{Confessions of a (Sort of) Mother Runner}

I’ve been absent a lot lately from this blog and well, running too.  I’ve been busy working on that whole balancing act called motherhood.  Some days life is great while other days suck because of all the time you spend doing things you have to do rather than what you want to do (snuggles, baby giggles, get in a workout!)  Mostly, it is nearly impossibly busy.

 {Being a mom is amazing.  Being a working mother runner not so amazing.}  I’d hate for anyone to think that the working mother runner life isn’t a struggle each day especially after my recent childlike joy post was so positive.  I like positive and uplifting.  I like not making excuses and complaining about what you can control, but I also like real.  Honest and real.  And that is not always pretty, positive and uplifting.

{I used to think I knew so much.}  I used to imagine what life would be like as a working mother runner.  I laugh at myself now.  Loudly.  Belly laugh. Here’s to hoping this helps some future mother runners or others in the trenches to see even for people who love to run, exercise, etc. like myself, finding the tools to make it happen as a mom are another thing entirely.

Oh, and to working mother runners (and really any mothers) before me, I’m so sorry for thinking I understood.  I didn’t.  Now I do.  Please consider my sincere apology while you read my confessions.

  {I thought being a mother runner would be a lot easier than it is.}  In reality it is so, so, so hard with an ever-changing routine, breastfeeding, working.  I only have been finding the time to run/workout approximately once a week since my half marathon in October.

{I thought people who said they didn’t have time to workout after having kids were simply choosing not to.}  I want to.  I’m not choosing not to.  I plan my day from sun up to bedtime in my planner just to make sure I don’t forget all that must be done that day.  We have a daily chore chart posted in the house.  These lists rarely afford me more than 5 minutes to just sit and think, stop and take a breath, or just do nothing.  My mind is always moving at a million miles per hour nearly all the time.  These lists though save me from Sunday meltdowns when I realize all the chores that need to be done when what I really want is all the cuddles from my boys before the very long work week begins.

  {I thought loving something so much that you do it almost daily and consider it part of your identity would be impossible not to continue.  Unthinkable even.}  Who were those people who let their dreams become their past?  Now I’m not even sure some days if I should call myself a runner with how few runs I’ve been on since going back to work.

  {I thought moms who didn’t make time for themselves were annoying.}  Now it turns out I’m annoying.  How do you make time for yourself when there are 850 million things to do, 9+ hours to work in a day, food to be made, pumping to be done, a house to clean, …you get it.  You probably know yourself.  What the hell did I do with my time before kids?  SERIOUSLY what was I doing before?

    

 
{I thought moms who lost themselves in motherhood were disappointing.}  Remember I apologized in advance.  All I could think of were the goals and dreams postponed or worse-lost forever. Talk about postponed and a picture of me comes up.  I guess I’m disappointing.  Being disappointing has never been so rewarding.  How do you not be all-consumed when mothering those babies.  Those little toes, giggles and toothy smiles just turn you into putty and make you want to do anything for their benefit.  Missing runs, fun time with the girls, getting your hair cut and colored, taking a proper shower, eating-nothing is now more important than quality time with this little tiny person.
    

{I thought I would need my me time…and that need would keep me working out.}  I do miss my me time, but not more than I miss my boy.  I have a really hard time leaving my boy for a run when I hardly see him during the week.  He pretty much has to be sleeping for me to leave. Not so easy for me when his wake up time fluctuates and I’m dead tired with a list of things to do after bedtime.

{I thought a mother runner could work full time, breastfeed, run and train for distance races all while being a present and involved mother AND find time to blog about it while looking put together because I have juggled so much for years.}  Juggling motherhood with life is like adding ten more balls into the mix.  At any given moment at least half the balls are on the floor.  I’m not one to say anything is impossible, but let’s be real people. Doing all that is IMPOSSIBLE.  Since coming to terms with reality, I’ve realized I’ve never read a blog post from or met such a person.  Either they don’t work full time or they are not breastfeeding beyond the early months or they walk around a hot mess or something.

  {I will not be running the Houston Marathon on Sunday.}  When I was pregnant  I refused to believe I couldn’t accomplish my goals while also being a present mom.  A couple of months ago minimal training started to allow doubt to creep in on this goal of mine.  I really didn’t want to hurt myself in pursuit of a goal I didn’t prepare for.  I also was having some serious mom guilt and lack of interest in leaving Pierce for the weekend.  I hardly see him Monday-Friday so the last thing I want is a weekend away from him.  My flight times were at night and I’d be going alone to save money so it would be really hard to bring Pierce along.

