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Swim Mom: A Work Life Balance
Feb 10, 2019

Topic: Swim Lessons 

Hey mommas. If you’ve managed to find a few spare minutes to read this, then you’re already winning. I know spare time isn’t something you come by easily. I know that because I too, am one of you. Let me start by making it clear that I am no expert in parenting, nor have I mastered what many so eloquently refer to as “work life balance”. I’m just another momma trying to do my best in juggling all the things, all the time.

A little about me…

Stephanie Burns at Houston Swim Club

My name is Stephanie and I am a mom of two awesome kids – an 11-year-old son and a 7-year-old daughter. I’m also a wife, sister, daughter, aunt, friend, mentor and leader at Houston Swim Club - Sharpstown. I’ve been lucky enough to have grown into the person I am today all while working for the best swim school in Houston for the past 22 years. Don’t try to do the math. I started working when I was 10.

Baseball MomLife is crazy. My kids are crazy. My husband is (sometimes) crazy. Work can be crazy. I am crazy… but I wouldn’t have it any other way. The juggling act that takes place every day is what keeps me going. There are many days when I feel confident that adding “circus performer” to my resume would be a great idea. I’m a chaos coordinator, and I love it! I have wonderful teammates in both my personal life and work life, which makes the chaos that much more manageable. And, just to make sure there is enough “crazy” in my life… I’m also a sports mom. And many of you know how that goes! I’m a baseball mom. I’m a football mom. I’m a basketball mom. But the role I hold most dear is: I’m a swim mom.

You see, swimming was my sport. I developed my love for it right here in this little neighborhood pool in Sharpstown where many of your children are doing the same. My view on swimming is a little different than others simply because it’s been such a big part of my life. Learning to swim wasn’t an option for my children. Of course, I hoped that they would learn to love the sport as I did and would one day have interest in participating in it competitively, but that wasn’t my ultimate goal. Making sure they become comfortable, confident swimmers who have a love and respect for the water was my top priority. Lucky for me, my daughter has begun to follow in my footsteps and the smell of chlorine is present in our home. 

HSC Parent Child ClassI can remember my son’s first parent/child lesson. It was so awesome to finally be on the other side and participate in the lesson as a parent rather than as an instructor. Did I dread putting a bathing suit on my tired mom body? Absolutely, but I’m here to tell you, it was worth it. I am one of those crazy moms who loved the weekly 30-minute lesson with my babies and was truly sad when they progressed to a “big kid” class. That transition was always bittersweet, but I knew that it was in their best interest to move on and learn to trust the instructor without me being present. Did my kids have hard lessons and cry because I wasn’t there? Yes. Did it break my heart? You better believe it. Did they overcome those hard times? Most definitely. I trusted in the process and in the instructors to do their very best taking care of my babies and helping them grow. Teaching them to swim was just icing on the cake. That is the biggest thing that sets HSC apart from the rest – when we say “We LOVE your kids.”, we mean it from the bottom of our hearts.

You would think that enrolling my own children in swim lessons was easy given that I worked here. Surely, I could find the perfect class day and time and could easily get them to their swim lessons every week, right? Wrong! There were many times that it was challenging for me too. Packing the swim bag, coming in for an early morning swim lesson, then taking my son to daycare, and coming back to finish the work day… Or stopping in the middle of a busy afternoon at work to go pick up my daughter and bring her back for a 6:00 swim lesson… Or leaving work early on a Monday to make it to the swim meet on time in the sweltering heat of Houston summers… It’s been tough!

My kids got sick, they missed swim lessons due to schedule conflicts, and they took breaks for a few months because it was just impossible to do it all. So, I get it. At HSC, we ALL get it. And we’re here to help. Do you need to miss today’s lesson because you have a teacher conference for your first grader? No problem. We’ll schedule a make-up and you can come tomorrow or the next day or next week instead. Need to take the month of July off because you just can’t figure out how to juggle summer camps and the family vacation you’ve been planning for six months? No problem. We’ll be here when you’re ready to start back up! That’s one of the awesome things about having indoor heated pools and offering a year-round program. We swim ALL the time! As I sit and type this, it’s 40 degrees outside, but our pools are full of kiddos swimming in warm water and working with cool teachers to become stronger, safer swimmers. It’s true, summer swimmers really are made in the winter!

