• Kendra Richardson

Being a Dive Momma. Family and Fun.

Updated: May 15, 2018

Why I dive for my daughter and for you


For those of you that don’t know me, I am Mom to a spunky, opinionated, bad ass four-year-old that can bring a smile to anyone she meets. I am also a dive instructor (one of the many hats I wear). I was fortunate to be able to stay home with my daughter for the first several years of her life and I am eternally grateful that this was an option for us. Now, I’m sure that many of you moms out there can relate to me when I say that being a parent is the greatest gift that has ever been bestowed to me. It’s challenging, rewarding and gives an entirely new and wonderful perspective to the world. That being said…..you tend to lose a part of yourself when your entire world revolves around a small being. You may or may not forget what your name is as you are now referred to as “Zoey’s mom” by every single adult you meet. You may or may not forget what having personal space is like. And you may or may not consider wine to be your very best of friends. It does get you through some long nights after all. But no judgement.


When I took the leap to becoming a scuba diving instructor I had numerous and sometimes irrational worries about how I would make this all work. Was I abandoning my family to go play in the ocean? How could we possibly make this schedule work? Do I have enough remaining brain cells to pass the Instructor exam or were they all sucked away from parenting? Will the signature “Z's mom” suffice on the many papers I have to sign? Being the confrontational type person I am, I confronted those fears, gave them the bid “read between the lines” finger and soldiered into the great unknown. The benefits far out weighed the cost.


One of the most important things to me is having my daughter grow up with a deep and intrinsic love and respect for the ocean and for the environment. What’s the best way to make that happen? Lead by example of course! I want to be able to give her hands-on experience from the time she is a toddler to the time she learns to dive (and she WILL learn to dive dammit!). We started with swim lessons as a baby, beach visits, aquarium visits, boat experiences, pretty much anything that gets this girl out in nature and in the water. I bring home shells, sharks teeth, fish ID books and most importantly, stories. We pick up garbage that we see and we talk about why straws are terrible for the environment. We use paper instead of plastic (We try to use as little plastic as possible). When she gets a little older, we will volunteer with some of the many local environmental organizations and one day, one wonderful amazing day, she will learn to dive with me. At least that’s my dream. Kid’s do have a tendency to take your best laid plans and flush them down the toilet but, whatever.


One other thing that is important to me is having her know that while fear is a natural and acceptable feeling, it should never be the reason for not doing something. Again, leading by example. Was I afraid to delve into the world of instructing? Of course. I have people’s lives in my hands and that carries a pretty darn large responsibility. Am I the most knowledgeable person in the industry? Heck to the no! Even after all the standards, minimums, readings, experiences, etc. etc., there is so much more to learn. I have to recognize that I don’t know it all and there will be times when I have to say, “I don’t know”. Which will quickly be followed up with, “I’ll find out for you” FYI. This is a huge fear for me as I like to think I know everything.


Now the reason I bring up fear is twofold. One, as mentioned I want my daughter to know that fear is ok. Letting it keep you from your dreams, is not. Two, I hear SO MANY times, sadly mostly from women in particular, “oh I’ve wanted to try that but, I’m just so scared”. And I get it. I really do. But, letting fear hold you back from opening up the most fabulous world of sights, experiences and a damn awesome community is simply not ok in my book. As an instructor it’s my job to assist people in overcoming their fears. Of course, I can’t do all the work, there has to be a level of personal accountability. Instructors are trained to show you the gradual steps to mastering skills that will make diving enjoyable and not so scary.


In my not so humble opinion, diving is one of the best ways for us to show our children how to care for and observe the environment and create a community of life long friends. It’s also great exercise, it’s a way to destress and it’s a way to do something for ourselves. It’s all about leading by example. Let kids see you enjoying this incredible world of diving and they will get interested too. One of the best things I get to see is whole families diving together. It’s a way to stay connected as life gets more challenging and complicated. A way to detach from phones and computers and connect with each other again.


"diving is one of the best ways for us to show our children how to care for and observe the environment and create a community of life long friends"

Obviously, the hopes and dreams, thoughts and opinions I’ve been discussing here are my own. I take no claim to any other diver’s opinions or thoughts. But, I do know this, I personally want more than anything to have my daughter love the ocean as much as I do. I want her to recognize that she can enjoy it to the fullest, in ways that few others do. And I want her to understand that even though there may be fear, it’s worth it and I fully intend on paving the way for her. I think that other parents can relate to that as well.


I would LOVE to hear from other moms who dive and, most importantly,

I would LOVE to have more moms diving!





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sarasota

I am a mom, wife and scuba diver in Sarasota, Fl and I love to share my experience with others. I'm hoping to inspire other women and moms to take the plunge into this amazing underwater world.