You know how it is when you get a real Talking Heads moment? When you think How did I get here? This is not my beautiful house. Well, I had one of those moments two weeks ago when I found myself interviewing Lori Jones, mother of Olympic hurdler, Lolo Jones.
Honestly, my education is in political science and music. Before my kids were born I worked in finance, sales and event planning. How did I get to a place where I interview parents of athletes as a part of my job? It was a long and winding path, but I am so glad I took it.
Lori Jones is exactly like the moms P&G features in their best/hardest job campaign. She made the sacrifices necessary to support a family of six as a single parent and was still able to raise an Olympian.
I am the married mother of two and I stress out when my kids have soccer and tennis on the same day. I am both fascinated and humbled by a woman that was able to juggle two jobs on top of all of her parenting duties and raised a child that will be competing in London this summer in her second olympic games as a hurdler.
I asked Lori what sacrifices she had to make when Lolo was training. Ms. Jones said that she often had to take jobs that paid less to give her the flexibility to be around when her children needed her. She knew that what Lolo needed was for a mother that could be a support system and was present.
I know that all moms struggle with balance. When a child (or an adult for that matter) gets very involved in an activity it can be very difficult to maintain a schedule that doesn’t completely revolve around one thing. I asked Lori Jones about balance. She confirmed what I suspected – balance was hard. Lolo ran hurdles and was in the orchestra, her other children had different activities and she worked a lot.
We talked a little bit about the $1000 gift P&G is giving more than 800 of the Team USA moms to help them offset travel costs to London. Lori was so grateful. This gift isn’t just helping her. This gift is the single thing that is making it possible for Ms. Jones to go watch Lolo compete in the Olympic Games this summer. She was very appreciative of what Procter and Gamble is doing for the moms.
Finally, I wanted to know what Jones thought was the most important piece of advice she could offer a parent that wanted their child to compete at a high level. She gave me three pieces of advice. She said that first you need to find out what your child’s dreams are, secondly you should check in with your kid as often as possible and just make sure everything is alright and third and most importantly, just be there. Be there for your children.
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Disclaimer: I am being compensated for my work with Procter & Gamble but these words and these stories are my own.