It occurred to me this morning as I, once again, broke a sweat just trying to wrangle my two kids out the door so they could get to school on time that motherhood is an extreme sport.
I think we've overlooked the incredible agility, athleticism and dedication that mothers exhibit on a daily basis. That's OK, though, because really, motherhood is much more X-Games than it is the stately and prestigious Olympics, anyway. Or maybe even one of those made up sporting events you'll catch on Cable TV at 3 a.m. when you're awake for absolutely no reason.
Much like the luge, this may look like an easy ride, but you'd better be holding on tight!
Sport Number One: The sleep deprivation marathon. Those days, weeks and months after we bring that little bundle of joy home are definitely an exercise in sleep deprivation. Only the strong survive. Just when you think you have been pushed to the limit and cannot go one more moment without shutting your eyes, your precious little bundle will keep going strong for another 24 hours. You will reach new
heights, lows in sleeplessness. Caffeine intake will play a major role in your training. Don't neglect to consume enough to keep your eyes open. This is particularly important if you have other children who are likely to cause destruction and mayhem if you accidentally nod off on the couch.
Sport Number Two: Potty training in motion. Notice that I said in motion, not in action. If you have a boy, you will know why. You will need perfect technique in this one, it really is all about the arc. Hitting targets is key. You'll monitor fluid intake and output so you can always predict how long in between pit stops your little one can go. You'll scout the locations of every public restroom you are likely to pass, so when your toddler announces "I've gotta potty," you'll be able to sprint to the desired location and ensure potty training success. Training is an exercise in surprise. Just when you think you can let your guard down, they've gotta go!
Sport Number Three: Mornings. If you were a morning person before you had children, that's likely to change after you procreate. When they're infants, and even toddlers, the workouts will mainly revolve around ridiculously early rising for delightful feeding time when you'll mainly fight to stay awake. This will all lull you into a false sense of security so you're completely off-guard for the school morning routine, which is when the serious training must begin. If you can manage to get all of your children, and maybe even yourself, dressed, fed and out the door in the morning without losing your cool, or sending anyone off in their pajamas, you have had a successful morning. If you remember all the backpacks, lunch boxes, brief cases and other accoutrement then you clearly deserve the top honors. You won't get them though, because sadly you'll be too exhausted to enjoy any of it anyway, and it's only 8 a.m..
Sport Number Four: After-School. You may remember your after-school time fondly from your own childhood, but I bet if you ask your parents, they remember things far differently. Besides the arrival of every child after school in a starving condition that leads you to wonder what, exactly, do they do with their lunches?, You will now get to enjoy the homework hours. Notice that that is plural, hours. You will now be racking your brain to see what, if anything, you remember from fourth grade math and high school algebra class. Only, surprise! They don't teach the same stuff in fourth grade, or even high school that they did when we were there! The fourth grade stuff looks a lot more like what you learned in high school than elementary school. And, even if you are correct and come up with the answer (which you won't) your child will not believe you because you did the subtraction problem in a different way than the teacher taught them to do it, so you must be wrong. You might actually be, because fourth grade was a long time ago and you barely manage to balance your checkbook, but that is not the point!
Sport Number Five: Bedtime. Before children, this looked a little like you collapsing into a heap in the middle of your bed and snoring softly until morning. Mid-morning? OK, that's all over now that you're a mom. Now bedtime will involve rationalizing, negotiating, threatening and finally pleading with your little person to please, for the love of all that is sacred in this world, just GO TO SLEEP! Your reward for this high intensity training session will be, if you're lucky, a few hours of peace and quiet to yourself where you will probably sit watching Disney Jr. for two hours before you notice that 1) you've seen this episode a hundred times and 2) there are no children up therefore you are free to watch any channel you'd like.
The Sixth Event: The Extreme Hormone Roller coaster. Do you remember your own puberty years? Filled with acne, boy craziness and all the while saddled with those amazingly stupid parents of yours? Well, guess what? The shoe is on the other foot now. You're the rider, not the captain of this roller coaster. Just when you expect the track to zoom left, it will go right. You brace for a climb and you'll drop 50 feet... upside down. You can't control, predict or train for this event; all you can do is tighten your seat belt, hold on and hope you both survive.