Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Running Scared

Nothing quite motivates you like fear. As my half-marathon debut approaches in June, I thought I better get off my rear and start moving. I've come to terms with the fact that I will not get up early in the morning before work to run. The morning cold is too cold and I am too tired. That leaves the evenings after kids go to bed to get moving.

Last night I laced up my shoes, strapped on an iPod and a flashing light band, equipped myself with a handheld pepper spray and headed into the night. Now, we live in a very safe neighborhood and I can't think of the last time something bad happened, but I also am well aware that bad things can happen in good places and to good people.

As I ran though some of the quieter streets, I felt worry creep through me. What if someone jumped out of the bushes? What if a drunk driver lost control coming down the street and killed me? What if I was thrown into a car? How would my husband raise three small kids alone? Is running in the night stupid? Am I stupid?

I practiced flipping the safety switch on my pepper spray as I made my way through my pre-measured 5k loop like I was a gunslinger in the old west. Shadows were making me jump and people walking their dogs became potential assailants. I have to admit that about 1/4 of the way into the run, I was running because I was scared of the "what-if's." I didn't stop running until I made it to my street.

The good news is that the fear propelled me to shave 3 minutes off my last run time. The bad news is that I genuinely freaked myself out. As the days grow longer, running will get easier. At least I know I have the will to make it 3.1 miles out of 13.1 miles I'll need to.

Baby steps...

Monday, March 22, 2010

30's are the new 40's?

I haven't posted in a little while because I've honestly just been swamped. I often think about things I want to write about, but then just as quickly they fall out of my head - much like my everyday life. Today I'm obsessed with this fantasy of living in BFE, breathing fresh air and having more kids...don't worry, the fantasy will pass. My normal fantasies of having a clean house and a maid will resume sooner than later.

I have often been told that your "30's" are some of your best years and that 30 is the new 40. Really I ask??? I don't know about you, but the 30's have seemed pretty difficult, but not for the reasons you might think. Sure, it's still about trying to get ahead and securing a future for your family - I don't think these things ever change. Financially speaking, I'm certainly NOT where I thought I'd be at this point in my life. I'm alright with all of the uncertaintly life brings, because there is also a good amount of things I am certain of. For example, I am certain that I love my kids and my husband and that rich or poor this will remain. The hard part about the 30's for me is that you're wise enough to know who you are and where you want to be, but I'm still inexperienced enough to not know how to get there. Hence, the 30's so far have been good, but really frustrating.

I have to admit that at 33, I often feel like I'm a mother, a wife, an employee and lastly of course as a human being. The worst part is that these feelings of inadequacy can at times just feel normal - ridiculous, isn't it? Instead of waking up everyday happy to be alive, I wake up dreading every day except Friday when I feel like there's a momentary break in sight.

This past Friday never felt like it was going to end. I had been pressed hard all day at work and ran out of the office at 5:00pm sharp hoping to make a late entrance to my daughter's school Bingo night. Unfortunately, work followed me from the office through my entire commute home, then through an early portion of Bingo night. My family had to wait. The other family we went with had to wait. By the time we finally got to Bingo, I was wound tight. I felt snappy with the kids and I felt like a loser to have to keep jumping on my phone. I was "that" lady at a school function.

As we eased into the pizza and dancing and of course Bingo, I felt the pressure begin to release. Once I got off the phone and was able to focus on my family, things were good. The kids had a great time with their friends and we were also in good company. Bingo night saved my sanity; being a mom saved my life.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Last Stop

Mondays are not my favorite. Throw daylight savings into the mix and well, a rough day follows - especially when the clock "springs forward" an hour.

Last week was too busy as usual, but I took Friday off to go to my daughter's First Grade recital, followed by a co-op in my son's preschool. It was a tightly scheduled morning, but I'm so glad I did it. I loved watching my daughter sing gloriously to sweet songs. She beamed with pride as she recited a few lines she worked so hard to memorize. She looked like a big kid.

My son smiled ear to ear as he introduced me as his mommy and helper in class that day. He loves knowing I see him play and I love that he really still loves me and isn't yet too proud to hug me whenever he feels like it. Being the parent helper in class gives me a glimpse into so much more than just my son. I get to see the other kids and how they act, I get to meet their parents and I get to see pure happiness. One highlight was a little boy asking if I was my son's grandma - it must have been the rimmed glasses (I hope!).

