Iron skillets

My children are on Christmas break and today they went to a cookie-decorating party at the home of an “iron skillet” mom and friend of mine.

“Iron skillet” is what I call mothers who have three or more children, and they do it all. They possess boundless energy for other people’s children, including mine, and everything else thrown at them without keeling over.

NOTHING seems to stop them — no child’s tantrum in public flusters them; no homework project is too large; no work schedule gets too hectic; no crisis is insurmountable.

Like real iron skillets, they can cook anything, followed by a hefty side of bacon, and nothing gets burned.

Iron-skillet moms are akin to ultramarathoners in the running world. Biomechanically they just aren’t like the rest of us and they don’t get sidelined for too long. They are Energizer Bunnies. They keep going … and going … and going. …

In case you haven’t guessed by now, I’m not an iron skillet.

I’m more like a crepe pan, which can only cook up one thing at a time.

The iron skillet is versatile by necessity, unlike the poky crepe pan. An iron skillet can flip and turn and grill a whole bunch of stuff all at once. 

I know that I have limitations and I do better juggling things methodically.

If I had a third child, for example, I’m afraid I’d lose the poor kid or forget to strap him into his car seat or something.

I get overwhelmed some times when the two children I already have tag-team me.  

And like a crepe pan if I don’t watch what I’m cooking, things get singed. I don’t like that.

I admire iron-skillet women, even though I’m not in their league.

My mother and sister are true iron skillets. They each had three children. That’s probably why they look at me quizzically half the time yet still love me despite my foibles.

My sister, an engineer, at least appreciates my need to approach things methodically.

My mother, who rushes her projects, just doesn’t get me or my pace at all but puts up with my crepe-pan tendencies nonetheless.

The woman who had the cookie party has three children, ages 6, 4 and 18 months, plus is a professor who teaches classes online, and is working on her Ph.D.

Today she hosted about a dozen kids at her house.

That’s classic iron-skillet behavior.

She’s extremely gracious and one of the nicest people I’ve met in the last year. Our boys love to be together and we often swap play dates, which allows her to finish her papers and me time for running, writing and this blog.

I often look at her and think, ‘I don’t know how she does it.’

It’s sort of like when I talk to other people who are not runners about my marathon running and training. They don’t get how I do it either.

Some how, some way we make things happen in life when we must or if the desire is strong enough.

Anything is possible if you put your mind to it, whether you’re already iron-skillet tough or even a bit of a crepe pan like me.  


Aging is inevitable, but growing old is a choice. Lace up your shoes, and let’s go!

Mileage today: 6.5; Denver to Boston miles logged: 949.5; Miles left to go: 820.5.

2 thoughts on “Iron skillets

  1. Donna – you just made my day, really. It crossed my mind to read your blog while trying to get the motivation to run (Platte River Half is just 4 months away!!), and I saw this. You are an inspiration to me, and while you may not have 3 biological kids, you borrow mine enough to count as a mom of 3. 🙂 You are a great crepe pan; artistic AND functional. Merry Christmas!!! Thanks for the laugh and give Tarzan a hug from my great ape.

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