Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Mom Vs. Coach

I've been very lucky in my mommy career that my worlds really haven't collided all that much. In the first two years of Mackenzie's life, I was a working mom, and those times were tough all the way around. He was a high-needs baby and toddler, and it was hard to leave him each and every morning to go in to work. Fortunately, my husband was a stay-at-home parent during the day, brought him in to me every single day at lunch to nurse and play, and then went to work every night. That took the edge off of the conflict for me, and made it workable, at least in the short term.

Since I quit full-time employment though, I've really had it pretty easy. Hubby is an incredibly involved dad who hangs with the kids through my novel-writing, photography, and coaching gigs and even through my training and competing in the Ironman (no small time commitment there). The last few weeks though have brought my mom role and my role as a coach for a Team in Training triathlon team into close proximity with each other. For one thing, his job as a corporate pilot means he can be gone on the spur of the moment with very little notice. Lately, his flying has coincided with almost every critical training for my team, leading me to drag my kids around to lakes and campgrounds and hang out while I help people into wetsuits and onto bicycles. Luckily, they're very good sports and after what we have jokingly referred to as my "suck it up" speech (something about kids in Africa being responsible for their entire family's goat herd all day), they've been great at helping me out in my responsibilities, or at least keeping themselves entertained (for example, by biking around the parking lot in a pirate costume!)

This last weekend was the culmination of six months of training for my athletes, they were to attempt an Olympic distance triathlon near Bend, Oregon. Again, at the last minute my husband got called to fly and the kids and I took off in our camper van without him. Rushing around registration tables, at the same time as juggling my daughter into the kids' triathlon I had promised her she could do just about turned my last hairs grey (and there aren't that many that aren't already!), especially in a crowd of around a thousand parents and a very unexpected (by me at least) five hundred kids participating in the race. I had unwisely hopped out of the car without my cell phone, leaving my friend to park it and bring my son to meet us. It was a total mad house, but we finally did meet up and got to watch Asa smile her way through her second triathlon. She especially loved how the "swim" part of it was really a gigantic waterslide.
After the race, I briefly lost her in the finish line confusion. Fortunately, we had talked about what would happen if we got separated, and she followed our plan and walked to the bike transition area and sat next to her bike. Having a plan in a crowded place is definitely always a good idea! I was so grateful to see her sitting there.

The kids also got to come with me (and the athletes) to the pasta party. They hung out with the other athletes and listened to inspiring speeches, and also to parents describing their children's battles with leukemia (leading Asa at one point to say, not so sotto-vocce, that she hoped she never had to have leukemia. I hope not either sweetheart, which is one reason that Team in Training is so important). Fortunately after that point hubby made it over and my days of juggling coaching and mom duties wound down for the weekend. From that point on I could concentrate on my athletes, and if you want to read more about their experiences, I'm writing it up in segments on my Ironmom Blog.

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