03 October 2009

Motivation, Motherhood and Massage

Motherhood: When my wife and I had our first child, we inherited a much greater appreciation of just how difficult a job our parents had raising us (and our siblings) into seemingly well-adjusted adults. I mean, really if you think about it, it is amazing that any of us made it past puberty. The way-back of the family "station dragon" would often serve multiple functions as play, sleep and picnic areas. Car seats? Thank goodness they were invented—they save a lot of lives. I do not ever recall any of my friends wearing bicycle helmets thirty years ago, yet we will not let our kids get anywhere near their bikes unless they are wearing one. Yet, despite all that could have gone wrong, I remain relatively unscathed, despite a few stitches I received on my hand from accidentally running into a rear view mirror on my bicycle when I was six. Even a helmet would not have prevented that hospital excursion.


Why do I bring this up you ask? Well, I flew solo today while my wife left early in the morning for a dance rehearsal and afternoon performance. She came home just before 5:00 to a relatively calm house—thank goodness for Legos! Minutes later I was outside with all five kids while she started preparing dinner. I am not even going to pretend that it was simple taking care of all the kids. I am not one of those guys that would ever dare use the "I would love to stay at home all day with the kids instead of going to work" line. That is true, but only if my wife was home with me to help. I barely know where to look to find most things when my wife is not home.

It is not the first time I have flown solo, nor will it be the last. In fact, it will probably become more frequent as my wife is starting to dance professionally again and it is very difficult to find an affordable, competent sitter for five children. All I can say is that I have great respect for my wife and mothers everywhere for the amazing job they do. I took my children to the Y yesterday morning. I got everyone dressed, prepared all their drinks and snacks and brought the diaper bag for the baby. Of course, once I got there I realized I forgot my suit for my swim workout. It seems to be a recurring problem whenever I am taking care of the children for any prolonged period of time. I simply lose my mind. Changing out my pajamas and showering is not at the top of my "to do" list. Keeping my children out of an emergency room until my wife comes home becomes my number one priority.

I liken meals to the job of an air traffic controller. Managing portions, drinks and trying to avoid meltdowns for whatever reason is only part of the mealtime dynamic. I find myself scarfing down food as quickly as possible to meet the needs of my children—yet my wife somehow manages to do this day in and day out with relative sanity. Notice, I said "relative sanity." So mom, thanks for not following through on your many threats to send me off to live in the zoo.

Motivation: Last night I spoke to a friend of mine who is expecting her second child. She asked me how I find time to train. I told her that during the school year I wake up at 4:45 and get to the gym by 6:00 a.m. If I want to be home by dinner—which is the agreement I have with my wife—it is the only time in my day that I can do it. What motivates me is that exercising makes me feel good the rest of the day. I have more energy and am more alert. My psyche is great because I know I already accomplished a tough morning swim (any swim at 6:00 a.m. is tough for me) and weight training workout. Not to mention, I want to go out and perform better next season in the triathlons I race. I made huge strides this year. You have to put in the time—whether your training for triathlons or writing music—to reap the rewards.
My friend also mentioned that she knows her diet is terrible. Aha! Here we go again—diet rears its ugly head. We all know when we select poor choices, but somehow rationalize them. Perhaps for her it is the fact that she has always been pretty fit. She was an athlete in high school and kept active with pilates after the birth of her first child and took the weight off quickly.

More on motivation later and how I even came to running triathlons. Everyone has a story.


Massage: My workouts last week consisted of three 1000 meter swims. Nothing to write home about, but we had a terribly rainy week here and it was impossible to get out for a bike ride. Well, not impossible, but it would have been a miserably cold and wet ride. Not good for your bike or your body. I am bumping up the numbers this week to be sure. I already swam 1200 yards this morning. I am scheduling a massage this week to try to realign and stretch out the hamstrings and knees.

1 comment:

Kelly said...

So, did you swim anyway?? Great post, Mark. I am so relieved to see that you "flew solo" as opposed to "babysat". You, my friend, are 100% dad!!