Like many parents, as I read about how Rio De Janeiro has been preparing for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, I can’t help but think of my children.

Their dreams, yes. Their aspirations and opportunities, of course. But more specifically, as I find myself staring at a photo of Guanabara Bay, which captioned a “stinking mass of sewage, household rubbish and industrial pollutants,” and depicts a Disney backpack floating among piles of fabric and filth and plastic things that I do not recognize—I see a very strong similarity to their bedrooms.

In fact, as I drink my coffee from a mug that has “World’s Gre test  om” lovingly inscribed on the side, by a company that hawks them to school children at book fairs across the country, I realize that there are many crossovers between the Olympics and raising children. Except that with parenting, no-one really goes home with the gold.

1. There are a lot of questionable judgement calls.

It makes perfect sense to deny them cake for breakfast and then demand they finish their waffle.

 2. Someone will be accused of having “juice” where and when they weren’t supposed to.

And someone will get caught, get in trouble, and be put in time-out.

3. Someone is always crying.

Always. Crying. God. “You hurt my feelings!” “He took the dirty plastic spoon I found in the car and it was MINE!!”

4. Someone will wear a ridiculous costume in public.

It might be a four year old in a bath towel cape and Elsa underwear, or it might be you in yoga pants and a nightgown.

5. You will spend an excessive amount of time watching someone doing flips and handstands,

both in and out of the pool.

6. You are the audience to people who have way more energy than you.

There are days when just getting your child to brush her teeth makes you need to lie down. For like, a week.

7. There will be drama, and it will determine someone’s fate.

Can we get a dog? Can we get a dog? Can we get a dog? Whyyyyyyyyy?????

8. Someone will fall,

and need to be carried off the field.

9. But, it’s really amazing that more people don’t get hurt.

You will watch people jump, flip, throw themselves over and into things, chase each other with sharp pointed objects, and launch projectiles at each others faces—and miraculously, they don’t wind up in the ER nearly as often you would expect.

10. You will develop an irrational ‘dislike’

for another “athlete” or “coach” because you think they look mean.


But, finally, and most importantly, we are always there to cheer our little sports across the finish line. Because when they are standing there, using the cat litter scoop for a microphone, singing “Watch Me Whip” for the thousandth time, your applause will still mean everything.