{Giving Up My Stilettos…Sort of}

I’m giving up my stilettos. Seriously, I don’t wear them anymore.

About two years ago I first thought about the irony of my blog title and Instagram profile since wearing stilettos wasn’t and isn’t really something I do anymore except on rare occasions. This post has sat in my draft folder for six months waiting for me to finish it. For some reason, I’ve been hesitant to share my world lately.

Despite being adamant that becoming a mother wouldn’t make me give up the old me, that’s exactly what has happened. What is even more,  I don’t even miss it that much.  Okay…some days I do, but those are usually the “I don’t have to,” lots of whining and exhausted days. These kids just change you in so many ways. And, really, heels just hurt now.

Truth be told, I fall asleep most nights moments after I sit down (often around 9:00-9:30) or while pumping before bed.  I can’t handle late nights and wouldn’t want to imagine what the next day would be like after really getting crazy.  I don’t even really drink anymore.  I had less than 6 glasses of wine this past summer and have had no beer since my elimination diet began mid-June.  It has now been six months since I enjoyed a beer.  (I do miss that.) My one glass of wine a week works just fine for me now.

I can count on one hand the number of kid free moments the husband and I have had together in the last year plus, and it’s kind of okay with me for now.  After having my second baby I also learned, through much research, that all that heel wearing likely contributed to the abdominal separation that I am still battling. And battle it has been.

To think of how becoming a mommy has changed me is almost indescribable.  I’ve become much softer (literally and figuratively), think of myself less, consider what others might be going through more, and ask myself how every choice I make will impact my kids.  I find joy in much simpler things.  I feel like I need less and want less.  I make sacrifices every single day. I ride tire swings even though it makes me so nauseous just to see that big smile and hear that laugh.

I’m now a tea drinking, grain-free and sugar-limiting, La Croix drinking, bone broth making, collagen in my coffee, library card holding patron, hair pulled up most the time, baby wearing, head rubbing, one more story reading, momma hold me, kiss it all better mama.  To think kids wouldn’t change me entirely was crazy, yet you won’t see my blog name changing.

In a way the title still fits.  As a busy, and often overwhelmed, mom I still have things I want for myself even if they are different things or perhaps not actually “things” at all.  Although I really struggle when it comes to taking time for myself, it is a struggle I will always be battling.  How do I give my kids meaningful experiences, fill their cups full, teach them what they need to learn, run a household, work full time, breastfeed as long as baby girl is interested, and still have any time and/or energy for myself? How do I do that without taking away from the important things listed above and not feel guilty. When I figure it out I’ll let you know, but my guess is you might be waiting for a very, very long time.

Stilettos represented the social life I once had, and going out and having fun.  In a way, stilettos now represent the old me.  I am a Gemini.  While I don’t subscribe to astrology too much, I’ve always found myself to have two distinct personalities per say.  Part of me loves social time and getting out with friends and the husband.  Staying at home for more than one weekend a month used to send me into “I’m-going-to-go-crazy-if-I-don’t-get-out-of-here” soon mode.

On the flip side, I was also always craving my alone time. Just me and my sneaks on the pavement or the trail.  My mind going to a state that I never found anywhere but running.  Running made (and still does) me a calmer, happier and a better version of myself when doing all the other life things.  I was always trying to balance my social life with my running life.   Going out on Saturday night and having a long run Sunday…the two just don’t go together, but I was never completely happy settling for just one of those things, constantly going back and forth on my personality spectrum trying to make both work.

Now Sneaks and Stilettos represents a similar challenge in finding time to myself.  Those rare moments where I feel like my old self.  The pre-mom self who didn’t worry ALL the time about her kids about EVERYTHING.

Do they feel loved enough?  Will they like each other?  Like really like each other and be friends as siblings when they grow up? How can I help them form this kind of relationship?  Am I shaping them to be kind and generous people?  Are they learning what they should be learning? Should he be counting higher, naming colors, imagining more, playing with other kids his age more?  Are they going to have clothes to wear for that upcoming whatever?  Did I order more probiotic?  What will be our next food trial?  Is she reacting to my new vitamin? Should I be more concerned that she is not walking yet?  Are his ankles turning in when he walks?  Are they getting all the vitamins and nutrients they should?  Why is he so scared of bedtime?  How can I help him be less worried and scared of the dark? Are they happy?

