Monthly Archives: August 2017

Moving Thoughts

I’ve made running a priority. I enjoy it. It gives me time to myself. It improves my health (my knees question that). It helps me sleep. It gives me time to think.

That’s not always good.

My running schedule (based off of the Hal Higdon Novice 5K schedule) has me running three times a week, with one day doing a 30-60 minute walk. While eventually the thought pattern on my run is: “half a mile left. You can do this. .45 of a mile left.¬† You can do this. .4 of a mile left. You can do this,” that walk gives me a lot of thinking time without the distraction of side stitches, legs wanting to give out or lungs gasping for air.

Yesterday, I started thinking about how happy I was that I had made running a priority, which made me realize that anything we give time to is a priority, whether we make it a priority or not.

And that stuff that doesn’t get done? We can say it’s a priority all we want, but if it’s not getting done, it’s because it isn’t high enough on our lists, and so likely isn’t important enough to us.

It was remarkably easy to make time to go running. I put M to bed. Not long after that routine starts, Scott starts putting C to bed. Once M is asleep, I change into my running clothes. I kiss C good night. I run. I stretch. I foam roll. I shower. I sleep. Sometimes I add in a bedtime snack  somewhere in there for good measure, too.

But that’s not every day or every night. There are days when I stay up past my bedtime to watch just one more episode. I read one too many news articles. I creep on that person from high school. While there is value in relaxation or awareness of current events, they don’t deserve nearly as much time as they get.

It’s time to start looking at how I spend my time, and move things around, so those things that I think are priorities actually become priorities. Afterall, if they are that important to me, it should be easy to make time for them.

Categories: The new identity | 3 Comments

Five Things Friday

I was stretching out my psoas after our warmup at bootcamp the other day and my instructor asked if everything was fine. Yes, I responded, I just had to do my evening run rather than my morning run yesterday so everything is a little tight. Later, when I was doing jump squats, she came over to chat – how often do I run? Was I signing up for the upcoming race? I said three days a week and I didn’t feel I had enough time to train for it; I’d never run that far before. She said: “you probably still have time. If not, at least you could do the 10K”

I laughed so hard I fell over. I had forgotten there was a half marathon option. “I might run three days a week but I never said I run that far!” 

In the end she told me to think about both, that I still had enough time to train for either, and most importantly reminded me to stretch stretch stretch. 

Two days later, I’ve taken a second look at the registration fee and I’m about to lace up my shoes for a “test run” to see how far I can run so I can see how ridiculous this idea is. But mostly, my brain is psyching myself out. Why? Here’s why

  1. You can’t fail if you never try
  2. I am far too anxious about the time before the race and starting the race to go alone, and everyone I know that runs is much faster than me so they wouldn’t want me holding them back
  3. I’ve had knee problems in the past and I don’t want them cropping up again. I’ve enjoyed being able to take the stairs, lift my kids up from a squatting position and not have to ice them every night. 
  4. I feel intensely guilty for running as often as I do and that is why I don’t go far. I don’t like taking the kids with me, and I don’t feel it’s fair to make Scott look after them and the house while I do something “fun”. It doesn’t contribute in a meaningful way to the family and therefore I won’t let myself recognize the value of it. 
  5. I am scared. 

Really, the first four of them can be summed up by the last one. I don’t know what I’ll decide to do. Likely, I will decide once it’s already sold out, or more likely, get distracted by the next catastrophe (like the apparently rotting garage we park our brand new vehicle in) and the date will pass me by. 

But part of me? Part of me really wants to go for it. The half. The 10k. Just to finally get my negative-talking brain to shut up for once. 

Categories: The new identity | 2 Comments

Fashion Fast-Forward

I used to have a better sense of fashion. I knew what was in. I knew what trends to avoid. I knew what styles suited me and my body.

And then roughly three years ago, I checked out. Trends aren’t so much of a big deal when you’re pregnant and you feel like a whale in everything that you put on. Once you have the baby, your body is still changing so much that you wear whatever works because you are tired and you know the baby is just going to spit up on it anyway. And then you get pregnant again, and it just keeps going.

