My first real memory of the Olympics was in 1988 when I was 8 years old. Canada was hosting that year so my first introduction came when they were running through PEI with the torch. In case you don’t remember or weren’t born yet, this was the Olympics that Elizabeth Manley skated the performance of her life, staged an upset and won the silver medal in figure skating in her home province of Alberta. I remember her coaches hoisting her up on their shoulders and every single person in the stands was on their feet screaming. The first words out of her mouth as she finished her skate was “Mom.” She had a blond bob, a pink dress and fire in her eyes. It was amazing. It was also probably the first time I was really inspired by sport and I went on to idolize Liz for years to come.
As the 2018 Olympics are approaching, 30 years later (OMG seriously what the heck?!), I find myself starting to get caught up in that Olympic fever again. There is something so powerful about your entire country binding together to cheer and support their athletes. When Canada won gold in mens hockey in 2002, my university friends crowded into a few of our vehicles and drove through the city beeping the horn and waving Canadian flags. We pulled up to a red light and looked out our window at a police officer who had pulled up beside us. Instead of pulling us over and telling us to stop beeping and disrupting the peace, he simply gave us a grin and a thumbs up. Oh Canada!
Olympic fever also has had me reflecting lately on a sport that is not represented, or maybe even called a sport, but I feel totally should be. It’s called “Momming.” If you have never heard of it, it’s because I just made it up but I do think it’s legit. Just like how skiing, swimming etc have events, so would Momming. Being a parent is one of the most physically exhausting activiites you could ever partake in. Although ultimately rewarding (much like Olympic sports), the physical demands it places on the body are like none other.
Some of the events that could be represented are listed below:
Lego running: This involves a 50 m foot race barefoot across a room full of lego. If you are a parent, you have mostly likely at some point stepped on a small toy. It hurts. You carry on.
Child carrying: This also would be a foot race carrying a child or children. Preparation for this event happens when your child tells you they are about to vomit and you have 1 second to make it to the bathroom. You’ve been there. Given that this is the winter Olympics, this event would take place outside in the snow and up a hill. You are also required to carry a child’s sled and look for buried mitts in the sand as part of the event.
Coffee chugging: No explanation needed
Child dressing: This is a race to see who can dress their children in full snow gear the fastest. Canadians would clean up at this event. There is literally no parenting activity that makes me sweat more then this one.
Child folding: This event involves folding a tantrum-ing child into a car seat the fastest. Bonus marks if you stay patient and calm. I have to change what I said in the last event description. This makes me sweat the most.
Laundry folding in the company of a toddler: Cut off time for this event is 4 hours. I seriously don’t even attempt to put those two together anymore. As fast as I fold, their laundry tossing is faster. As much as I’ve always been obsessed with the chance to wear the red and white, this would not be my event.
Bedroom creeping obstacle course: This event involves creeping out of the dark room of your sleeping child. You can crawl or walk. I’ve done both. If you have done either of these before, you have probably almost gotten to the door and kicked or knocked some random toy across the floor and woke them up. It’s a freaking tough one. For this event, there would be heats over the course of the Olympics and with each heat, the difficulty level would increase Ie. more toys and creaky floor boards to pass.
Picture posing: Getting your children to pose for a family picture without bribing them with sugar. Bonus points if all children are looking at the camera and double bonus points if none of them are crying.
Lastly- the ‘Ironmama” event. This would take place on the final day of the 2 week Olympic schedule. It would involve staying awake for the entire 14 days and then have to feed, dress and parent your children, meanwhile remembering their names, birthdates, your own name and all the names of your immediate family members. The kicker- caffeine is a banned substance for this event. (Shudder)… not trying out. I usually do good to remember first names only after a few long days. This one is not for the faint of heart.
From left to right: Attempting to have children pose for picture with grandparents (7 children in picture), Meeting my childhood idol Elizabeth Manley, a Momming moment with 3 of my 4.
In all seriousness, I’m very much looking forward to cheering on the Canadian athletes in a few weeks. I’m always inspired by the dedication, spirit and determination of the athletes and the unity it can bring our country. However…. in the 30 years since Elizabeth Manley’s power skate and Canada’s hockey gold, I have a whole new appreciation for some real true sport heroes I’m surrounded by every day. #momsforthewin Go Canada go!
PS- I found Liz’s performance on youtube. It inspires me as much today as it did thirty years ago. Take a look