As a mom of 5 I am constantly reminded that there is no one way to parent, no set of rules to follow and you will do a good job. No guarantee that what worked for one kid works for the next. With each kid I try my best to parent them how they need, to be what they need. But in total honesty it is hard, hard to know if what you are doing is right or even working or what’s best. So when I mess up as a parent I try to learn from it and do better not only for that child but for all my kids.
I have reached the point where I only have one left at home with me during the day, all the others are school aged. I home school preschool so that means one more year of her at my side and I am using that time wisely. I remember thinking there was plenty of time for my daughter to learn things so no need to jump into activities. While I still believe that is true and my kids don’t start sports until they are in school, swim lessons is the exception. Instead of looking at swim lessons as a sport I needed to remember swimming is a life skill and one that is better off learned at a young age. I started my youngest at Goldfish Swim School just before her 3rd birthday and it has been amazing. Her oldest sister was entering first grade and a non-swimmer and that was incredibly stressful for me. Not only did I worry about her safety but she had aged out of most lessons and we had missed our window of time to learn easily. We lucked out with an amazing life guard who gave her private lessons but I vowed to never have a kid that old and not swimming again!
Schedules, well they have gone out the window! I remember the days when it all revolved around nap time and bedtime. Eventually each of my kids got better at sleeping on the go and being flexible with bed time and bed time routines. My youngest is an early riser now which works great since she has been driving her sisters to school daily since she was 2 weeks old!
Play dates, this kid hardly has them and I see the missed benefits. Having play dates has become difficult since most of my friends are back at work or their kid is in preschool. This means that I have to put her in more activities to create play dates for her. She doesn’t have multiple sisters home all day to play with her when friends aren’t available so we have to seek out opportunities for play.
There are days I mourn what she missed out on by not being one of my first but there are also many ways she has benefited from being the baby of a big family!
Thank you to Goldfish for providing my kids with swim lessons, I am a Goldfish Swim School partner, all opinions are my own.