holidays are out as convo - tried that and failed.

Going to try, tv, books, films etc. Anything where finance/ability/size does not matter and includes everyone - or I feel I may implode. grin

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