I sit here, finally relaxing and writing this after quite the evening. Braxton had a crazy meltdown at bedtime tonight, his first major one in quite some time, actually. We were building a garage for his cars out of a box, having a great time, until he became way too tired and decided to break the crayons we were decorating it with. When I took them away, all hell ensued. I mean a full on out of control temper tantrum. I could not wait to get that kid into bed tonight.
And now I miss him.
I just spent 10 minutes staring at him sleeping, brushing his hair away from his face, and listening to his little breaths before I came into my room to write this.
When I was in the middle of this marathon training, I seriously thought about giving up. I had a talk with my Aunt Sandy about it, and she told me, “When you put time into something, there are always going to be sacrifices somewhere else.” It has stuck with me. I’ve been trying to find the right sacrifices to make to take the time to train, but am always questioning if they’re the right ones.
With the dark mornings, 5am runs are not happening for me. So I go at 6:45pm when Brian gets home from work. That is a sacrifice in time spent with my family as a whole. By the time I get home, we are reading the kids books and putting them to bed. Sometimes it seems like my nights after work are making dinner, eating dinner, cleaning dinner, running, then bed.
I have said that running makes me a better person, less crazy, and a better mom. I have said we as moms need to do something just for us that we love to do. That is all absolutely true.
But I still feel guilty.
Monday when I picked up Braxton from daycare, I noticed they had all done an exercise with the letter H. The other children had neatly colored their H’s- even used different colors like a rainbow! Braxton’s, however, was a mess of green dots scattered in the H and all around it. He’s only 3- he’s so small yet, but it’s a knee-jerk reaction as a Mom when you see that. I am not looking to have the smartest kid in the world, but I know my son, and I know that was a product of his inability to focus sometimes. I know he’s capable, but his mind is just racing. That kid could run around for hours outside and still be the biggest ball of energy the rest of the day.
I immediately felt guilty when I saw that H. He is a product of me. I never sit still. I may accomplish a lot in my days, but in my mind, it is never enough. I question my sacrifices with guilt. Should I not run and spend more time coloring with my kids? Am I doing enough? Why can’t I slow down? Tuesday, I was so scattered with things I forgot my bottles to pump in at work and ended up using cardboard coffee cups in a pinch. I was so frustrated with myself for not putting them in my bag. Was I in that much of a hurry?!
I think being a Mom just comes with all kinds of guilt. Of wondering what we can do better for our kids because we want to make the best life possible for them.
The key is finding a balance, but that isn’t easy to do in a world where new obstacles are always springing up in life. We as parents have to stop beating ourselves up or feeling inadequate. The thing is, Braxton not coloring an H the way others did isn’t a big deal, but I blew it up to be. I somehow managed to make myself feel like the worse Mom ever.
That very night, I didn’t color with Braxton. Instead, I went out for a run when Brian got home to clear my head. And you know what, it worked. When I got home, the kids were laughing and enjoying their time with Daddy, something they need just as much as me. Brax giggled that I was all sweaty and asked about my run. I remembered that I’m setting a healthy example for those babies. I dove into bed with them and into his Curious George book acting out each character- quite miraculously if I do say so myself.
The run breathed life and energy into me I didn’t have before it. If I didn’t go running, I honestly wouldn’t’ be able to focus on my children the way I do.
I am always going to have to make some small sacrifices as a runner and as a mom. But the benefits my kids reap from it are huge. They get a happy Mommy.
So tonight, I sat with Braxton and we made the car garage. Nothing was going to be more important in that moment than Braxton and that box. And despite that, it still didn’t end like I hoped. That is being a parent. It’s doing everything you think is right and realizing it will never be perfect. It is making sacrifices and feeling guilty for things, but knowing you’re doing the best you can. It is questioning your kid’s H’s.
It’s watching your children grow into exactly the people they are supposed to be because you love them more than anything else in the world.
That’s nothing to be guilty about.