Mommy Guilt

author : Jerrykyc
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The goal in overcoming mommy guilt is to be able to train for and participate in triathlons while also being comfortable with the level of love and nurturing that must be given to the children.

Certainly one must wonder what a guy is doing writing an article about “Mommy Guilt”.  I was at a book signing at a local triathlon store and a lady came up and she knew that I was writing articles for Beginner Triathlete.  Her first statement was that she loved the website.  From that I concluded that she was pretty intelligent and well informed.  Her second statement was to ask me to write an article about overcoming “mommy guilt”.    Immediately after her asking for an article about mommy guilt, I was surrounded by the mommy triathletes that were in the store, all of them discussing the subject.  I immediately noted that self-preservation demanded that I broach the subject.  I am not sure that I can do it justice; however, I can certainly pave the way for subsequent discussion on the subject.

What is “mommy guilt”?  There is an ever increasing number of mommies who participate in the sport of triathlon.  Being a mommy necessitates that there is also a child, or more than one, involved in the training for and participation in triathlons.   As all of us are well aware, triathlon training involves a tremendous amount of time.   So does being a mommy, I presume.  (NOTE:  actually I was a single dad for many years and have a basic understanding of some of the needs but certainly not to the level of moms).  So the goal in overcoming mommy guilt is to be able to train for and participate in triathlons while at the same time being comfortable with the level of love and nurturing that must be given to the children.   Good training is just not possible when the mind is still at home with a child that is feeling ignored.

I believe that the main aspects of overcoming mommy guilt that I derived from the discussion concerned the following aspects:

  1. Minimize training time commensurate with desired outcomes (in other words, maximize training time efficiency)
      
  2. Schedule training time to provide the least interruption to the children’s schedule
      
  3. Maximize the participation of the children into the triathlon training and racing (make them physically or emotionally a part of it)
      
  4. Insure that time not in training is value time with the child or children
     
  5. Recognize that there will be unscheduled interruptions to the training schedule due to children’s issues and keep the priorities in the right place

Minimizing training time is simply trying to come to grips that as a mommy you do not have all of the time in the world to train inefficiently.  The need here is to insure that every training session has a goal and that all of the individual goals are objective oriented.  This is accomplished by finding the best training plan available and tailoring it to meet your time schedule and availability.  Again, a good starting point is to use the schedules offered by Beginner Triathlete.

Scheduling the efficient training to provide the least interruption to the children’s schedules is known as accommodation.  Other than professional triathletes, triathlon is generally a bit lower on the priority list than other life requirements and certainly lower than tending to the children.  Though the local group ride or run may be when you would like to train, recognize that you, like most of us, do have to accommodate the real life situation.  Be happy with the group activities that you can make and never bemoan those that you may have to miss because of the children.  You will enjoy both the child and the occasional group training much more.

From the onset let the child, of whatever age, be a part of the triathlon training.  This does not mean that they have to participate, only that they have to know that it makes you happy and that your happiness is so much greater when they too are happy that you are doing it.  Do not be afraid to let them know that this is good for you.  And when you walk in the door after training, do not forget to let them know that you missed them.  Does this sound crazy?  I think not.  If they are a part of you happiness and they know that you appreciate their support, things will be much easier.  This is not going to be so easy for teens, particularly teenage girls.  I know because I spent my time as a single dad to a teenage girl and that is tough.

If you are like most of us, when you are not in training your mind often goes to triathlon and there are discussions with friends about the sport.  While that is natural, insure that the priorities stay straight.  Don’t slight the time with the child.  Once triathlon becomes the enemy of or the competitor to the child, it is very hard to undo. 

Finally, we all know that children are going to cause, intentionally or unintentionally, interruptions to your training schedule.  Accept it without anger.  This is not easy.  When you have your heart set on a long ride and a brick or on an open water swim, and when you are dressed and ready to walk out the door to train, it is very difficult to not be a bit upset when the child has an emergency.  Again - priorities. 

As a final point, we have all seen the mothers pushing the running strollers.  To me this is simply amazing.  And we have seen the guys and gals with the bike strollers.  Today there are a lot of ways that may help to balance the need for training with the need for nurturing; however, life and training is never so simple when others are involved. 

Overcoming mommy guilt is all about managing priorities.  The happiest mommy triathletes seem to me to be those that have balanced home life with triathlon life.  You should not accept mediocrity in either part, but it takes effort.


About the book “Chasing Caterpillars

The book, “Chasing Caterpillars”, speaks to those persons who are standing on the edge, thinking about doing a triathlon, or even training for one, but still hesitant to take the plunge. It is a light, fun and motivating book designed to entice newcomers or wannabe’s to go ahead and just do it. The book relates the life experience of the author with the adventures and misadventures that befall the new triathlete. It particularly relates to those of the over 50 age group that have serious doubts. Fear not-- so says the book!

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date: July 2, 2013

Jerrykyc

Jerry Kyckelhahn, is far from a life-long athlete. Compared to the athletes of today, Jerry got a delayed start into triathlon, a delay of about 50 years. His experiences and late entry into sports ultimately led to a Pan American Continental Master’s championship in track sprints and finally to a USAT long course triathlon national championship. But his focus has never been on winning but rather on participation and health and fitness. He has written many previous local and national articles most of which have addressed how to have fun in triathlon and biking.

avatarJerrykyc

Jerry Kyckelhahn, is far from a life-long athlete. Compared to the athletes of today, Jerry got a delayed start into triathlon, a delay of about 50 years. His experiences and late entry into sports ultimately led to a Pan American Continental Master’s championship in track sprints and finally to a USAT long course triathlon national championship. But his focus has never been on winning but rather on participation and health and fitness. He has written many previous local and national articles most of which have addressed how to have fun in triathlon and biking.

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