I kiss the baby goodbye everyday and head to work knowing fully that when I return there will have been something I missed. There are mothers I know and I am friends with who genuinely feel like their kids save the best of themselves for when they see them after work. I wish I felt that way, but I just don't. Maybe it's because I've been on both sides of the fence and I know first hand what I saw with one child and what I may have missed with another. I have come to accept that the baby prefers her dad, but when I have an extra day with the baby I milk it for all that it's worth. I can see a difference in the way she treats me in the longer, consistent span of time we spend together. It makes me work harder everyday to get to a place that spending more time with my family is an option.

I recently received a call from a colleague who asked if I'd possibly be interested jumping ship and moving to another company. The pay would be similar, but I would have more autonomy -which in my current micro-managed position sounded pretty good. But then I really thought about it and I concluded that this company is my last stop. It's not the perfect job, but no job that keeps me away from home ever will be so why bother? Every job - regardless of industry, has a downside. At least with this job I know what I'm getting. I was serious when I said two more years of this and I'm out. I don't know how yet, but I will find a way...

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Blind Backhand

An excerpt from a Facebook messaging exchange:

FIRST post on a picture:

"Wow, you look great! I'm soooo jealous!"

(For the record, I shamelessly posted a pre-third baby picture so that I could help perpetuate the cyber lie to old high school friends that I still look as good as I did in high school.)

I actually felt really good about getting this comment. It was one of my best friends from high school that I haven't seen in at least 10 years.

SECOND follow up post:

"OMG - that was you're little sister. Wow, I feel old now."

I get it! I got screwed in the gene pool! Seriously, how do you respond to THAT? Well, I didn't :-(

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Detail

I've said this before and I'll say it again, the hardest thing about going back to work is missing random moments with my kids. It might be nothing more than a funny cringe of their nose or a weird new laugh they try out just once, but it's these sweet moments that will forever mark your memory. It's these things kinds of memories that I have a painful shortage of. Kids rarely think about what they are saying or doing and they don't know how to tell you anything but the truth. I love the candid little lives they lead...

When I put my kids to bed at night I sometimes "grant" them one wish. I like sharing in what their last hope or thought of the day is. My daughter always wishes for or to be a mermaid and my son will wish for one of two things: 1) a robot or 2) for me to never go to work again and spend every day with him. My fingers are always crossed for the latter.

I can't believe my oldest child turns 7 in just a few months! Ever since she was born I've wanted to just be her mom. She's spunky and dramatic, loving and kind hearted. Now that she is in real school, I've watched just how affected she has been by her daily environment of other big kids. She's hardly a baby anymore and is quick to show us just how grown up she (thinks) she is.

A few mornings a week she wakes up at about 5:00am and quietly comes into our room and softly nudges me to scoot. I do and there is always a big sigh of relief she lets out as she finds her nook within my arms, just like she did when she was a baby. This only lasts for a few minutes as I slip out of bed to begin getting ready for work. I have to admit, as much as I don't want to be nudged this early, I wouldn't trade it for anything. Sooner than later, the early morning visits will stop all on their own.

My little boy is the sweetest and most fiery little man I could ever have hoped for. He will be turning 5 in just a few months and like his sister, I can't believe how fast the time as gone by. I didn't know I could love a little boy until I had him. After he was born, I was lucky enough to leave a job I absolutely hated. For the first time in my whole life I felt like I was exactly where I was supposed to be. He had severe food allergies as a baby and I constantly worried about him. Even as the allergies have begun to dissipate, the worry has stayed constant. Both kids love me, but he loves me more deeply; more thoughtfully. He takes pride in knowing when I need an extra little hug that day and he always makes it a good one.

My baby, now 15 months old, has grown way too fast - faster it seems than the others before her. Born tinier than the other babies, she is our "Itty-Bitty." She is loud and happy and nothing will stop her from trying to keep up with her big sister and brother. She is full of love and quick to try and comfort others if they are upset by softly rubbing their heads. When she gets upset she crinkles her eyes and nose, pops out her bottom lip, then waits a moment before letting out a gut-wrenching cry. It's the most perfect pout I've ever seen. I really wanted this baby. My husband was content with the two kids, but I always knew we were one short so I went to battle for her. The funny thing about this is that the first person she wants most is not me, but her daddy. She is undoubtedly a "Daddy's Girl." I guess he deserves that...

I was definitely always tired as a stay-at-home mom and it was one of the hardest jobs I've ever had, but what I wouldn't do to have that time in my life back. I felt like I was really a part of my kids' lives and they mine. Now, everyday feels rushed and hurried. Why am I detailing who my kids are right now? Because I'm scared that in the crazy mix of life I'm going to forget the details of them that life is supposed to be made up of. Today's post is how I remember them right now and I love who they are.