Gwen Jorgensen runs during a training session as she preps to return to triathlon.
As an athlete, we are constantly compared to other athletes. How did our stats stack up? What did our times reveal? Who is the better athlete?
Unfortunately, as moms, the same is true.
After winning the gold medal in triathlon at the Olympic Games Rio 2016, I switched to long-distance running and tried my hand at the marathon while also starting a family.
When reconsidering a return to triathlon, my biggest hesitation was the guilt I would feel as a mom. What would this mean for my kids? How would it affect them when I leave for a race? How would I spend enough time with them?
In sports, we have a team to help us. When we boast about our accomplishments as an athlete, we credit those people and brag about them from the rooftops.
But as a mother, far too often we pretend like there’s no wizard behind the curtain. No daycare watching our children so we can work to pay for that luxury, or babysitters swooping in to save us when our child gets sick and we’re stuck at work. Most of us have a team — some big, some small — even if it’s an online group of fellow moms to help when we don’t have all the answers.
With my first son, Stanley, now 5 years old, I thought I had to be all those people. I didn’t know it was okay to ask for help. And certainly, no one was talking about it. But, with age comes wisdom. So, the second time around I gave myself permission to ask for help.
With the birth of our second son, George, now three months old, our family also welcomed an au pair, LouLou, into our family. She is from France and teaches Stanley words in French, and laughs when he shows her something funny. She is a part of our family now and is a huge blessing, allowing my husband Patrick — a sports agent — and me to be better parents. With her help, we show our children that it’s okay to follow your own passion.
LouLou makes it possible to go as a family to New Zealand in February and compete in two races — my first time back on the blue carpet since 2016.
Am I nervous? Yes. Do I think I am at peak fitness? No. But, I am excited to show my five-year-old — who doesn’t want to do things unless he can be perfect — that we’re not always perfect. Success is more than perfection. It’s striving, giving our best on that day, and showing up to try.