How in the hell am I going to continue to survive the upcoming school year making everything from freakin’ scratch for my grain-free and sugar limited diet. How do I continue to accomplish my school goals and find time to pump at school?  Will this girl sleep through the night soon? How will I juggle all this and still be a niceish person?  How many moments will I miss while they are being taken care of by others?  Wait, did I change the diaper size on our next Amazon subscribe and save order?  Crap, I think that bill is due today.   My mind goes on and on.  So much noise.  So much worry.

Sneaks and Stilettos now represents the balance I try to find between being a mother and getting in time for myself.  It represents my effort to quiet some of that noise and worry in my mind.  I know after not having that balance for the past months that it is not good for me or for anyone when I don’t take care of myself.

Sneaks and Stilettos is about playing with my kids without distraction from my phone and giving them my full attention and later getting a solo drive to Starbucks and back for a little mommy recharge.  It’s about going out for a girls night and having a glass of wine after putting my kids to bed. Sneaks and Stilettos is about what brings me balance between mom life and still feeling like me the most-EXERCISE.

Exercise is a time to shut that worry off if only for minutes at a time.  It brings me a sense of carefreeness that is almost nonexistent once you become a mom.  You know, the before kids freeness.  I need to move my body to feel like myself.  I need to be outside and experience the simple joys of nature and sunshine to recharge. Exercise lets me forget that someone always needs something.  Someone is always sick or has some new thing just starting.  It takes me back to a time where there wasn’t always something that had to be done.  I maybe thought there was but, let’s be honest, there really wasn’t.

It’s a time where there are not meals to be planned, groceries to be bought, budgets to balance, new clothes to order, bike helmets to be replaced because someone left it on the trunk of the car and mom didn’t know and drove off and it fell into the road and got hit by a car (this just happened a couple months ago), and so on.

It’s just me and myself.  My shoes on the pavement.  My own breath.  The wind in my hair. Music I chose for myself (no Old McDonald).   Sneaks and Stilettos is now about letting me feel like myself again for small moments so I can be the best version of myself the rest of the time.  It’s about choosing me and doing what I need for myself a few minutes each day, so I can be more selfless and present for my family later.

Sneaks and Stilettos was always about finding balance within myself, and finding happiness between the have to dos and the want to dos. That hasn’t changed even though almost my entire life has.  Despite all the worry and life changing moments, I would not go back to my old life if I had the choice.  Those giggles, hugs, first moments, sticky hands, tender nursing sessions in the middle of the night, even my son’s endless “why?” comments these days are all worth it.

As I finally get back into running, training, exercise classes, blogging and finding an inevitable unbalanced version of balance in my life that brings contentment again, I feel like my blog title is even more symbolic of my life today.

While you won’t literally see me in my stilettos much in the future, you’ll still see me trying to fit in what stilettos now means to me in between chasing my two kids in my sneaks.

Sarah

{That Childlike Joy}

For the first time since having P I’m not talking about anything to do with him when I say childlike joy.  Wednesday was a trying evening.  All the demands and the to-do list got to me.  I found myself saying, “I just can’t do this.”  I was tired.  It was past my bedtime.  I was, you know, not at my best.

The following morning I was blessed with a two hour delay.  An extra two magnificent hours to get some stuff done.  I took part of that time to go for a run.  Finding time for myself is near impossible, so when I’m given an opportunity to run I take it bad weather or not.


The snow was fresh.  A blank canvas just waiting for my footprints.  I love winter running days like this.  Fresh snow on trees.  Covered sidewalks means probably not slippery.  Snow bank jumping.  Being the first person to make their footprints in a path.  A hard, but rewarding workout is almost guaranteed.


During my last half mile a favorite song that I wouldn’t normally run to came on, big fat snowflakes started falling and I felt the unfamiliar-these-days running high.  When I turned on my street I felt an intense desire to make snow angels. 

