Friday, April 6, 2012

Balancing Act

Being a stay-at-home-mom is one of the most challenging things I've ever done. You spend all day with your amazing, trying, sometimes crabby and needy, kiddo, and every day is the same. You yearn for adult conversation. You get no weekends off. It's utterly exhausting. But it's also wonderful. I've witnessed all the "firsts" in the Weasel's life. I've taught her so many different things and watched her eyes open wide as she explores this "new" world around her. (And I really hate to complain since her father has missed so much of her life already due to deployment, but sometimes it's frustrating. Especially after having a "real" job.)

Fortunately, I belong to an amazing running club, Stroller Warriors, full of women in a similar role. We meet twice a week for scheduled runs and sometimes lament our day-to-day drudgery (more often we talk about upcoming races, training plans, or ways to fuel for our long runs!). But we need that outlet. It keeps us sane.

TE, Jill (in blue) and me on our pre-Easter Tuesday workout.

Yesterday, I ran 7 miles with my friend, Jill. She's an amazing SAHM with a nearly 1-year old. Her husband is gone for a couple weeks to do training elsewhere and while she was ecstatic that she witnessed Liam's first 4 unassisted steps, she was frustrated with herself. Jill's signed up to do a triathlon later this month, so she has been trying to work in some time on her bike trainer. The other day, she logged exactly 9 minutes before her son woke up. She found herself irritated at the situation and then felt lousy for having her priorities out of whack. 

Jill with Liam before one of our Saturday long runs...making it happen!

I've found myself thinking these exact same thoughts. How do I balance being a good, attentive mother with maintaining wifely duties and keeping myself happy? I do it by exercising. I love running. Even when it sucks, it's one of the best parts of my day. I am thrilled that the Weasel doesn't fuss too much in her stroller (she's even done a full half with me!). She's a terrible napper for the most part, but she sometimes lets me finish an entire Insanity workout mid-day. I'm grateful that I don't have to sit at a desk, yearning to get out for a workout; but it's not that simple. She has a schedule. If I take her for a long run, it compromises her naps. If I want to go for a bike ride, I have to find someone to watch her or get her into the hourly care (which means a long drive). And lord knows when the last time I got into the pool was! But if I didn't do these things, I can't imagine how grumpy I would be. 

So while it's not always easy, I try to remember that I am also a priority. My happiness sanity comes from running. If I don't fit it in, I notice a difference. Running (or working out in general) makes me a better mother and a better wife. For all of you other mother runners out there struggling with this same balancing act, just know you're not alone. Remember, you are just as important as everyone else. As long as you're not sacrificing the needs (not wants) of your child, the way you fit in your "me" time is not only a good thing, it's a necessary thing.