Swim Momma at Houston Swim Club

I firmly believe that youth sports play an important role in developing our kids, and I know I’m not alone in that sentiment. It’s the reason why so many of us continue to commit to crazy practice schedules, year-round swim lessons, additional private lessons, carpools, late night swim meets, weekend baseball tournaments, volunteer obligations, snack duty, uniform washing…and, not to mention the additional cost of it all.

We add all of these responsibilities on top of our “real jobs”.

For some, that “real job” is being a stay-at-home mom and working endlessly to take care of babies and the million other things that are required to maintain a happy, (somewhat) organized home. Forget about a clean one. Marie Kondo does not live here. Laundry fairy, anyone? Let me know if you find a good one. And why are we the only ones who can change the roll of toilet paper, put dirty dishes away, feed the dog and replace the air filters every month?? It can be exhausting y’all. Big shout out to all the moms who are told they’re “lucky” because they don’t have to work and can “just stay at home all day with the kids”. Ever since my oldest was born, I’ve joked with my husband that I wanted to be one of those moms. Like 11 years later I’m still teasing him about it, but who am I kidding? I wouldn’t make it out alive. Mommas, we see you and your hard work. You’re killing it!

Working at Houston Swim ClubFor myself, and many of you, working outside of the home is where our calling is. This adds a whole new dimension to the mom work life balancing act. We’re usually the first ones up in the morning - packing lunches, checking homework folders, packing the swim bag for the 6:00 swim lesson, finding missing shoes, refereeing sibling arguments, carpooling, giving last minute reminders to listen to teachers and be nice to friends, followed by blowing kisses as they jump out of the car and hurry into their day, without a care in the world. Whew. We’re only a few hours into the day and we’re already tired. We shift mental gears and enjoy a (now cold) cup of coffee as we make the commute to our “real job”.

We get to work, mentally push all the mom and family responsibilities aside, and tackle the day. If you’re as lucky as I am to have a career that you truly love, then you know how much easier that makes things. Our work days may look different – some of us may work 9-5 and some 7-7. Regardless of our schedules, we all work diligently to address the list of career responsibilities and commitments so that we leave at the end of the day with a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment.

We leave work and switch mental gears once again as we return home to our families. We finish out the day working in our real, full-time, 24-hour “mom jobs”. Dinner, homework, baths, bedtime stories, goodnight kisses all get squeezed into a span of a few hours. If we’re lucky, we’ve also managed to carve out a little bit of time at the end of the day for ourselves. Even if that means eating leftovers in peace and quiet or taking 30 minutes to watch a TV show you recorded weeks or maybe even months ago. Whew. We made it! We fall into bed completely exhausted and welcome the hours of rest ahead that will allow us to get up tomorrow…and do it all over again.

Mom SelfieWe question why we do it all. We do it for our kids. We do it because we want the very best for them. We want them to be successful. We want them to understand that life isn’t easy, and that putting in the hard work is rewarding in and of itself. Our kids may not understand the struggles we go through to make it all happen on a daily basis, but our hope is that one day they’ll look back and appreciate all we did. I frequently ask my Mom how she and my Dad did it. And more often than not her answer is, “I don’t really remember. We just did it.” So, the things that seem so hard during this season of our lives won’t even be a clear memory when our kids are grown, so we should really stress less over it. I realize that is MUCH easier said than done, and I should probably learn to take my own advice, but it’s so true.

We question whether or not we’re doing this whole mom thing right. Am I really balancing it all as well as I should be or could be? Did I make the right decisions today? Is my son upset because I yelled at him right before bed? Is my daughter really enjoying swim team or is she doing is just because she knows I want her to? Did I remember to tell my husband I loved him? Was I the best mom, wife, employee, boss that I could be today? Sometimes the answers are yes, and sometimes they are no, but the important thing to remember is it’s ok; we’re not perfect and tomorrow is a new day.

It’s so easy to get caught up in all the day-to-day things and forget to stop and look at the big picture. So, mommas, I encourage you to take a moment. Stop. Look. Listen. Breathe. Give yourself some grace. Pat yourself on the back. Be grateful for the big picture – for YOUR big picture. You’re doing a great job with this whole mom work life balance thing.

Infant Swimming at Houston Swim Club

At Houston Swim Club, we understand the struggle. We’re walking right next to each of you in this crazy, busy thing called life and we’re here to help make it all a little bit easier. It takes a village and we’re so thankful to be a small part of yours. We love your kids. And we love you, too.

Written by: Stephanie Burns, Site Director at Houston Swim Club – Sharpstown

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