Thursday, January 16, 2014

Spaghetti-Os Night - Perfect Imperfection

Like nearly every other mother I know, this is my favorite word.  If we work, we feel guilty for leaving our kids at home.  If we stay home, we feel guilty for not using our degrees and earning potential.  If we grab an extra handful of M&Ms it can cause shame spirals for hours afterwards.  Marriage.  Career.  Children.  Fitness.  Oh my goodness where to begin?  Because at the end of the day, the reality is that you can only be addressing one aspect of your life at any given moment, meaning that you are neglecting everything else.

This has been a tough guilt week for me.  To start out, I am sick.  I took a sick day on Monday.  Which in my industry means that I worked from home in a cold-medicine fog for about 6 hours and got nothing done before giving up and falling asleep in my chair.  Discussing this with Legos (who also works) - neither of us remember the last time we took an actual sick day.  Like, where we just rested instead of continuing to work for most of the day.  Meanwhile, I was physically home, which to my children meant that I should be playing with them.  By the grace of God (or meal planning) I did manage to shove dinner in the crock pot that morning, so the family was fed.  And it was a rest day.  So nothing lost there.  In that same later conversation with Legos, I said that the best part of having so many roles in your life (mother, athlete, employee, wife, daughter) is that when you are sick, you get to disappoint multiple people at the same time.  

The work week did not improve upon my return to the office.  Mistakes were made, mistakes were uncovered, and the usual crucifixion for them ensued.  Not the first or last time I've made errors at work, but it never feels good.  Meanwhile my cold has persisted, causing me to blow off a workout with Hummingbird and rearranging my Training Peaks schedule so many times that I'm pretty sure Sheriff has just given up at this point.

Side note: I'm still getting used to having another person in my life to report to about how I'm doing on a daily basis.  Some days Sheriff knows more than my husband does.  Coaching is weird - very happy that I love my coach so much and that he seems to not want to block my communications yet.

There's a lot of ways I could react.  In reality, I think I've gone through all of them.  Guilt, anger, zen-like moments of meditation, swearing, deep breaths.. the gauntlet.  But I'm settling on this one:

I am ONE PERSON.  No more, and no less.  

I cannot be everywhere.  I cannot please everyone.  I will make mistakes.  I will disappoint my kids - they will get over it.  I cannot do everything.  When I am sick, I might miss a workout or two during the week.  That's ok.   It is up to me to choose how I will react when life gets messy.  In reality, at least 90% of the pressure I feel, I put on myself.  The kids don't really care what's for dinner.  Sheriff tells me to rest.  In a month the current work snafu will be fixed and will blow over.  The cat will forgive me for not giving her enough lap time.  It's all okay.... 

GF waffles - oh so yummy
I was reminded that others think I'm okay as I am by small kindnesses this week.  One friend texted me a photo of my daughter's dance recital outfit that I'd missed seeing, because I work during when she has class.  Hummingbird and Sheriff did not mind my gym shuffles.  I had a good vent session with Gypsy on the phone coming home the other day.  Jedi went to the store for me and got gluten-free waffle mix, and then stayed up late making them.  Those things matter a lot.

So tonight, after work we took the kids to the gym to swim.  Jedi took the kids in the water first so that I could get in my tempo run for the week, and then we all swam together.  It was really nice.  We came home to a late dinner of Spaghetti-Os.  The non-organic, HFCS filled, mystery-meat meatballs alphabet kind.  The kids loved them.  (Clean Eating police - I had brown rice and quinoa pasta with Cara's meatballs and sauce, so shush).  On Tuesday I made it to my son's skating lesson, but then missed their bedtime for my speed run for the week.  They got over it, and were even proud of mommy for running so fast!  I was pretty proud too, as I PRed my 5k time during that workout by a good margin.  

Last weekend, mother runner Meg Cross Menzies was killed by a drunk driver on her morning run.  She leaves behind a husband and three small children.  While I did not know her personally, this story tears at my heart.  I can only imagine the pain that family must be going through.  I don't want to waste the time I have to feeling guilty.  I will be dedicating my long run this week to Meg's Miles.  Meg's Miles asks us to:  

Take in the fresh air, be aware of your surroundings, keep your headphones on low, feel the heaviness in your lungs, the soreness in your legs, and be grateful for it -- for all of it.  The sweat, the pain, the wind, the cold... everything.  Be grateful for that moment. 

Tonight as I was putting my son to bed, he told me, "Mommy I think you're perfect".  I think we all are too, kiddo.  Perfectly imperfect.

This is all you really need to do for your kids.
Hold them.  And rest.  When you need to.

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