Dara Torres is of course the official Olympic hero for middle-aged Americans. She’s 41, she had a baby not so long ago in 2006, she started winning Olympic medals as a swimmer way back in 1984 – and here she is again, not only competing in the Olympics but winning – a silver medal so far.
Whether you’re a regular exerciser, a wanna-be or a channel-clicker, this is a great story – expanding not only what’s considered possible with a somewhat older body, but also showing that there’s all sort of ways bodies adapt to pregnancy and childbirth, and not necessarily for the worse. Like with the New York City Marathon winner, who trained throughout her pregnancy. (Cookie Magazine found a couple of other Olympic moms). Maybe one day these women won’t even be stories.
As terrific and stereotype-busting as these elite athletes’ accomplishments are, most of us won’t ever compete at these kind of levels. And I for one would have been in big trouble if it were the norm to jump from the delivery room to the training pool. (Just because maternity doesn’t have to define a woman’s condition, just because she can jump right back from birthing to banking, doesn’t mean she wants to, and certainly shouldn’t be required to.)
But there are some daily feats of average moms (and dads) that would work great as events in a different kind of Olympic competition:
The Sleeping Baby Car Transfer: Parents must transfer a sleeping baby from crib to car seat – without waking the baby up. Even if awoken, parent must soothe crying baby, change diaper, and still get the group to the appointment/school/playgroup on time. Extra points awarded if performance includes a dog jumping around and barking or cat weaving between feet.
The Grocery Shopping Marathon: Parent must buy a week’s worth of groceries for a family – with a child or children in tow. Shoppers without children can substitute small, active chimps or baby goats. Points subtracted for in-store breakage, groceries on the aisle floors and unwanted items in cart. Extra points awarded if you’re not too embarrassed by the performance to return the next week.
The Young Child Schlep: Parent juggles children, including one who doesn’t yet know how or refuses to walk, and all the equipment needed for a 12-minute excursion from the house, including diaper bag, change of clothes, snack, drink, favorite toy, book, spare baby carrier, etc. Stroller not allowed. (You were just running out for a minute.) Extra points awarded if total strangers don’t offer major pitying looks.
The Public Toilet Germ Avoidance Dance: Parent must change baby’s diaper and/or assist older child on the toilet while simultaneously preventing any part of child and/or baby/child equipment from touching any part of the public facilities. Shoe bottoms an exception. Extra points awarded if family can exit restroom without anyone touching the door with bare skin.