When Momma's Happy, Everyone's Happy--Right?

author : mamakt
comments : 0

Be a better mother/wife/employee by putting yourself first.

My stats:

  • Background: I work as a teacher and tutor, mother of three girls 10, 7, 4. Husband works M-Sat.
  • Goals: Sprint tris in June and Sep, 24 hr. MTB race in June, various assorted other events thru summer
  • Time constraints: M-F have to be done and home by 6:15 am, Sat.short window in the am and again in the pm, Sundays and weekday pm's are a week-by-week thing. Got kids activities, homework, grocery shopping, dinner, family time etc.

I LOVE doing triathlons. They give me a focus, a way to measure my progress and a day to really reap the benefits of all my training. However, in triathlon, even with a full racing schedule, I only spend about 1% of my time in events. That leaves 99% of my time and effort focused on training.  It happens to work out pretty well that I really enjoy training. It combines many elements of what makes me a happy person: being outside, challenging my mind and body, having fun with other people, etc. And everyone knows that when Momma's happy, everyone's happy, right?

Wrong. Sometimes it is SO hard to make time for training, but not because the time isn't there. It's because I forget how important my own wellness is. I feel guilty for asking my husband to get our three girls up in the morning so I can go for a run. I reluctantly spend money on a sitter for a long mountain bike ride with my husband. During my workouts I sometimes feel selfish, and find it hard to muster the enthusiasm it takes to get the most out of my time and effort.

When I get in this place I know it is time to toss out those crazy ideas and look at the actual evidence: my husband is perfectly happy to wake the kids up, the best quality time I've had with my sweetie is on our bikes--(Can I put a price on that?) and after a challenging workout I am high as a kite, my mind is clear and I am ready for life. My oldest daughter runs road races with me and is a fine little mountain biker. And then there is last year at my first triathlon. Start time was 7am and hubby was there with all 3 girls. He shot dozens of photos and left me a card telling me how proud he is of me.

Oh yeah, triathlon is good for all of us.

That said, my actual schedule isn't so important, but I will tell about the strategies (other than attitude ajdustment) that I've used this year:

  • I confined my season to June-September, with only one or two 'A' events per month (As a teacher, I put no 'A' events in August, and only one in September.)
  • After my September event, I took a complete break from training and focused completely on school and the children.
  • Sometime in October, I started back up with running/jogging purely for fun and fitness, with a fun family Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving weekend, which I jogged next to my 10-year-old while I pushed the 4-year-old in a carriage.
  • In November I got trained as a YogaFit (www.yogafit.com) instructor because I am missing that element in my training and know that the only way I'm going to do it is if I am accountable to someone else. Sad but true. 
  • Late fall I joined a local running club and I do 1 or 2 training runs with them per week. I either go in the early morning before hubby goes to work, or on the weekend. Sometimes I use the stroller and put the two other kids on bikes, sometimes I bring them to their grandmother's house.
  • In January I started swimming once a week during daughter #2's swim lesson after school on Wed., with #1 and #3 at auntie's house.
  • Now it's the end of February and I am trying to rev up to more focused training, as my first race is 15 weeks away. I have been on my bike only once since my race in Sep., but it is my strongest leg, so I am not committing to bike training until April. In the meantime, looking to get a firm schedule of two each swim, run and yoga starting March 1.
  • After attitude, I believe that realistic planning is my best strategy. I have found that taking it month by month has worked well.

I hope this is helpful to you!

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date: February 28, 2005

mamakt