Turia Pitt has limited spare time these days. “I know that’s something most mothers or women in general would relate to,” she says. The athlete shares two children, Hakavai and Rahiti, with her fiancé, Michael Hoskin.
Anyone who has navigated motherhood can relate. Most mothers are deficient in spare time due to their disproportionate “mental load” – the emotional and cognitive labour that accompany logistical tasks, as per the Journal of Community, Work and Family. Things like planning dinners, washing school uniforms, organising birthday presents, all typically fall to women. This mindset starts from a young age, something Turia knows all too well.
“If you think about a little boy, he’s probably socialised to look out for himself; to have big plans for himself,” the author tells us. “Whereas a little girl, she might be socialised to be considerate of others; to think of other people; to care for other people. As women, we have this pressure on us to be taking care of the people around us; our families, our colleagues; we don’t want to be seen as selfish,” the mindset coach adds.
Ironically, according to Turia, a little ‘selfishness’, can have a positive ripple effect on those around you. “What I’ve found, is that when you carve out a small part of your day to prioritise yourself, even though that can be really hard with all of the demands on your time, it makes me a better mom, and probably a less a little irritable because I’ve tried to fill my cup.”
Acknowledging that having a “supportive partner” in Michael is helpful and not the reality for many, Turia encourages mothers to leave the chores behind when they can. “Do something for yourself,” she insists. “I genuinely think you will return home feeling rested and more energised.”
Alone time to recuperate is particularly important on the bad days, of which the marathon runner isn’t immune to. “They’re a part of life with kids,” she tells us. “Some days are really delightful and interesting and rewarding; other days just feel like a slog. On those days, it’s really easy to get down on yourself and feel like you’re a bad parent. But I think it’s really important to acknowledge that, just because you’re having a hard day, that doesn’t make you a bad parent; it’s just a hard day.”
Self-compassion is a lesson Turia is attempting to teach her children. “My kids are three and five, so they’re probably still really egocentric, like any other kid would be,” she says. “I just try to teach them that they’re not always gonna win; they’re not always gonna be the best at things. They can still try; they can still have a go and enjoy the process and have fun.”
As a mindset coach, Turia has never been one for the motivational phrases you might see plastered on a gym wall (in an offensively large font). NO PAIN, NO GAIN, one might read. WHEN THERE’S A WILL, THERE’S A WAY.
“That’s not what I did throughout my journey,” Turia insists. “I allowed myself to fail; I showed myself some compassion; I acknowledged that I would have bad days. For a lot of women, we feel like if we don’t do something perfectly, then we failed or it doesn’t count. But I think the opposite. I think if you show up and you have a go, even if you don’t finish it, or if you quit halfway through, I believe that’s still making progress.”
Turia is partnering with HOKA for their Fly Run on Saturday, September 23rd. The free event is being held at Bennelong Lawn in Sydney, NSW. Turia will be taking part in the run and hosting a masterclass on ‘The Joy of Running and Limitless Possibility’.
“I think so many of us have this misconception that to be able to run you need to be very athletic,” Turia says. “And running for sure can be like that. But also, there’s a large part of it that’s just about moving for the joy of it, and not setting yourself up for failure by having super high expectations of yourself.”
Clearly, a mindset shift can go a long way, in every aspect of our lives.