Some CrossFitters have been involved in athletics for their whole lives, and others were high school/college athletes, or they were never interested in exercise until adulthood. Some parents always knew they wanted to be parents and others became parents by chance or decided later in life. When you think about images that you have seen of CrossFit Games on the internet, it might look intimidating. I don’t think there are many representations of parenthood on the internet that really explain what this is like day in and day out. It is true that there are CrossFitters performing amazing feats of fitness. And also there are regular people who commit to CrossFit training and discover that their bodies and spirits are capable of strength that they never thought possible. Many parents perform amazing feats of mentorship, love, caregiving, and education every day – never to be caught on camera.
My mother started at CrossFit Valkyrie in New York at the age of 57 and I started at CrossFit Burke at age 35. My mother and I are both the kind of people who like to win. We try to accept “loss” gracefully, but I’m a tiger when it comes to athletics and she and I both usually love to “win” arguments. At CrossFit we get to compete against ourselves – to find our personal best – every time we step into the box. I receive tremendous encouragement, advice, and support from my coaches and my CrossFit classmates – but the bottom line is that I’m striving to better myself. When I work out now I’m not doing it to impress someone else or to win a medal, I’m doing it to see if I can lift more than I lifted last month or do one more pull up or get a few seconds faster.
I’m getting stronger as I get older. I honestly thought that my days of feeling this kind of strength were over after I had my second child. Life got busy, staying in bed on the weekends started to sound pretty good, and I felt tired a lot. However, a sedentary lifestyle (which is how most American adults live) lead to back aches, plantar fasciitis, and extra weight around my middle. With a history of type II diabetes in my family, I knew something had to change. My mother was feeling similarly and we both committed to becoming CrossFitters. It became exciting for our whole family. My 8-year-old son joined the CrossFit Kids class. Now, we are three generations in my family – my mother, me, and my son, all practicing CrossFit to get to our personal best. We can’t wait to tell each other how many burpees we did or to share a tip for jumping rope. Incidentally, when we compete in other activities – CrossFit has also made us very strong and formidable opponents.
I don’t want to jinx anything, but I feel like I sort of got the hang of some of this parenting stuff (finally). The kids are 6 and almost 9 years old and I think that I have gotten to the part where I sometimes feel like I’ve done a good job. Not that kids are a job, because they aren’t. To what to I attribute this feeling of comfort, joy and satisfaction in my parenting? I’m not competing against other parents – and anyone who feels like that really needs to stop and take a deep breath. But I try to be more patient if I lost my cool the day before. I test myself to see if I can be the good listener that I ask my kids to be, and I am striving for my personal best parenting because I want to get stronger at this as I get older, too. Three things have been especially important in getting to my goal –
- sleeping through the night consecutively (obviously difficult with newborns, infants, and sick kids)
- years of practice (obviously difficult with the first child)
- mindfulness for myself and my family (for daily 10 minute, easy meditation sessions I recommend the HeadSpace app…come on, you can do it for 10 minutes)