So, the photo is just to get your attention. Sort of. But it is also illustrates the juggling I do every day–as a woman, mother, wife, and daughter. I am a runner, a sister, an aunt, a friend, an employee, a student, a care taker, a mentor….the list goes on and on. Think about it. If I asked you right now how many roles you played (“hats you wear”) in a day, what would your “hat count” be in total?
I really started thinking about this “hat count” when I saw a conversation recently in a Women For Tri group. The original post was from an athlete talking about finding, and losing, a balance of her roles when training for an Ironman. She poured her heart out on camera, in the middle of her living room floor with piles of laundry, a dirty floor and mounds of back to school paperwork surrounding her. She had just returned home from her race the day before and was exhausted. Instead of eating, resting, recovering, this woman was faced with the task of picking back up where she had left off weeks, probably even months, ago. She broke down on the camera and said she just wanted to revel in the one thing she had ever done in her life for herself–train and complete an Ironman–and she could not because, well, life was calling. She was very frustrated, but at the same time, she was very proud to have accomplished a life-long dream, all while being a single mom, raising a child with special needs, and working full-time during her training.
The comments that poured in to her were amazing and supportive. Women who did not have children, women who had supportive families, women who were going through the same things she was–they were all there saying “Keep your head up. If you can do that, you can do anything.” “You are amazing.” “You are inspiring.” “Let the laundry wait.” “Who can help you with the paperwork?” “Stay strong.” It gave me hope. Hope for this woman to eventually get her child enrolled in a new school, find her living room floor again, and even rest eventually.
The other thought I had when reading this woman’s story and the comments, was “Wow. These women are amazing.” The women coming to her support were all different levels of athletes, but they were surrounding her and lifting her up in a way that I personally don’t see women do enough. We are talking women with MANY hats. They didn’t have to be there supporting this woman, but here they were, telling her she CAN do it. Telling her she WILL do it. Telling her to BE KIND TO HERSELF. Telling her to STOP and REVEL in this one thing, even just for a moment. These women are the kind of women I want to be like; the kind of women I try to surround myself with for so many reasons. They were not saving her by telling her to take off some of her hats (i.e. giving up something she loves being), they were gently reminding her how to balance her hats.
Her post reminded me that even on the days when I might struggle to balance training with all of the other things life hands me, I can do what I need to do to meet my goals and not necessarily have to give up any of my roles.
So many times we are busy taking care of everyone else, we put ourselves last. I am grateful I have a supportive family, but I am also grateful for the women I have met through my local running group. The ladies of Moms Run This Town/She Runs This Town in Louisville GET ME. They know what I am trying to do and they have my back on the days when I am having the hardest time keeping all of my hats balanced.
Ladies, if you are struggling and don’t have women like this in your life, go find them. They are out there waiting for you. They will understand and appreciate you far more than you realize. And, they will help push your hats back up on top of your head when they see them leaning a little too far to one side.