This post is going to be all about my thoughts. I won’t be offering any advice, or be sharing any recipes. I am going to try to express myself in a way my limited vocabulary will allow. I am not a professional writer or blogger. I am very busy, but find joy in all things TMI. I have been an over share-er my whole life. I enjoy expressing myself and connecting with other people that may have similar thoughts. I also enjoy learning more about people with very different views. I am a people person, and love to talk about life. I am sure every post I write will have grammar and spelling errors. I can hardly find time to blog, let alone pour hours over editing. But I don’t want to let the fear of showing my imperfections stop me from doing something that I have found joy in these past few months. Especially with my recent surgery, I have a LOT more time on my hands. I can’t run, or even work (since my job is group fitness)…so I may as well write! Not all of my posts will be like this. I am in a self discovery; tell all mood (injuries seem to do that to me). So here goes! It’s all about my thoughts on becoming a wife, becoming a mother, and still being a runner.
|My cute barf baby Zane!|
I often wished I was a mom that was fulfilled by all things motherhood. To be honest, I really kind of hate lots to do with it. Gasp! Ahhh, I am an awful mother, who could ever say such a thing?! I know that to be completely false. I know that I am a very good mother. I love my 2 boys with every single ounce of my soul. I would do anything for them. I am their mama bear of protection. They have my whole heart. I am grateful for them every single day. I can’t imagine my life without them. I know more about selfless love than I ever knew possible. Sometimes I have confused my feelings with not liking “motherhood things” with being a bad mom. I have shared much about that on my Instagram family page. Through journaling, and writing, I have been able to understand my feelings and differentiate between the two. I don’t like lots of things that are stereotyped with being a stay-at-home mom, but I do know I love being a mother. I suffered from extreme postpartum depression and anxiety. I really hesitate even talking about this because I don’t even like to reflect on who I was at that time. But I talk about it in hopes that it can help any other moms struggling with PPD. I hated feeling claustrophobic and stuck to the house during nap time. I hated being on a rigid schedule. I hated that I started to resent my husband when he got to leave for work or got to sleep. I hated mommy and me groups where all everyone talked about was milestones and birthing stories. But what bothered me most, is I hated myself for having these feelings. I never hated my boys. Not even once. And I also never regretted having them. I loved them more than I ever knew was possible! So what was wrong with me? Why did I have to have such conflicting feelings that were making me feel crazy???
Let's rewind a bit...To tell you a little bit about my personality: Growing up I did student government every year. I loved being involved in as many clubs, sports, and activities as possible. I always got excellent grades. I loved being up on stage during assemblies. I loved the crowds at football games. My friends and family were my whole world. I grew up as an only girl with brothers. I would consider myself a feminist in the way that I felt the need to prove that I could do anything they did. That being a woman would never hold me back from achieving everything I ever wanted. I just expected a lot from myself, and thrived when accomplishing things. I went into college with a leadership and sports scholarship at Southern Utah University. I became captain of my college soccer team. I was the NCAA woman’s representative for our school. I loved nothing more than living with roommates who became my best friends. I loved every minute of the bonding that goes with team sports. I went to all the campus activities. I loved my freedom. I continued to get straight A’s in college.
After college I wasn't ready to settle down. I moved in with more friends and started teaching 4th grade. I continued to love my freedom. I went out every night. I was involved with work friends, my church group; I held many leadership roles and truly was happy. I started running marathons because soccer didn't consume my whole life anymore. I began teaching fitness classes, picked up mountain biking, tennis, volleyball, coed softball, hiking, and basically ANYTHING that involved being around people and being active! Most of my friends had started getting married and settling down with families. I still thought relationships were suffocating. One could say I was a hot mess, but it was just who I was. I often wanted to be someone who could be more selfless and giving. I wanted to be like some of my friends who found their joy from settling down. However, I just wanted to rule world with friends by my side, not a man. All until I met Nate, the love of my life. I couldn't help myself, I fell in love. This freaked me out more than he or even I knew at the time. To say our first year was rough would be a little understatement. Was it all bad times? Absolutely not! I loved my husband dearly. It was just a huge adjustment for me. We moved to Arizona right off our Honeymoon. I didn't know a soul. My family, friends, and former life were still in Utah. I started teaching right away, and Nate started school. We both were runners before we were married. It was more of a hobby than a way of life at that time. I knew I wanted kids. I couldn't wait to be a mom. I had no idea how hard it would be for me mentally.
