Joanne Palmer: The motherhood Olympiad
February 3, 2010
Dear Olympic Committee:
This is a letter of protest. The start of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games is less than two weeks away, and there are no events, no time trials and no competition for mothers. Motherhood is the most physically and mentally challenging activity there is, and yet the Olympic Committee fails to recognize us. If you ever tried to keep up with an 18-month-old or outsmart a teenager, you'd agree with me. And yet, the Olympics continues to focus on simple stuff such as bobsledding, hockey and figure skating.
Skating around the ice in a sparkly outfit in front of adoring, cheering fans is a piece of cake compared with staying up all night in a ratty bathrobe with a colicky, cranky baby.
Oh, great Olympic Committee, you missed a big opportunity to recognize mothers all across the world and give them the praise, honor and glory we so sorely deserve. All of us deserve a gold medal, but instead, give us an uninterrupted night of sleep and a day at a five-star spa.
Now, here are some suggested events:
Motherhood biathlon: In this event, mothers compete against one another to see who can zip through the grocery store and get everything on their list before their child has a complete and total meltdown or hurls a dozen eggs out of the cart.
Diaper-thon: Who can change a diaper faster, a mother or a father? In this dual time trial, each parent must change 25 diapers in a row. Whoever finishes first wins. In the second heat, each parent must smell three poopy diapers in quick succession without making a face or exhibiting a reaction of any kind.
Speed nagging: Which mother can get her child to perform a simple household task such as cleaning their room, doing the dishes or picking up their dirty clothes without resorting to bribes, particularly monetary? The mother with the first child to actually complete the task without whining, sulking or making excuses wins.
Speed bragging: The mother who can, in 60 seconds, proudly list the most accomplishments achieved by her child wins!
Speed napping: What mother can fall asleep in a parked car, sitting in a restaurant or while carrying on a conversation? First mother to start snoring wins.
Weight lifting: Mothers attempt a maximum weight single lift of a barbell loaded with six-pound infants. In the second heat, "the snatch" mothers compete against one another to see who can save their child from simulated danger such as an oncoming car, a bag of Cheetos or the arrival of bossy grandparents.
Slalom: Which mother can jump, skip and hop over all obstacles placed in her way (i.e. the dog, piles of unfolded laundry and, oops, the bag of groceries she forgot to put away) and get out the door in record time? Michelle Duggar, who at last count had 19 children, holds the world record.
Curling: Using a battery-operated curling iron, mothers compete against one another to see who can curl their hair, apply makeup and put on professional work attire while getting their children out of bed, dressed, fed and buckled into a car seat.
Sleep deprivation-thon: Which mother can still perform basic parenting tasks after a night of no sleep? In the first heat, mothers stuff a wiggly toddler into a snowsuit, construct a Stars Wars battle ship from 300 Lego pieces without an instruction manual and sing, "The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round," 25 times. Before competing in Round 2, they are allowed a 20-minute nap.
Thank you for your attention to this matter. I hope to see these events in the Summer Games!