By Shannon Mahre
It’s crazy to think about how little I did before I became a parent, even though at the time I thought that my life was insanely busy. People ask me how I juggle running 2 businesses while being an athlete, wife and mom, and the simple answer is that I just do what I can with the time I am given. I’ve learned that it’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it. I’ve also learned that some days when I think I’m going to meet all of my deadlines and finish every single thing on my list, many of those days end up being flops– and you know what, that’s OKAY!
So, I am here to help all of you moms (and dads!) by giving you a few of my tips on how to make sure that you still get out there on the trail and do what you love after you bring a little munchkin into the picture. Believe me, we all need time on the trail, especially parents!
- If you aren’t a morning person, you should try to become one.
As a mountain bike coach, yes, I do get time in the saddle while I am coaching, but if I don’t get my happy buns up at the butt crack of dawn, my freedom-filled rides on our local single track would be very far and few between. Most days of the week, I get up between 3:30 and 4:30am and head out to run or bike on the trails near my home. In the winter months, I train indoors. The point is that I use this time for me. For me, it’s when I drink my coffee in silence; get in some morning yoga and maybe even watch a few minutes of my favorite Netflix show before heading out the door. I try to get home pretty close to the time that my son gets up so that my husband can do his morning duties in peace. (Key word here is “try.” Sorry, honey!)
- Get them used to bikes, skis, dirt bikes and any other of your favorite activities early, and bring your patience.
My husband, Andy, and I had our son, Ryder, skiing with us in a front pack when he was 6 months old, and we had him on a bike and a dirt bike riding with us much earlier than most people would be comfortable with. That being said, just the fact that we had him at the track with us while we rode motos and took him skiing, riding bikes and hiking on a regular basis has made him more interested in the activities we like to do as a family. It’s also got him used to doing more than just hang out at home, doing the norm. Does that mean he’ll love all of the activities we love? Maybe, maybe not – but at least we are giving him the opportunity to try a ton of fun activities so that he can decide for himself.
- Being scared is completely normal.
Once I had Ryder, fear became a much bigger thing for me than it ever had before. For me, I was scared about things that I never even thought about being scared of before. Some things I had control over and others I didn’t. But at the end of the day, I realized that I can’t stop living and doing what I love. I also can’t stop pushing and setting goals for myself, just because I am a mom. Not only would that make me unhappy but it also would be the worst way for me to show Ryder how I want him to live his life.
Do I still have irrational fears at times? Yes, I do, but I don’t let them control me and I don’t let my client’s irrational fears control them either. In fact, when one of my clients tells me that they are scared, I ask them what exactly they are scared of. Are they scared of falling? Are they scared of looking dumb or getting hurt? Because until we pinpoint exactly what we are scared of, we can’t figure out a way to move past our fears.
Do Andy and I have everything figured out? Hell, no. Some days are full of tantrums, peanut butter where peanut butter never should be, and noises that you never thought could come out of a being so small. But then those little farts redeem themselves with those moments that you will never, ever forget – moments that you know they would never have gotten to without your love, patience, and guidance. And that, my friend is when you know that you are doing everything right.