Balancing the Stress of Family Life with the Stress of Competition and Training

I will begin with a story, more specifically, a confession. There were a few years where I was so focused on training I did not go to family events, eat with my family for meals (always watching every bite I ate), never went out, and just was hyper focused on training to the point that I was self-isolating. Yet I am grateful to my family because they knew I was struggling to find a balance and let me work through the process. While my mom knew I was missing things, she also knew it had to be on my time. It was my balancing act to fit things in, and she was right.

Over time I have learned to have my scheduled training time exist alongside my scheduled family and social life. It isn’t spontaneous like most people, but I do work hard to fit in time for family and friends. So, here are my thoughts on how to get the best of it all.

1. Figure out what you need for training. What is the optimal schedule?

Schedule training time based on when your best training partners there, which cross-training activities you need, and when the best time to train is? For me, this is a hardcore jits session with my brother and sometimes a couple of others two hours before noon class and then an additional noon class five days a week.

Three days a week right after this I also go lift for one hour (I regularly change up the exercises, to keep pushing my body), then I go eat and rest a couple of hours.  Three days a week I teach littles pre jits, but five days I hit evening class and then roll that is another two to three hours or more.

Saturday is two-hour open mat and privates and lifting. Sunday is my “rest” day, I only teach privates and do judo for one to two hours.

2. Then when do you have time and energy in there for family and other events?

I usually take off once every month or two to support teammates in local fights. This is a good social outing because I am still in the mindframe of jits and competition. Also, I try to be flexible with some Saturday and Sunday evenings for family and friends. I definitely don’t overdo it. I guess I am the youngest early to bed adult. The” grandma” of the group, if you will. I rarely am out past 11pm. I may not be asleep until 1 am, but I try to get home and get things done and be in bed as close to midnight as possible so I can keep up with training the next day.

3. So, we still have all the house chores and helping get family places they are supposed to be.

I may not have my own children, but I do help with my siblings, getting them places when my mom can’t and while my dad is away at work. Although my mom is with us whenever she can be, I’m still not sure how she gets it all in, but guess that is why I can get so much done. I have learned and watched her all my life. She and my dad both not only work hard but also schedule to get it all done. We all do dishes, cook, clean, and do laundry (that is a lot of laundry with the amount of Gis David and I go through daily).

4. What about extended family? What do you have to do to be involved in with them?

Coming from one of 10, I have a lot of siblings and nieces and nephews. I spend a few minutes several times a week FaceTiming with a number of them. I am reminded often that I am a role model for them, I take this job seriously and take the time to let them know I love them. I may not have even been to my sister’s house with 3 little girls, but I FaceTime them multiple times a week so they know I support them and think of them. Even if this is just a few minutes. I think it is important that they know I take time for them.

5. With all of the stress will you occasionally break, cry, and feel like it is never enough no matter how hard you try?

Well, for me this is a regular occurrence. I am rarely satisfied with myself and all that I get done. I laughed the other night; I won a costume contest…well, 3rd place. It was the first time I had not cried for getting 3rd place. I often work so hard to get something that less than 1st place is hard. This past year I have even had the experience of not podiuming. I am learning to be proud of the work I put in regardless of the outcome. That goes for competing, training, and life. If I do all that I can, and I appreciate the work and effort I put in then the rest will come as it is meant to be. I love this sport. I love the grind. I love feeling myself grow and become better. It will be lifelong. May we all find our peace with the goals, stressors, and daily minutia. Become your lion or lioness!

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