{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.


{Why you should consider streaking!} #rwrunstreak 2016

I can’t say enough about my #rwrunstreak experience this summer.  In the past streaks have been hit or miss, and I’d never been as successful with streaking as I was with this streak.  I’m super proud of running 34 out of 36 days during the streak.

What was unexpected about this streak is all the benefits I gained from maintaining my streak.  I share them with you in hopes that you might try your own streak or join in the fall/winter streak from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day later this year and benefit, too.

{Benefit #1-Build on or maintain your fitness level.}

Even more rewarding than the number of days I ran was the way streaking helped me maintain and even build my fitness.  I attribute streaking with being the main reason why my recent 5 mile race at 24 weeks pregnant felt so great.  Running a mile feels like nothing most days now.  I also feel much stronger during runs of several miles than when I started out even though I’ve gained more weight and bump as my pregnancy has progressed.

This makes streaking a perfect way for runners to get back into running and to build fitness without overwhelming the body.  Because you get to pick the distance you run each day (as long as it is at least one mile) you can listen to your body.  Legs tired from your run the day before? Run one easy active recovery mile.  Legs feeling great and strong?  Go for a longer run.  You can always run just one mile tomorrow.  Maybe you just ran a marathon? A streak where you determine the miles not a training plan can be a perfect way to recover and find joy in running again.

{Benefit #2-Find you love of running.}


I know, I know streaking requires running everyday.  How can this make you love running? You get to control your run everyday.  You get to pick where, how far, how long, etc.  You can get creative with your route or run the same route each day.  You can determine your miles before you leave or run by feel and turn around whenever you want.  There is no training plan telling you what you must do.  Just you and your running shoes out for a run. Whether a newbie runner or an experienced runner getting back into running, you can find enjoyment in pounding the pavement.  Starting is always hard, but it will get easier!  Just don’t expect to love it right away.

I found that being able to run what I want, when I want made me find a lot more joy in running.  Yes, some days I dreaded getting out there, but I got to have that I-just-ran accomplished and awesomeness feeling, you guessed it, EVERY SINGLE DAY (well, except two.)  Talk about loving your run!

{Benefit #3-Lose the I’m busy excuse.}

I get it.  We are all busy.  I find myself using this word so much that I actually annoy myself.  But, guess what?  We all have time for streaking.  One of my biggest barriers to working out is feeling busy and like I don’t have time.  Make time for at least that mile and you will find making time for running gets easier and more important.  What is important to us we do.  I started planning ahead and over the course of the streak have gotten much better about making time in my life for running than I was prior to starting the streak.

Because you get to run what you choose each day it allows for the craziness of life to happen.  Have an unexpected event come up?  Run just one mile when you get home.  Have a crazy day ahead?  Run just one mile in the morning before your day begins.  Find yourself with some extra time?  I know me neither, but go longer.  It is the perfect plan for the busy person.

{Benefit #4-Lose the other excuses, too}

It is so easy to make excuses.  I’m pregnant so don’t even get me started on this.  If I wanted I could come up with an excuse every SINGLE day.  I’m tired.  My bump feels heavy. I’m nauseous.  I didn’t have a chance to eat yet.  I’m dehydrated.  My feet hurt.  My arches hurt.  It’s too late.  It’s too hot.  We have somewhere to be soon.  My back hurts.  I have a headache.  It’s raining.  I have heartburn.  I’m bored with my running route.  My Garmin is dead.  My phone is dead.  I’m sick of my running playlist.  The list goes on.  I’m pretty sure all of these excuses crossed my mind at least once during my streak time.  We all make them at times, but overcoming them can be so good for us.

Streaking helped me realize that I do have time to run that one mile before my packed day. It helped me see that running a mile at 9:30 p.m. is both doable and rewarding.  Streaking helped me see that no matter how hot, wet or dreadful the conditions a mile or two is definitely possible.  Overcoming excuses everyday has helped me make less of them.

{Benefit #5-Find your me time again.}

We all have demands in life.  Some days we feel like someone always needs us for something.  Our to do list is longer than the time in our schedule.  We just want some time for ourselves once and while.  Even just 10-15 minutes would have a rejuvenating impact.

Hello, #rwrunstreak!  Without intending for streaking to give me time to myself, it ended up giving me time to myself multiple days a week.  Some days were stroller runs.  Some days were family runs.  A lot of days though were just me and my music and my running shoes hitting the pavement.  It became a chance for me to clear my head, breathe the fresh air or catch up on some guilty pleasure TV while running on the treadmill.  It was time I would have struggled to give myself otherwise and I felt happier all around because of it.

{Benefit #6-Make running a habit.}

On the last day of my streak I mentioned to my husband feeling a sense of loss that the streak was ending. What would I do when I didn’t have to run?  How would I organize my day if a run wasn’t in it?  Without forcing it to or trying to running had become a need and something I wanted to be a part of each day.  Not running seemed, well, weird.

A few days post-streak with a few days off and I’m itching to run.  I feel grouchy having missed a couple of days.  I like that I have a need and desire to run each day again.  It makes it so much easier to keep at it and enjoy all these benefits when I want to run.

{Benefit #7-Get over a distance requirement.}

In the past if I didn’t “have time” to run more than two miles I wasn’t going.  I always thought what was the point?  I wouldn’t feel like I worked out.  It would be a waste of time when I could get something else done.  There is no fitness benefit to such a short distance.

Post-streak I know this is absolutely not true.  If you are not training for a long distance race, then running even just a mile a day can feel like a workout and build fitness.  It can relieve stress and make you feel more relaxed.  A mile IS enough to change a bad mood or negative attitude.  A mile can make you feel accomplished.  And all those one mile runs add up over 36 days.  Even running one mile each day is 36 miles at the end of this streak.

Of the 66.6 miles I ran during my streak, 21.5 of those miles were from runs of less than two miles.  21.5 miles I would have skipped in the past because they wouldn’t have been enough or really counted for an experienced runner like me.*  I’ve had a change of heart and now see the benefit in running “just one mile.”  There is no mileage requirement to be a runner after all and this helped remind me of this.

*Keep in mind for a beginner or someone getting back into running this is great mileage.

{Benefit #8-Run further.}

Some days your run a mile and you are ready or have to be done.  On occasion though everything clicks and a planned one mile run turns into two and then three miles or more. You got yourself out the door, the hardest part, by saying “just one mile.”  Then running took over and you ran further than you thought you would.  Streaking allows you this opportunity everyday.  If you give yourself a chance, you might surprise yourself.  I know I did on a multiple occasions.

Before you think streaking is not your thing or say you can’t, consider the benefits!  You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.  Now go run just that one mile!


{Motivation Monday-What will you do for you today?}

Browsing through photos of New York last night I came across many photos of a show that is still a favorite of mine today, Sex and the City. This one got me thinking about the whole taking time to enjoy the things in life that make you happy. We can’t rely on other people to make us happy, rather that really should come from within.

Today, do what makes you happy. Work to make this happen everyday. Go for a walk at lunch, try a new direction on your run, enjoy the sunshine, feel the wind on your face as you ride down a bike trail. You are doing this for you.

Running, and now biking, is time for me. Time to release my worries, explore the world, and do something for me. Taking time for myself makes me a happier and more relaxed version of myself. It just so happens that a lot of my makes-me-happy-me-time involves getting outdoors and exercising. There is something about nature that makes me more appreciative of the world I live and what I have. I come back from a run, walk, bike ride, or hike- happy! And, guess what…being happy is motivating to keep doing what your doing!

What are you doing for you today?

Happy Monday!