Struggling to train and not wanting to miss the boy, but still wanting to achieve my goal proceeded to cause a lot of internal conflict within myself.  That conflict was resolved in the past month by two things.

  1. The reality of my breastfeeding situation took the edge off realizing I might not accomplish my goal.  In early December I had about 10 extra bags of milk in the freezer.  To go to Houston I’d need 19.  I told myself if had a really good pumping month I could do this!!!  Then I got sick for two weeks and I struggled to make extra milk since I felt like crap and was too tired to get up for extra pumping sessions.  A couple of weeks later I got the stomach flu and became dehydrated and was only making an ounce or two at a time.(luckily this only lasted a day).  As I watched those bags of milk disappear from the freezer, I started to accept I would not be running this marathon.  
  2. The ironic twist to this all came last Saturday when my stepmom had a close family member pass away.  My dad and stepmom live in Texas and would have been coming to see me run and were the reason (along with visiting my sister) for choosing this race.  They are actually in Wisconsin now and wouldn’t have made it to the marathon.  I would have been alone at the race rather than visiting family.  This would have made bringing Pierce impossible, too.

{I’m not as upset as I thought I would be that I won’t be at the starting line Sunday.}  Getting race reminders stings some, but I realize that some things just are not meant to be.  Goals sometimes have to be readjusted.

My point of these confessions is not to be negative.  I also know this is my life and I owe no one an explanation for races I run and don’t run, but I think sharing struggles makes the difficulty in enduring them less.  It also helps to show I’m only human like everyone else.

{I’ve realized it’s not my season.  Seasons of life come and go, but currently running is not in season.  I don’t know when it will be.}  It still brings me joy.  I miss it almost everyday.  When I get to run it’s like paying extra for that really good produce that came from somewhere it’s in season…sweet, refreshing, addicting and intoxicating.  It leaves you wondering why you don’t have more.  Then you read my confessions and you understand.

  {Despite not making it to the starting line of my past two marathons in the past couple of months, I remain determined to get into a better routine of running and to run another marathon sooner rather than later.}  They say insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.  I guess that means I have to do some things differently this time.

  {I value my personal goals, but NEVER at the sacrifice of my son’s needs or things that will benefit him.}  For now running is spotty, not so fresh, often unavailable and I’m learning to be ok with that while also always working to be better about it.  Do I miss the fresh stuff? 

Confession-Without a doubt.  Living in the Badger state has taught me that seasons come and go quickly.  Every season has amazing things to enjoy in each of them and unique memories to be made.

{I’m not an expert at anything.  I’m just a sort of mother runner trying to do something I love out of season.}

Sarah

 

3 thoughts on “{Confessions of a (Sort of) Mother Runner}

  1. I am a runner from SW Wisconsin and ran upon your blog while searching for a race report about the Grandad’s half. ( I like to research a little before I run a new race) I just wanted to give you my experience as someone who has gone through what you are going through. I have 5 kids and work full time. I was a die-hard exerciser while in college. Then came marriage and babies and die-hard just became hard. Something had to give, and the time with my babies was a non-negotiable for me. I had to set priorities and they were it. Not because I had to, but because I wanted to. I missed the workouts, but there was no time in the day to do any more that what I already was. By the end of the day I was used up.
    Now my babies are 17 on down to 6. I have been able to become the runner I always wanted to be. I completed my first half and am currently training for Grandmas as my first full. While my babies were little, I thought I wasn’t training. I was very wrong. While my workouts were not physical, I was getting in some really good mental training. Half of running is mental and those years of struggling to make everything fit into a day made me mentally tough. Now that I have been able to get back to consistent running, I have brought with it a belief in my own toughness. I know that I can hang in there when it gets tough. This past summer I PR’d in EVERY race I ran. This is because I knew I could do it and quitting was not a part of my vocabulary. I was not that mentally strong before I had to juggle the demands of motherhood.
    Enjoy the days of babyhood. Don’t feel guilty. You ARE training, just not in the way that you were used to. You will be a better runner in the end.

    • Thank you for sharing your experience! It is always helpful to hear that other moms struggled with similar issues. I agree that kids are only little for a while and that time is the most important thing. I would have never thought of motherhood as mental training, but it makes sense. I appreciate your fresh perspective!

      Also, congrats on your PRs! I loved Grandma’s Marathon. It was my first marathon and I fell in love with marathoning while training and running it. It is a great choice for your first marathon. Awesome and supportive crowd and race. Very organized and fun, too. I really have enjoyed the Grandad’s Half Marathon as well. Good luck on your upcoming races!!

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