Thursday, July 10, 2014


Parenting is like a Ironman triathlon. Stay with me on this...even though I've never competed in an Ironman (or any triathlon, or even a marathon, or really a race of any kind), I've had two kids for a while now, and I feel qualified to make the comparison anyway.

There are a ton of Ironman competitions, but I think they try to hold a lot of them in warm weather and scenic locations, and not just so people won't freeze their competition-loving butts off in the pool (river? ocean? I might be ill informed to make this comparison, after all. But like a race competitor, there is no stopping me…) I'm pretty sure even the Ironman organizers know that without a decent view in a desirable location, nobody would want to attempt this nonsense. Which brings me to my first corollary: It's a good thing kids are cute, or no one would even attempt the marathon challenge that it is to raise them.

Parenthood requires focus, diligence, training and freaking hard, hard work.  It's metaphorical running, biking, and swimming, for miles. (and miles, and miles, and miles.)  But thankfully, there's another part of parenting that's filled with beautiful vistas. Momentary breaks in the action when you can look around and realize: Holy crap. We're in paradise. These are the moments that provide your second wind, and help you to keep pushing when the uphill climb begins again.

 But one of the struggles in my Iron-mom race (you know, besides the obvious fatigue, exhaustion, weariness and other synonyms for So Damn Tired...) is that I often feel like I'm supposed to be running the race and enjoying the view at the same time. This pressure of course causes me to feel that I'm failing at both things. I'm losing the race, and I'm missing the scenery. People are always chiming in that moms should Slow down! Look around! Soak it up! But then again- in order to actually manage the day-to-day of my life, I don't get to meander, and pause, and smell the proverbial roses. I have to hurry up, keep pushing, put my head down and work.

There are no medals at the end of parenting, (actually there's no end of parenting at all) but most people aren't into the sport of triathlon for the metals. They're in it for the experience. To be a part of something big. To scale a challenge. To prove they can do it. No, I can't relate one iota to wanting to push myself to the physical limit, (or wear a wetsuit in public- that's a whole other physical limit), but then again- parenting does come with an epically high level of required commitment. As well as a similar potential for public humiliation. So I guess in some regard, I have signed on for the ultimate endurance test. And while reaching peak performance (whatever that is in this fuzzy realm) is not my primary goal, I do understand the desire to excel. To record a personal best. To be a part of a big, scary, daunting, exhilarating challenge.

In the end though, I don't want to run such an efficient, swift race, that I don't remember what the salt water tasted like. Okay wait, that's a bad analogy, because saltwater tastes terrible. But I do want to be able to look back and see that even when my legs were sore, and my lungs were burning, I was still surrounded by beauty. Even when I cursed the situation, and swore that I would never do this again, questioning who got me in this mess in the first place (, I was still living the dream. I was doing something of greatness. Something that not everyone has the opportunity to do.
I'm sure there are people who complete a triathlon and brag about their time, but probably more often it's enough that they just did it. So while I'd like my kids to be well mannered, smart, on a schedule, adorably dressed, etc. and so on, and so on forever...In the end, I really just want my kids- plus the memories that go along with raising those kids. And when the bulk of this race is finished, say, in 18 years or so, I want to be able to look at my partner, high five, cry, laugh, and collapse into a heap of triumphant exhaustion, proudly exclaiming "We did it!"

I'm running the race of my life, and each day I strive to take one more step, one more pedal, one more push through the lows, and appreciate the highs. Sometimes the current is against me, and sometimes I get lucky with the wind at my back. No matter what though, I keep going. Because that's how Iron-moms roll.

Are you in the race too? Chime in...let me know how you're doing! 
Leave a comment, or find me on social media: instagram | facebook | twitter | pinterest
P.s. For more mama thoughts- check out my podcast about perfection, thoughts on two under two, how I manage being a working mom, or just read all my motherhood musings.


  1. That is the perfect analogy. Simply perfect.

    1. you would think so...because you actually like to run! :)