I immediately headed to the backyard and made a snow angel.  I took in the peaceful silence that only winter brings.  If you’ve spent time outside on a snowy day without wind you know what I mean. As I snow angeled away, I closed my eyes and felt the snowflakes hit my face.  Big.  Fat.  Snowflakes.  I felt like a child again.  My heart was bursting with childlike joy that makes keeping a smile off your face impossible.  My stresses melted away.  The to do list gone from my mind.


And people wonder why runners run-especially in the winter.  Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!

I hope you find some childlike joy this weekend.

Sarah

I run because…I need balance in my life.

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Some people will be wondering what is next after my 50k. After following (although somewhat loosely at times) a training plan since the last week in December, I’m sort of ready to run what I want when I want. I’ve got some recovery action that will take place this next week, followed by some inbetween marathon training that will let me be flexable while also keeping me in shape for my next races-the Foot Traffic Flat Marathon on July 4th in Portland, Oregon and the Missoula Marathon on July 13th in Montana. The plan will allow plenty of time to enjoy summer, the husband and whatever else I feel like doing.

Finding balance between being a runner and a person is so important for me.  I love my time alone on the roads and trails, but I also need the social fun of being with others.  Too much of one or the other leaves me unbalanced and feeling cranky.

All day I’m surrounded by people-from the adults I work with to the 130 students I see in a day to the athletes I coach. Running offers me time to hear my own thoughts in my head, to process what I feel, and to rejuvenate myself for the next day.
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On the flip side too much time alone on the road or the trails makes me sad and puts feelings of discontent in my heart. Being around my students, friends, family and the husband help to restore the fun in my life in a way running doesn’t always fulfill. After too much time alone I crave being around others.
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I find I am happiest and most content with running when I am happiest and most content outside of running. When my life is full (but not too full) running provides me with the greatest joy. When life is challenging and difficult running provides me with an outlet, but often it is not my best or favorite time to run.

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I like this image, but tend to think that life is more good than bad. The yin-yang would need to be a little uneven to represent how I view this balance.

Running encourages balance in life.  Running allows me to sort through all my responsiblities and still make time for myself.  Running helps me see that work is work and sometimes there is more to life than just your job.  Running also helps me to see how much I love my job and gets my creative juices flowing while my feet hit the pavement.  While out on runs I’m reminded of how great the people are in my life and all they do to support me.  This is especially important when people in my life are frustrating me.  Running simply gives me time to think about all I’m juggling in life.

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Balance in all parts of life is always important. I don’t believe for a second that I have this figured out, nor do most people (I think, I hope). Running miles helps me find more balance than if I were not a runner. This is just one more benefit and reason why I love this sport.

How do you find balance between running and the rest of your life?  Tips?  Suggestions?

S & S

{I run because…it helps me make sense of things}

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The past few weeks have been an emotional roller coaster. So many wonderful things have happened…meeting your best friends’ new baby, having a surprise birthday party, skydiving and first marathons, and finding out friends are pregnant. At the same time more bad things have happened to people near and dear to me than in a while. They say bad things come in three’s, but we are well past that.
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Sometimes life is so confusing when we try to make sense of why things happen to certain people. Why bad things happen to good people. Without being too specific three weeks ago a close family member lost their job, another had a bad breakup and is moving home, and another made a bad choice and got a DUI (luckily they didn’t hurt anyone else). Two weeks ago a former student of mine died way too soon. Today I just found out a college friend with a young family has stage three cancer. It seems each week brings something more upsetting, shocking, and sad that makes me question everything.

It is days and moments like these that I lace up my shoes and pound the pavement for answers. Today I almost skipped my run overcome with emotion and sadness, but then I reminded myself how running almost always makes things seem more sensical and manageable. Sometimes I get no answers or real explanations while out on the road, but somehow things make more sense when I turn back into the driveway. And really what answers would make sense?
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Life is full of unknowns, events we can’t begin to predict, and moments taken away from people too soon. There is something about the rhythm of pounding feet on pavement, the sound of your breath, and nature in action all around that brings a sense of calm and peace. While this isn’t understanding, and it certainly doesn’t take the pain away, it does give you time with your thoughts to process, comprehend, and begin to move forward. It gives you those moments alone so you can be strong for the people who need you. When life presents the unexpected, thankfully there is running to help you push through the challenges.

SS