When you’re a parent as well as a triathlete, you quickly learn that life isn’t always like that Under Armour Commercial: Sometimes it’s not just “what you do in the dark.” Sometimes it’s what you do in the dark and the light and whenever you can find an extra 30 minutes in your day.
When your typical day already consists of a 4 a.m. wake-up call to train, get the kids dressed, fed, and off to school, do some work, fit in another training session somewhere, more work, pick the kids up from school, more work, make dinner, help with homework, get everyone showered and to bed (and don’t forget walk and feed the dogs!), you start to wonder what you ever did with all that extra time before you had kids. You pretty much either feel like you’re nailing your training but not winning any parent of the year awards, or you’re nailing parenthood but are confident you won’t see any podiums anytime soon.
If this sounds at all familiar, then here are my five tips from one mom to another for staying sane, rolling with the punches and being as balanced as possible:
- Don’t be afraid to look like a crazy person setting up your trainer at your kids’ lacrosse tournaments. Those freaking tournaments are all day long on the weekends! Chances are when the other parents find out you regularly pay $800 to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, and run 26.2 miles, they are going to think you’re off your rocker anyway. No sense in hiding it. #theythinkyourecrazyanyway
- When you’re already running around in the morning like a chicken with its head cut off trying to figure out how you’ll get everything done, there will surely be a monkey wrench thrown in there somewhere. The dog will roll in mud or start to limp or throw up. If you are a regular at yoga class, then you can take some nice deep calming yoga breaths. If you’re like me and would rather run a marathon on the treadmill than do yoga, you can scream a few expletives and just try to do your best while continuing on with your day. #itwillallbeokay
- If you decide to sleep in past 4 a.m. and skip your morning swim to do it later in the day, be mentally prepared for the school nurse to call and tell you your child has a fever and needs to be picked up. Without fail, it happens #everysingletime.
Stressed out and feeling like you’re failing at everything? Don’t get on Facebook! I repeat, do not get on Facebook. Everyone’s life looks perfect on Facebook. Don’t worry, they’re not really. #facebookisnotreallife
- Don’t be hard on yourself when all of the above happens and you finally get to race day and it takes literally everything you have just to finish and your kids look at you and say “Mom, why didn’t you win?” Kids: they say the darndest things. It just means they think you are awesome and that they have obviously never done an Ironman before. #theyloveyouanyway
If you can relate to any of these things, then don’t worry; you are not alone. It’s all about priorities and, for me, my family will always be #1 on that list. Triathlon is my passion and my hobby. No one is paying me to do this sport – quite the opposite actually. We should all be grateful that we *get* to do this sport that we love so much.
I will never have a job as important as being a mom to my two amazing boys. While the days are long, the years most definitely are short. Keep leading by example and showing your kids the value of working hard, and having big goals and big dreams and the courage to pursue them.
Just like when I’m riding my Dimond, it’s all about being #BrilliantUnderPressure. And if all else fails, just tell them the day mommy qualifies for Kona they’ll all get to go to Hawaii! Chances are then they’ll ask you every single day why you haven’t qualified yet, which will provide some extra motivation. #trustmeonthis
Alli LaRochelle is getting ready to smash Ironman Lake Placid later this year.