Just like marriage, it was a big adjustment for me transitioning into motherhood. I wanted to be the one to care for my kids so I was fortunate to be able to quit my job. But becoming a stay at home mom was hard. Very hard! Just like everything else in my life, I wanted to attack parenthood with all that I had. I wanted to “win” it! Only thing is, almost everything is out of your control. No matter how much you research, plan, or love your baby…you have no control over most of it! Even if you are trying your best, your baby may not sleep. Your baby will cry. Your baby will poop everywhere. Your baby will steal your heart. But I started to lose what made me tick in the process. I spent any extra hours when my baby finally slept searching online for what I could be doing better. I signed up for sewing lessons because moms are “supposed” to know how to sew for their kids, right? I purchased these crazy pots and pans thinking it would turn me into a homemaker/cook. Only good moms know how to cook, right?! How could I love my baby so much, but hate everything I was turning into? I lost myself in the process. I didn't trust myself. And when it came down to it, I just wasn't prepared. It was no longer just all about me and what I wanted. What I later realized is that being a mother turned me into a different me, and you know what, that is okay. It’s all about growth! I had to learn to be honest with myself. Did I really want to learn to sew? Heck no! Did I want to scrapbook? Never again. I am still learning to be okay with that. I am learning to not be jealous of others who so naturally took on that homemaker/motherhood role. Motherhood made me more understanding, less judgmental, more patient, and loving. Let’s be honest, any moms out there know the list goes on and on. But I still hated parts of my life; I felt like a maid, I didn't like the responsibilities that came with growing up. I missed the feeling of not leading the masses, or being on stage. I missed that feeling of personal growth.
This is where I believe running saved me. Sounds super cheesy! But it did. Racing more gave me something to work for. I could set goals and see growth. I learned that is still okay to be human after you become a parent. It is okay to want something for yourself. In fact, I now believe it is healthy for kids to see you are still a person. That you still have hopes, and dreams. It would be a disservice to grow up believing the whole world is all about you. I discovered I could still give my all to my kids and carve out a little time for self growth. I developed deeper friendships and bonds with other runners. I am such a social person and always cherished that bond that came from team sports. It is something that I really don’t have to words to explain. I started to find that again through running. I made lots of friends at my gym. I decided to re-certify and start working part time teaching fitness classes. Working a measly 4 hours a week did a lot for me mentally. I began seeing growth in my marriage and parenting. I had the sense to let go of who I thought I was supposed to be, to just be myself. My crazy, loving, over achieving, social self. Running brought me a new contentment to life. This happiness overflowed into my marriage and into my parenting. When you are truly happy and content, it affects every part of your life. For those that question how we can find the time for so much exercise and still be good parents should see what it would be like for us without it. In my heart of hearts I know my kids have not suffered because of the fact that I like to run and go to the gym. I do know my whole family would've suffered if I stayed depressed and miserable. Running gives me a passion for life. It gives me more energy. It makes me feel young. It refreshes me, so that when I am done I am stronger physically and mentally to take care of my family. It is a bonding passion my family shares. My boys don’t suffer when I wake up to run before they even wake up. They don’t suffer by spending time in the running stroller with me. They don’t suffer if we get a babysitter for two hours so that Nate and I can get precious time as a couple. So even if they spend an hour in the gym daycare (which they love). I still am home to feed them breakfast, lunch, & dinner. I still have many, many hours to play with them in between. If I don’t leave the house or do something that is just for me, then I go crazy. Call me selfish. But I call it finally understanding who I am, and what I need to be a better mom.
|10K Turkey Trot. First Race with both babies. The double stroller adventures had begun!|
My boys are best friends. My husband is working hard to get back into school. We have our ups and downs, but when it comes down to it, I have a lot of peace and contentment in my life right now. I am amazed that I am at a place where I can say that! I just had surgery that is keeping me sidelined from my passion for many months. I feel blessed that I was at a strong enough point mentally the surgery hasn't completely crushed me. I am trying my hardest to not slip back into the depression I experienced as a new mom. Yes it will be a long road. I wouldn't be doing so well without the incredible support of my hubby, our extended family, and good friends. And even the support of social media. Funny to say that, but many friends I have met through the running community have been from social media. They have been nothing but a positive support. I am at a good place mentally to know that this will not defeat me. I without a doubt know I will get through this. It is really hard to not know which direction my life is going to go after I get back onto my feet. Will we try to add to our family? Will we be moving if Nate gets accepted to school? Remember the old days when the game MASH planned our lives so perfectly for us?! I knew from MASH that all I wanted was 5 kids, living in a mansion, married to my favorite Dodger baseball player Steve Sax. If only it was really that simple! I know that I don’t want to do something because I think it’s what I am “supposed” to do. I learned that lesson from my sewing days! I guess all you can do is trust in yourself, and turn to God for guidance when it comes to making big decisions. And keep moving forward with faith.
I am grateful to be a mother. I love being a wife. And I hope to always be a runner.