This post is not about child abandonment. Though I’m not afraid to admit of occasional vacation-for-one fantasies. This post is about abandoning misguiding notions of returning to the way we were.
So often, I hear mothers talk about “getting back”. They speak matter-of-factly about getting back to work or back to athletics, as if there were no reason to think otherwise. They agonize about getting back to their old bodies and back into pre-pregnancy jeans, as if it were the consummate yummy mummy achievement. I am guilty of both. Just read any of my 2009-2010 entries!
Yes, there are mothers who quickly get back into demanding careers, triathlon training and hip-hugging skinny jeans – seemingly without missing a step. Perhaps to the credit of their type-A personalities, full-time nannies and striking genetics. Then there’s the rest of us.
We struggle to find the time, energy and resources to look, feel and do the things we did before the birth of our children. With time, I have learned to focus less on getting back to the way things were. The real challenge is in adapting to the way things are.
When I first starting running in 2008, it was with the Running Room. The long runs quickly became a part of my routine. I was there religiously each Sunday to meet the group for a 6-18K slow run. I could not have run the half-marathon without the preparation these runs provided.
After my daughter was born, I couldn’t fathom being up, out and ready to run at 8:30am. With the logistics and sleep deprivation involved, it just didn’t work. Giving up my runs was dispiriting. I saw all my running progress melting away and lingering pregnancy pounds that wouldn’t!
Thankfully things have changed. It took almost 16 months to happen. I have finally adapted to my new reality and running is becoming routine again.
I started running regularly just three months ago. Instead of running with The Running Room, I have one scheduled session each week with my super awesome run coach, Charles Bedley. Tw0-time marathon champ. Look him up! That’s a far cry from the 3x/week schedule I used to maintain (in addition to my three strength training days no less). From a training perspective, this one session of intervals, hills and run-specific strength work is more effective than most of the group runs I had done before. Bonus.
I have also managed to get out on my own for a few Sunday morning runs. They are short and close to home to help coincide with hubby and baby’s schedules. Now here’s the Hallmark moment that inspired this post.
Instead of staying home today, hubby and baby ventured out along with me. We strolled down to my starting point together. I headed off on my 4K route and they hung out at the park conveniently located at the end of my loop. I had a great run and as I rounded the corner in those final metres, I could see them playing joyfully together in the distance. If that isn’t motivation to sprint to the finish, I don’t know what is!
My tot was content to stay on the baby swings as I completed my workout. Box jumps and push up supersets, in case you are wondering. After a quick stretch, we headed home. I couldn’t help but smile out loud as we walked. It was the perfect way to fit a run into my new family life. It was a wonderful Sunday morning!
This may or may not become a regular thing. I have no expectations. For now, I am genuinely happy to have stopped grieving my old routine. I can’t go back. I can’t do things that way I used to. I don’t know why I, or we, assumed we could. Maybe you’ll bounce back into your old job, your old wardrobe, your old routine. Maybe you won’t.
Mamas, I hereby grant you permission to toss your hip huggers, your comittment to run a marathon this year, and all those other notions about “getting back”. If you allow things to be different, perhaps you’ll find harmony between an old passion and your new love.
What do you miss most from your pre-pregnancy life? How has it found its way into your new life with baby?