Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Status of Moms and Wives in the 21st Century

I read two very interesting publications this week. While they don't pertain directly to the sport of triathlon, I think they speak to some of the challenges Moms face when trying to work tri training into their routine.

First, a few disclaimers:
1. My husband is AWESOME! He is a great Dad and very involved. There are definitely Mars/Venus differences between us and the way we handle things, but this is not meant to bash men.
2. While I am a Mom who works Full Time, I give all the credit in the world to my friends who stay home with their kids. I wasn't cut out for the role, and I respect those who are immensely.

The first publication feeds into the second. Apparently 20% of American women are now earning more than their spouses (and with the downturn in the economy, more men are being laid off than women). In families where one spouse has more education than the other, it is more likely to be the wife with the advanced education. Go figure! My theory has long been that women took over a lot more responsibility in the workplace, but didn't give up a lot of the responsibility in the home. While husbands are often super helpful, the intangibles are the things that stress us out.

The second article was really interesting. While the reader doesn't walk away with any "quick fixes", it definitely speaks to the challenges Moms face these days. The author goes to a variety of experts about leisure and leisure time, and is told repeatedly that she has lots of leisure time. Does it make any difference that these experts are single men without kids (one even lives with his parents). She finally talks to an expert who gives some interesting perspective on the way Moms spend their time.

This is not meant to be a soapbox....just a few interesting articles that seem timely as I try to work in my new training schedule to our work and family schedules. I seem to have issues with self-imposed guilt about taking too much time for myself. Apparently, I'm not the only one! :)

Summing up 2009/Goals for 2010

2009 was quite a year for our family and for me personally. A few highlights:

- Our children continued to grow into awesome little people (my seven-year-old daughter into quite a young lady).
- Tommy and I seem to grow into better friends and partners every year. Parenting is definitely a bit easier when you share it with someone who is there to back you up and help you out.
- I got into the sport of triathlon, had a couple of podium finishes at (very) small races, and made it onto Team Trakkers!
- My family had an awesome trip to Luray, Va for the Luray Triathlon. We rented a cabin and really enjoyed our time together.
- Tommy was burned in a fire when his helmet got knocked off. It wasn't a huge burn, but did have areas of second and third degree burn and eventually required a skin graft. The experience definitely brought us even closer (and it was the first time I ever saw him under the effects of anesthesia- definitely entertaining). In all seriousness, he has healed well and the scars look like sunburn.
- I was awarded the Circle of Excellence Award by the American Association of Critical Care Nurses. This will happen officially at their conference in D.C. this May. The very cool part is that my husband can be there to see me receive the award!

Obviously a lot more happened in 2009, but these were some of the big things.

2010 Resolutions/Goals:
Some people swear by New Years Resolutions, others think that you should be improving throughout the year. I view it as something like your annual performance evaluation at work. You should be doing things to improve throughout the year, but the New Year is a good time to review your goals and come up with goals for the new year. Here are a few of mine:
- Trust my gut. It never seems to lead me astray, and I usually end up regretting it if I ignore my instinct.
- Certain people/situations never change....so I need to change how I react to them.
- Stop saying "I'm going to be late if we don't....." to my kids. Most of the time, we are running behind because I had to get one more thing done (workout, cleaning, etc) before we left the house, and didn't take into account how much longer it takes to get out the door with two kids.
- Train hard for 2010....I want to work really hard in my second season as a triathlete and represent my team well.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

My First Trakkers Gear

On Tuesday morning, I got up at 5am to ride on the bike trainer. I was seriously dragging, but trying to stick with the schedule given to me by Coach Mike. I have definitely made progress (especially on the swim), so I need to keep up the motivation.

After a shower, getting the kids up, etc., I opened the front door to go start my car. There on the doorstep was a package. From the return address, I thought it was from Team Trakkers/Rev 3. Sure enough, I opened it and there were three (yes three!) Trakkers visors (Headsweats, no less), and a running cap. How cool is that?!?!?!?!?! I know a good portion of my team members have been sponsored before, so this is part of the routine. This was the first team apparel I have gotten (for a team I was actually on) since the T-shirt I got for playing co-ed Fire Department softball in the early 90s. Before that, it was the white satin jacket I got for winning the Maryland Small School League Basketball championships. A little perspective- my high school was 80 people. I was 5'1" (still am) and the point guard of the basketball team. Softball and soccer were coed because there weren't enough people. If you were at all athletic, you got to play whatever sport you wanted (what are tryouts?!). I am thankful for the opportunities I had there, but this is a new experience for me.

I was chosen for Team Trakkers based on my application (so I like to think my humor got me on the team, because my results aren't bad but aren't elite by any means). While triathlon is an individual sport, the community of triathletes is a wonderfully supportive "team". I am so thankful to be a part of Team Trakkers. It was so cool to get those visors in the mail.....talk about motivation to get up at 5am.....I don't want to let my team down!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Tri Swim Rocks!

Have I mentioned that the swim has not been my strongest event? In 2010, I'm trying my darnedest to enjoy the swim more and decrease the number of excuses I have to not swim as much as I should.

One of my challenges with swimming is the number chlorine does on my hair and skin. I have dermatographia (while this sounds dramatic, it just means that my skin is so sensitive you can gently write a word on my arm with your fingernail and moments later the word is spelled out in red welts). I can't try on clothes without crazy red marks showing up all over my neck. Needless to say, swimming in the winter contributes to already dry skin.

Then there is the hair. My hairdresser is one of my good friends, and I am her "project". I have the finest, flattest hair EVER!(My husband once called my hair "limp" and we had words about using that adjective to describe your spouse!) You can spray it, curl it, tease it, shellac it, and it will end up flat and straight. It takes her two hours to achieve the curly "fancy" do evidenced below.

Anyway...I have issues that chlorine does not help AT ALL! This summer I received a sample pack of Tri Swim products. When I started training again in December, I broke out the samples (called "shots"). I am so impressed with how these products work. My skin doesn't feel dry and gross after the swim, and my hair doesn't act any different than when I roll out of bed and take a shower. This is a vast improvement over my previous post-swim experiences! The shampoo and conditioner are also safe for color-treated hair. Did I mention how good the products smell? I am totally hooked, and really excited to be sponsored by Tri Swim this year!!!!

One more very cool fact- Karen Smidt-Allard, the founder of Tri Swim, is a competitive triathlete and Mom.