Anushka's blog: Daring to Dream, Equality and Balance
So, I’m writing this after my husband has just completed the Marathon des Sables, dubbed the toughest foot race on Earth - 250km over 6 days, self-sufficient (carrying own food and gear) through the Sahara desert. He is away for 12 days but has been distracted for the last 1.5 years with the substantial training, physio and mental space occupied by such an undertaking.
He completed this with his brother and I am immensely proud of their achievement and happy that they’ve had this opportunity to bond and have the experience of pushing themselves to their absolute limits that few of us will ever be able to contemplate, not to mention the incredible sunrises, skies and scenes they have witnessed.
At first, admittedly, I was not at all pleased he was doing this. The impact on family life when we both work full time and look after primary age kids without childcare is not to be taken lightly. It has required huge organisation and, realistically, inadequate sleep to get those training runs in. Besides this, it is expensive and there is a risk you injure yourself and jeopardise any adventurous/ active retirement plans.
My husband mitigated the impact of the training runs on family life pretty excellently. That said, the mental space element is harder to mitigate. This got me thinking about what if the Hoka running shoe was on my foot instead? I wouldn’t dream of it largely because I view anything I do for myself as subtracting from valuable time with my kids and I also believe that how well they do generally correlates directly with how much time I spend with them. It may be a flawed assumption, yet I feel it is both subliminally and, in my case, quite overtly told to mothers. I suspect not as many fathers think this way yet can see no logical reason why their absence should be any less impactful.
I have always weighed up career progression against time with my kids and so naturally, in a joint career, joint parenting scenario, the absence of one parent affects the career of the other.
I am not sure how many of those reading this are in a similar mid-life crisis junctures of their lives. However, what I have learnt from this, which I hope is helpful, is that having this epic challenge has actually been fantastic, not only for my husband and his bond with brother but also his mental happiness. It has really brought the whole family together following him on this adventure and really elevated our kids and my own understanding of what is possible when you put your mind to it. It was a hugely positive experience BUT if you happen to be the hero upon whose shoulders your other half stands to achieve such things, make sure you equally have your epic adventure, relaxing retreat or whatever floats your boat too! You are not only owed it by your other half but you owe it to yourself!!
Anushka works full time for a professional services firm, is married with two kids aged 9 and 10 and no nanny!