There are young, svelte athletes who train their whole lives for the Olympics and then, there's the rest of us.
While a small minority of the world's population participates, spectates and protests the Winter Olympics this year, there's no need to feel left out. Every mother of young children can have the Olympic experience by participating in what I'm calling, "The Maternal Winter Olympics."
What is this, you ask? Here's a sampling of the Events likely to appear in this year's extravaganza:
(The completion of these events is made more remarkable by the participants' total lack of stomach muscles due to multiple gestations and a general lack of exercise. This condition requires that all maneuvers to be completed using only the muscles in the lower back. Unfortunately, due to this factor, the incidence of injury among Maternal Athletes is quite high. DO NOT attempt these feats on your own unless you are a similarly untrained mother of young and/or school age children.)
Slalom Descent: While Slalom skiing has been a long-standing event at the traditional winter Olympics, the addition of Slalom Snowboarding and the new Slopestyle events in which participants race down a slippery hill while attempting to avoid and/or perform stunts on obstacles has created quite a buzz. In light of this, the Maternal Olympics will include a Slalom descent in which the participant can receive a score based on a combination of speed, weight carried and stunts.
The course is set up to run on an open wooden staircase with participants starting at the top. Participants then race down the coarse which may be littered with such obstacles as shoes, toys, and slippery rolling devices. Extra points will be earned for near-falls, twists, turns and the ability to carry one or two small people while completing the course. Needless to say, these races will be held in the middle of the night or early morning hours when participants are still groggy and without the benefit of caffeine.
(She's Lost Her) Figure Skating: This event takes place in three stages and is most loved by audiences because of the difficulty of the routines, the elaborate costumes and the likelihood of dangerous falls.
Stage 1: The Excursion Participants, dressed in stunning combinations of pajama bottoms and their husband's old winter coats, emerge breathless onto the rink. The artistry of their appearance is accentuated by uncombed hair and wild-eyes. During this stage, participants must navigate over an ice covered sidewalk and street to fetch a van which has been strategically parked in a huge snowy, icy pile. Gunning the engine forward and back, the participant then slips and slides the vehicle to the sidewalk where it will be strategically placed for the next stage of the event.
Stage 2: Partners The participant now welcomes, one-by-one, several small skating partners into the event. One at a time, she escorts them across the rink and into the waiting vehicle. (Participants have been known to work with up to four partners for one event.) Partners vary from actively resisting, to swan diving off of the porch.
Stage 3: Cognition Once in the van, the participant has the option of earning additional points IF she can remember that today is the day her five-year-old child is supposed to bring snack for his entire Kindergarten class. Upon remembrance, the participant may then make one final life-threatening trek across the ice to fetch the nearly-forgotten snack.
Luge: As in the traditional Olympics, this event focuses on speed. Participants are timed as they maneuver a van with poor tires down a slippery slope toward a distant elementary school. Focus and determination are required as passengers planted within the vehicle are likely to attempt to distract by dropping favorite toys into unreachable places, claiming to have forgotten their mittens and general whining and/or fussiness. Those who reach the school in a timely manner are rewarded with the opportunity to disembark one or more of their passengers before starting off on the return course.
A Word Concerning Sponsors and Medals:
Maternal Olympics participants are NOT awarded medals. They are, however, occasionally allowed to go out in the evening to get groceries unaccompanied or to stay up late binging on episodes of Call the Midwife. Being a Maternal Athlete is considered to be its own reward.
The Maternal Olympics are proudly sponsored by:
1. Anything with Caffeine in it.
2. Anything chocolate.
3. Three bites of dry toast and a sip of lukewarm coffee, which is also known by Maternal Athletes everywhere as the "Breakfast of Champions."
What Event would you add?