Last week, I dusted off my running shoes, found my old workout clothes and strapped on my Walkman (yes, my Walkman. I lost my iPod). It was the first time I had been out for a run in months and the last step in my quest to regain my old self. Like a lot of moms, and even dads for that matter, I had been wrapped up in being a parent for the last two years. So much so that I began to lose myself. I stopped eating right, stopped working out, stopped making myself a priority. But a few months ago I woke up and began to make some big changes. I had felt stuck and had to find ways to “unstick” myself.
I just recently decided to go back to work. EJ loves school and is doing great. It seemed like the perfect time to go back to my career. I was lucky enough to find a full-time job with great vacation and great hours in a family friendly environment. I changed the way we all eat in our house and began taking yoga. I started writing more, taking time for myself and planning more nights out with friends and my husband. Going back to work has allowed us to start planning more for our future and look into where we finally want to settle. There are a lot of great changes happening for us and a lot of excitement for what is to come. Everyone in the house, including me, is happier, less stressed and the overall mood has improved. All of these changes have reminded me of the importance of trying to find some balance in life without losing yourself completely.
Balance. That word took on a whole new meaning once I became a mother. I truly admire those mothers who say that they have achieved perfect balance in their lives. I personally do not know any. I feel like it would be the equivalent to seeing a unicorn. But I'm sure they are out there. For most parents it is an ongoing process and one that I continue to work on.
Running was really the last piece in that puzzle. I have never been a good runner. When I ran cross-country in high school, I always came in dead last. My dad would joke that it would get dark out on the course before I would even make it in. But I never quit. One season our team members had all quit or were injured before the last race of the year. We needed five to compete as a team and it was just my sister and I left. Our coach said we could end the season but we wanted to see it through. So regardless of coming in last, we kept training.
Yesterday as I was struggling up a hill (not a pretty site) I thought of how much running and motherhood have in common for me. I am not the best at either. Some days I feel like I come in dead last. But I love the feeling I get and I am determined to get better; to keep training. I love the challenge of an uphill and the great feeling of coasting once you make it downhill. I love the rewards and the feelings of accomplishment. I love knowing that I am still capable of pushing through the tough times, giving it all I have, and even coming out a better person on the other side. But I especially love how they have both helped me feel unstuck and like myself once again. So if you see me out running, sweat pouring down my face, Sports Walkman strapped to my arm (circa 1989), swearing under my breathe as I struggle to make a mile without dying on the side of the road, know that I am actually the happiest I ever been….