Friday, 4 May 2012

Once Upon a Week - Mama Olympics

Vintage 1968 Olympic Poster
Motherhood is like a pentathlon, parental Olympics that require stamina, endurance, strength and a will to be the very best or rather do the very best we can. But, not for a medal or the glory of achievement. No, save that for the one day a year we are celebrated. We do it out of that overwhelming feeling of love.

Being a mother is learning about strengths you didn't know you had, and dealing with fears you didn't know existed - Linda Wooten

As this week has gone by in its usual fluster of juggling the impossible to come through unscathed the other side, and as I see the accomplishments of the mothers around me I started to think about how incredible and all too often with appreciation unsaid motherhood is. With all the things a mother does in any given day, I wonder if there was an event to celebrate mama Olympics what it might look like. Because if there were a mother Olympics we'd be there donning our breastpads and clippy bras, our school run pumps, buggies in tow racing against the clock to cook a batch of bolognaise, finishing the 3rd washing machine load and ironing the 2nd, walking barefoot across a Lego strewn carpet without so much of an ouch spoken, and diving into pools of tears and tantrums as we soak up the squabbles of our darling little children. All the time serene and calm in the everyday marathon of motherhood. 

Perhaps Mama Olympics would include:

300 m race -  You're late for school already and no-one is anywhere near prepared to go. You have marmite in your hair, your youngest (potty training) has just had an accident and there's a puddle across the floor and new clothes need to be found. The older one has suddenly remembered she needs to take in a set of photographs / a toy from the 80's for a school display, Its raining and you can't for the life of you remember where you left the umbrella, You have to get to school with all the children happy in the quickest possible time! Go! 

Synchronized Swimming - Cooking 2 dinners simultaneously as neither child wants the same thing but you must serve both dinners at the same time.

The tidy time trial -   A test of stamina and skill as you race to see if you can tidy away the Lego, building blocks and other gummage before the child manages to tip them all out again! Extra points are rewarded for finding all the pieces that found their way under the sofa.

Rhythmic Gymnastics - the bedtime routine has come.... you must guide your child away from their play gracefully as so not to cause any upset, steer them to the bathroom where their teeth are brushed, faces washed and last wee's are done. Pyjamas are put on, bedtime story read and then finally the dance of sleep as you wrestle to stay awake as your child challenges you to see who'll fall asleep first.

Weightlifting - being able to carry the heavy load of chores / bills to pay / calls to be made / food shopping to be done / shoulder carrying of child for the 2 mile walk home after having fallen and hurt knee.

Field Athletics - You must not get frustrated or snappy as you carry your child's bicycle across the park and the all the way home (despite the fact you insisted on not bringing the it as you always end up carrying it most of the way) whilst pushing the buggy laden with toys and carrying baby on hip. Using every angle of your body to steer everyone homebound, Extra points for being able to get the kids singing to keep them going regardless of how crushed by the weight of the bike your body is or how far the home horizon seems to be.

Long Jump - A leap over the coffee table / laundry basket / food shopping to quickly catch your child about to fall from their chair / step / scooter.

Netball - Taking the laundry basket of socks newly washed and dry, find each matching pair, roll them up into balls and toss them into everyone's appropriate drawers. Bonus points are earned for finding EVERY matching pair - this may be a near impossible task due to the sacrificial sock that is taken by the washing machine for each cycle.

Archery - being able to shoot the right target when being told 'she did it first'.

Trampolining - bouncing off the walls may be how you're feeling but to the outside world you're elegantly gliding from one spot to another in effortless leaps of great accomplishment. 

Sailing - being able to steer through the rough waves and around the day and enjoying those few minutes of calm that appear now and again. 

Hi Jump - being able to glam up in moments (shaving legs over the edge of the bath, doing make up whilst drying hair, finding the perfect dress and packing plasters for those heels you'll be wearing for god knows you're so not used their killer effect) for a last minute event and be all at once the belle of the ball, full of zest and conversation (no child talk) and not let show that even though you didn't bring the children neither did you leave them at home. 

Our medals are the stretchmarks, the bags under our eyes, the babies dribble on our shoulder and the Lego bruises on our knees, the un-brushed hair and the suitcase of memories we fill and carry every day. Though our medals may not shine brightly from silken ribbons we wear them with great pride and all you'll ever see are our smiles.

Mother love is the fuel that enables a normal human being to do the impossible. - Marion C. Garretty, 
'A little spoonful of Chicken Soup for the Mother's Soul'

Tell us more 'events' for the Mama Olympics - we'd love to hear more motherhood sports

Oh and if you have a photo you'd like to add for a caption send it too!

This is part of our 'once upon a week' collection. We also have other stories and features including our 'Monday Makery', 'I Spy' , 'The Art of Living', and our weekly 'Wedesday Woo'.
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