Support Can Keep Us Together

It was uplifting to read this article in a recent edition of The New York Times to validate what I’ve always known: in order to succeed in our relationships and in our parenting, we must have support.

Of course, when it’s two Olympic medalist-moms in question, many officials will move mountains to make their athletic careers work. But it wasn’t always easy for women athletes wanting to start families.

The athletes in question – Kikkan Randall and Marit Bjorgen, elite cross-country skiers who recently won medals in Pyeongchang – wanted to succeed in juggling work and family, even though that “work” entailed hours every day of intense training, a need for more sleep than the average mom and a travel schedule that would be difficult for non-parent seasoned travelers. 

The world can be a small place. It needs to be when you want something and you can’t do it alone.

It’s incredible on a personal level as well as a professional one, how these moms formed an alliance to support each other and their families across nations.

After recent pregnancies, Randall and others in her league shared advice on parenting and how to get back into shape for their sport. She and Bjorgen ended up in South Korea for the Olympics; two other athletes in their circle came close to joining them.

Together, these women formed a powerful conglomerate of moms who persuaded the International Ski Federation to support them, too. Randall and Finland’s Aino-Kaisa Saarinen persuaded the Federation to provide credentials for caregivers and find space at the Olympics for babies, rooms filled with diapers and toys.

The women talk about how they called on each other, their partners, their parents and in-laws, to help with caregiving so they could succeed at their sport. They faced questions that all mothers face, like: “How do I be the best mom I can be while succeeding in my career, too?”

And they’re blazing a trail for future generations – of athletes, and of moms.

If we don’t stand up for one another, no one will stand up for us. We are always stronger together.

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