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Mum’s Journey to Swing

“When you’re a full time Mum it can be really difficult to find time for yourself.”

“I had my kids young. My first one, Riley, came when I was 21 and before I’d got over having him I was pregnant again with Jessie.”

“I was just beginning to get used to juggling my household duties with raising these two when I got pregnant with Sasha.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: none of this sounds like very good planning and you’re right.

The truth is at the age of 21 I’d not even begun to understand what I wanted to with my life and then, before I knew it, I’d met someone and gotten myself a family. One thing led to another and before I knew it I was busier than I’d ever been in my life, desperately trying to keep a 4-bedroom house clean whilst raising three young kids and getting dinner on the table every night: needless to say I didn’t have time to think about what I wanted to do. It was all I could do to keep my head above the water in those early years.

You might think that as a young Mum with relatively little life experience I would’ve struggled, that the pressure would inevitably get to me and I would break down, but the opposite is true.

Mothering became my craft. I knew the best times to catch my kids unaware with their baths, I planned dinners weeks ahead of schedule and I had the low down on the best oven cleaners, so my spotless home was soon the envy of the neighbourhood. I was a full time Mum in every sense of the word and that experienced armed me with a huge variety of skills.

Of course, as all wizened Mothers will tell you (usually with a sardonic yet tragic tear in their eyes):

‘They don’t stay young forever.’ 

I spent the best part of 20 years raising my kids, keeping the house clean and maintaining a relationship with my husband, during this time I’d become a master strategist and logistician, however there was one thing I didn’t see coming. I’d spent so long looking to the future of my kids that I’d neglected to think of what to do with myself when they left home. At the age of 42 I had at least another four decades to look forward to but nothing to do.

Thankfully it was at this time that I discovered Swing Dancing.

Jessie was home from Uni for the weekend and wanted to go shopping at a Vintage Fair that was in town, so I went along with her. As we browsed the clothes and knick-knacks we heard some lively jazz music spring from the corner of the room. I left Jessie thumbing through records and drifted over to the source of the music. As I turned a corner I saw a flash of polka-dots and an array of bright white smiles. There were four couples whirling, jumping and jiving – I was surprised initially, I didn’t think young people danced like this anymore. Then I looked closer and saw they weren’t young, they were my age!

I took a flyer from one of them after the show and the next week I was learning the Lindy Hop with all of them. In a moment I’d found a group of new friends and a hobby that would keep me busy for the rest of my life.”

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