Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Momlympics

I've always loved the Olympics, even long before I ever became an Olympian.  I have never seen a Winter Olympics in person, and I was really hoping that Sochi would be my first one.  But alas, this precious little boy decided he wanted to be here in time to watch the Games, so we're doing that as a family in front of the tv at home.

Zadok on his birthday.

Happy little guy.

Growing so fast!

As I've been watching some of the Olympics, I find myself captivated by certain stories.  They always pull you in with those inspiring and heartbreaking personal stories and of course those P&G Thank You Mom commercials that have this mom crying like my baby every time they come on.  For the record, I'm blaming it on hormones. This is one of my favorite ones because I have a mom like this who woke me up at 4am to get to practice, supported me through every up and down, and was there to cheer me on at every meet no matter how I finished.  And now I'm a mom, hoping I can be to my children even just a fraction of the mom mine has been (and still is) for me.

Watching the Olympics also stirs up a little something else in me.  I can't help but get the itch to train and compete again.  I guess that's normal when you've dreamed about and worked toward something for most of your life; it leaves a mark.  But as I look at my new little team, my three kids under three years old, I realize that they already have me training for my very own Momlympics.

Each morning I fall crawl out of bed before the sun is up.  I don't even have to set an alarm.  It must be a scientific fact that if you have three children, one will always wake up before the sunrise.  And that one early riser will likely wake up a sibling, maybe two.  Usually I hit the ground running because the wake up is followed by crying.  A good jog up a flight of stairs and down a hall before coffee, heck, before peeing is how a hard core momlympian begins a day of training.

Once all the kids are up but before breakfast, they already have me doing laps around the house.  Sometimes I march in formation with the kids.  Sometimes it's an all out race.  Other times I'm just frantically gathering clothes, diapers, hair brushes and other essentials so we can get ready for the day.  All in all, a good round of cardio to get the heart pumping.

Then we sit down for a nutritious breakfast and I finally get my coffee (decaf though, I am in training after all).  After breakfast my workout generally consists of some type of wrestling and weightlifting mixture.  Wrangling two 2-year-olds into clothes when they would rather be naked or stay in pjs should be an Olympic medal event.  Then to top it off with brushing and putting up tangled hair on sensitive heads, well, I'm usually ready for a break from my training after this workout.  But to keep me pushing through, my 3-week-old is generally ready to eat, fussy from eating or needing his eighth diaper change of the morning by this point in time. 

If we have an outing for the day, this is the window of opportunity.  I twirl and swoosh around the kitchen in my socks like Michelle Kwan on ice gathering snacks and filling up water cups.  I take off down the hallways like Usain Bolt to gather diapers, wipes and changes of clothes.  Then I slam dunk it all with a flying leap like Michael Jordan into the diaper bag.  I herd my littles to the mom-mobile in record time and convince them it's a great idea to get into their car seats. Snap, snap, clip, clip, slam the door and we're off like the Jamaican bobsled team!

Generally a public outing is a bit like low-key competition.  We're on display for all the world to see and judge us like armchair quarterbacks.  I have to be on my game, drumming up coherent words to speak to other adults while keeping my kids teammates in check throughout the course of the outing.  Once we cross the finish line and are heading back home, we can relax a little bit and maybe go over how our competition went.  Sometimes there are tears after a rough event.  Sometimes there are victory songs.  Sometimes my teammates just pass out from sheer exhaustion.

Nap time at our house can sometimes be the most difficult part of my training.  There are so many variables in this equation that every single day is completely different.  I have to dance on my toes ever so delicately to ensure that all three kids not only go to bed but sleep as well.  One misstep and our rhythm is gone, sometimes for the rest of the day.  This stage of training requires nerves of steel, patience nearly beyond my understanding, and flexibility to handle the unexpected mid-nap potty break or poop blowout.

Like many sports, the Momlympics is all about planning and preparation for the big goal.  And logistics is possibly the most important tool a mom can incorporate into her daily training.  An elite mom must learn not only how to multitask but how to juggle while multitasking.  Multitasking is doing several activities at the same time like talking on the phone, watching tv and listening to your children.  But juggling is a physical skill involving the manipulation of many objects at the same time, using one or many hands (and possibly feet).  So this might look more like holding a crying baby in one arm while bouncing him, holding a book in your other hand while reading it to a second child and fishing a toy out from under the couch with your foot for a third child... all at the same time.

Overall, the Momlympics consists of frequent low-key tune-up events and every so often a large scale, nerve wracking event like traveling.  Like the Olympics, there are tears of joy and defeat.  Sometimes you feel like a gold medal mom and the world should take notice.  Other times, you feel like you've run off course and can't even finish the race.  I think, however, it's most important to note that the Momlympics never ends and the rewards are far greater and longer lasting than gold.

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