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So you’ve taken a sudden interest in the kayaking slalom event? You’re sitting on your couch making critiques about the front tucks of the Russian gymnastic team’s floor routine? Of course you are, because the Olympics are in full swing!
Athletes in the games have devoted their lives for the chance at Olympic greatness. They’ve sacrificed their time to being the best, put forth money, sweat, and put to the side their own personal lives all for the games, not at all unlike parents.
Parents have given time, effort, money (and our beds during bad thunderstorms) as well. Every day, parents around the world compete in events (with whiny kids). Our arenas are restaurants, public bathrooms, lines at the grocery store, and at home. While we may not have trained a lifetime to compete, we will be “competing” for the rest of our lives.
So in the spirit of the games of the 2012 London Olympics, may I present to you some of the games of the Parent Olympics.
1.Diaper Changing. The gymnastics of the Parent Olympics. A whole lot of disciplines to qualify for in this one. Speed, changing in the back seat of your car in the mall parking lot, and getting a dirty one off and properly contained. Points of course are deducted if you get peed on.
2.Long Distance Shouting. A bit reminiscent of the shot put. How far can you get your voice to carry when it’s time to eat and the kids are five houses away playing hide and go seek with the neighbors? How effectively can you communicate from the basement to the second floor of your house?
3.Bedtime.The steeplechase of the Parent Olympics. In the steeplechase, athletes need stamina and have to overcome ridiculous obstacles. Sounds exactly like trying to get your kids to bed to me. Who knew reading a story, lying with them, and singing a song wouldn’t be enough?
4.Car packing.The table tennis of parenthood. There are only so many places you can put the ball in play and only so much room in the back of your SUV you could have sworn was bigger for the Pak-n-Play, stroller, and 300 assorted pieces of luggage you’re going to have to now take on vacation.
5. Patience Relays. Sometimes you need to hand off the baton to avoid either your head exploding or selling your children on Craigslist. Patience can run thin in parents, especially during a rainy Sunday in November. If you need help running a 4x100m, why wouldn’t you need help when your little angel hasn’t taken a nap?
6.Bottle Making. The archery event. Sometimes you can hit a bullseye on your first try and other times you target panic and let it fly before it’s ready. It’s 3a.m., you only got the baby to sleep two hours ago and now junior is jonesing for something to eat. Did you heat it enough? Too much? Sometimes you just have to let it fly.
You’re never going to be a perfect parent or Olympic athlete all the time. No matter how hard you train. All we can hope for is our training and times competing in our “events” makes us, at the right times, great. That when called upon, we put our best foot forward because more than anything, it’s about giving everything you have, whether it’s for a gold medal or for something even better. Our kids.
*Have an event you would add? Let me know at www.foundingafather.com.