Next up in my three-part mini-series on how to find a balance between life and OCR, I would like to introduce to you Julie Palamar. Not only is she the nanny to triplet girls, but she also has her own child that she is raising. I hope that some of the other mom's especially can relate to Julie's story. I wanted to give each parent an opportunity to discuss their lives and how they try and find balance in their own words.
My work and training balance is a bit unique compared to many. My to day life varies a lot from school year to the summer as I am a nanny of triplet girls and then have 1 older toddler of my own who is special needs. In the school year, I work split shift 6-7am and then go back to work again at 3-6:30 pm with a 30-minute commute each way. My daughter also has school for 2 1/2 hours a day 3 days a week now through the Intermediate Unit for special education and therapy. In the summer I work full shift 8am-6:30 pm and my daughter is with a babysitter so she can continue her schooling and therapy.
Once my daughter was born I had to change my training drastically. I used to be 5 days a week at 9 am for 2 hours gym person. My work children would go to school and I would head to the gym. I now workout in the summer and on weekends 4am-6:30 am. In the summer I can work out these hours before work to make up for the fact I can not get to the gym during the day. During the school year previously I would go for quick runs when her dad got home at night after she was in bed or I would take her out for a run for my cardio and then spend the 2 days a week at the gym focused only on heavy lifting. Now that she started school I am lucky that I can swing 3 days a week for an hour while she is at school as well as my 2 days on the weekend.
If I can give any advice to parents it is to figure out a schedule, write it down and make it a plan. If you don't coordinate with each other it will get stressful and frustrating fast. I treat the gym as an appointment it is on the calendar along with everything else in our day to day schedule that is different. (Appointments, days off and such) Sometimes it takes some time to find a way to get into the swing with this but it can be done. I never thought I would be a 4 am gym person but when you need to find a way to make it work you find a way. There will be days you miss a gym visit due to sick kids or something else and don't beat yourself up too much about it. This happens with kids and they will only be kids once.
This last year I have taken my daughter to some races of her own, and her dad did join us for 1 race. He is not big on the whole scene so he does not go with us or really participate in any way. He is supportive in that he watches our daughter for me when I need him to so that I can go to a special workout or go to an event.
I always aim to be home before she wakes up from a normal workout though as her father goes to the gym at night so he sleeps in on weekends to balance out the schedule. On days where I am racing, I always schedule things so that I am home before she goes to bed since I typically leave before she is awake. I am lucky since I am in the northeast there are so many options within a 3 – 4-hour drive that make this a functional race schedule and allow me to still get in multiple brands and styles.
I think you can find a work/life/training balance but it is hard to do for sure. In some ways, I feel like you have to spread yourself thin to be able to do this. You can't really excel in any one area because you have a lot on your plate. Or at least that is the case for me. While I am okay with this idea in that I know I will never podium, I know that I am doing better things for my health long run which is important as I spent most of my life into my 20's obese. I also know I am having fun and making friends which are important as well in daily life. Life is too short not to do something just because you can't be the best at it, as long as you have fun with it then enjoy yourself.
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