Being a mom and being an Olympian have a lot of similarities. Both pursuits are challenging and exhausting, but an Olympic journey is only four years long. It’s also filled with lots of rest and people are there along the way to support your performance. It’s safe to say that parenting does not usually come with these benefits.
That being said, my journey to three Olympic Winter Games as a Freestyle Mogul skier taught me a lot of important lessons that I continue to apply every day as a mom. If you’re a parent, perhaps you’ll find them useful too:
Lesson 1: The Importance of Resiliency
Resiliency in the face of doubt, defeat, and exhaustion was critical in helping me stay the course and chase my dreams on the ski slopes. It allowed me to have the confidence to continuously take the necessary risks I needed to achieve my best.
As a parent I try to face each day with optimism and embrace the challenge of raising young children in today’s connected, fast-paced world. Not only do I constantly draw on this trait, but I also work hard to instill this attitude in my boys.
Lesson 2: The Importance of Healthy Habits
In my sport, my moment to win an Olympic medal occurred in less than 30 seconds, and happened only once every four years. But those moments were built on years of consistently doing the little things well. Over the years I built healthy habits for my mind and body. These positive habits included taking care of myself by getting enough rest, eating well, building optimism and resiliency, and working to put my best effort forward each day.
It isn’t possible to get a perfect score on healthy habits as a parent. But I know that making the effort to take care of myself the best I can is important. I prioritizing things like eating healthy foods even when I’m on the run, staying physically active and taking ten minutes a day to meditate.
Lesson 3: The Importance of Play
When I look back at my best performances as an athlete there was always one thing present – the feeling of joy. But racing can also be very stressful and difficult. Feeling joy didn’t necessarily mean I was always having fun. Rather, the feeling of joy was present when I had an appreciation for the opportunity and an openness to fully give in to the instant.
As an athlete I used a key word to access this mindset on demand, but as a mother I don’t need one. I just have to look at my children because kids naturally approach life with this attitude. My children are my constant reminder to let go of my distractions and to get lost in the joy of the moment with them.
Being a mom has been one of my greatest challenges, but I’m glad that some of the valuable things I learned as an Olympian have helped me in my journey through motherhood. Here are a few more tips from dietitian Alissa Rumsey.
What surprising life lessons have you applied to your parenting style? Share your questions in the comments section!
Did you enjoy this post? Stay in the know with more nutrition tips, and exclusive promo offers — join our newsletter.