Everyone understands how tough it is to find balance within our lives for general “adulting” (paying bills, going to work) and being able to train to be our best in the Obstacle Course World. I don't want to say anyone person has more challenges in achieving balance than another, however, I find being a parent adds an extra level of difficulty to this equation. I reached out to three parents and asked if they would share their thoughts about trying to find “balance”.
First up, I would like to share Hillary Greene's story with you. She uses every waking hour that she is given to the fullest, and although she has a super busy schedule, she makes OCR part of her lifestyle, not just as a workout.
What does your day to day schedule look like?
I’m a morning person so most days I wake at 5:30 a.m. and don’t slow down until 7 p.m. Switching between my official hats as a full-time grants coordinator at the university, my part-time job as a strength and conditioning coach, and class + lab + study as a part-time, second undergraduate degree-seeking student, I. Am. Busy. I’m also applying my education and experience by programming my own 24-week training plan to prep for a Bonefrog Endurance + Savage Syndicate weekend at the end of March. I manage to dedicate an hour five times a week plus a longer run/endurance sim on the weekend (though volume will dramatically increase around week 9). This and I’m the keeper of all things as the matriarch of my household loving on my husband, step-daughter, brother-in-law, and two fur babies.
Do you work full time? If so what type of hours do you put in?
Monday to -Friday 37.5 hours + 3 hour-long class meetings + 2-hour lab every other week, 3-6 hours of strength/conditioning classes taught each week + 3 hours each week programming/tweaking my own 24-week program, D1 weekend classes, and personal clients (which I’m just starting this month).
How do you manage training/work and your family?
I owe most of my waking hours to my focus on functional training and caffeine, quite frankly! Luckily, my family, immediate and extended alike, is fantastic in understanding that training is more than just preparing for the next big race—it is soon to be my career. Nary a complaint out of them when I’m throwing Black Betty (that’s my WreckBag) around the basement at 6 a.m. or foam rolling after dinner while watching television. Because they are so supportive, I do my best to squeeze training in when no one is awake or otherwise busy. Still, I am old school in that I value family dinners together, so I try my absolute best to schedule my training and other pursuits around the family meal—even it if it means multitasking my cool down/stretching with dinner prep!
What challenges do you face daily to make it all work?
The traditional Netflix binge does not exist in my world because once I finally sit down to relax, I am OUT! My family teases for my inability to stay awake on our couch unless I’m eating or gaming (and even then that’s not a given). Relaxing [without just falling asleep] is tremendously difficult for me. I think it is especially so right now where I am so close to finishing up my schooling and breaking into the career where I’m meant lead. At this point to do anything other than something that contributes to my progression feels almost lazy. I know I must make time for myself, but this perfectionist busy bee struggles most with setting aside the to-do list and not tasking 24/7.
Is there advice you can give to someone that is a parent that may help them figure this all out?
For anyone balancing family, jobs, training, and whatever, my best tip is complex and something I’m still working on myself: Surround yourself with people who support your goals, but never allow training or races become the misery to those around you. We train hard and want to succeed, but at the end of the day, unless OCR pays the bills, it’s still just for fun. Think big picture and don’t get overwhelmed by minute details.
Do you really believe that it is possible to have work/life/training balance?
As fictional television character, Ron Swanson, of the best show ever, Parks and Recreation, put it to an overwhelmed Leslie Knope who struggles with balance in her career pursuits,
“Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing.”
I see his point when considering my approach right now—I’m not likely to win any parent of the year awards or consistently top the elite podium anytime soon because I just can’t give 100% of myself to just one thing. And, honestly, I’m okay with that. Rather, I interpret Ron’s advice maybe a bit differently than intended–I think it’s possible to achieve balance and essentially “whole-ass” the big picture. Life is fluid and unpredictable, and priorities shift with this volatility. But when it comes down to it, we are the ones that ultimately dictate our priorities. Be happy in your efforts to whole-ass life.
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