But after having a second kid? You aren’t allowed to stay home in your pajamas every day. If you’re making your first kid get dressed, they kind of insist you do too. And while you’re dressed, why not go out somewhere? 

We go out a lot. Every day. Sometimes it’s fun adventures to the zoo. Sometimes it’s for a walk to pick up something from the grocery store. That’s a lot of outfits and not a lot of time to create them. As a result, I’ve been rocking jeans and a t-shirt (or shorts and a tank top) on the reg. 

And I like it. 

If you’ve followed me since before kids, you know I did the whole “ootd” style blog. I did the whole layering dresses over other dresses and skirts. I did the mixing of multiple patterns. I paired bold and bright colours in seemingly unexpected ways. I had charts and spreadsheets to plan outfits. It was exhausting. 

But jeans and a t-shirt? I can do that without thinking. And that simplicity is redefining my style even when I have time and reason to get all dressed up. As I mentioned on Friday, it’s why I love dresses. One piece and you’re done. It feels like a step back, compared to the time and effort I used to put in, but I also feel much more comfortable in my clothes now (and that’s pretty significant considering jeans are much less comfortable than the tunic and tights I was rocking earlier!)

Fortunately, it doesn’t matter whether it’s because of laziness, or refined aesthetics, it seems the latest trends have skewed more basic. Then again, classic never goes out of style. 

Categories: The new identity | 2 Comments

Five Things Friday

It feels likes it’s been a while since I did one of these; I’m almost daunted at the idea of it! But I feel like “Good Mom” days are starting to outnumber “Screamy Mom” days and as any parent knows, that’s not necessarily because the kids have been acting differently. No, here are the five things that are making my life easier. 

  1. Baby gate. I’ve been talking about putting it up all summer but once M started crawling, it became a necessity. But it also brings me peace of mind as we’re shuffling out the door because it’s a small entry way and a steep flight of stairs. Simply leaving the house seems much less tense with a clumsy toddler 
  2. Emptying the dishwasher. If you’ve read A Slob Comes Clean, you’ll know this is a huge part of her strategy to keep on top of the mess. For me, it’s less about the dishes themselves, but the fact that unloading the dishwasher usually means loading it back up, and grabbing dishes from the table usually means clearing the counters, and so on and so on. 
  3. Dresses. Sunday, M was sick. C was mostly better but still very moody and upset we had cancelled her weekend at the lake. And it was hot. I needed a break and a friend needed someone to take a look at a house on the market with her. I had very little time to go from “Nurse Mom” to pretending I had it together. Enter the dress. So fast. So pulled together. Doesn’t really matter what dress, I’m just loving them all right now. 
  4. Showing myself some grace. I put fake flowers in a planter that has been a struggle to keep alive all summer (every summer for that matter). I stopped trying to make every supper noteworthy since the toddler is going through a picky phase anyway. 
  5. Goodnight Yoga. We picked this book up at the library this week, and it’s meant that C wants me to put her to bed, something that hasn’t happened in a very long time (since I do naps, Scott usually puts C to bed.) It’s not a challenging yoga session, nor very long, but it’s nice to have some quality non-yelling time with my girl. And I think it makes the rest of the bedtime routine that follows more relaxed too.
Categories: The new identity | 2 Comments

Four and no more

We are done having kids. On any given day, we might waiver with how certain we are, but we have never dipped below 97% certain. And yet, every time M outgrows something, it gets packed up and put in storage instead of packed up and put out the door. For the longest time, I couldn’t figure out why.

It isn’t that waivering 3% that has me hang onto things, “just in case”. After all, we bought an SUV instead of a van, and with our two new car seats, we would be hard pressed to get a third in there. I’m also looking at changing up our fourth bedroom into an office for Scott and I to share rather leaving it as the ghost yard of all things baby.

While some things make sense to keep for a while — let’s hang onto all the 0-3 month clothes until they’re all out of her dresser — there are other things that are useless to hang onto. We have the infant car seat. The bassinet. The snoogle pregnancy pillow (pricey but so worth it). But I just can’t seem to let them go yet.

Our family is complete. Even ignoring the medical reasons against having a third — cholestasis tends to come back with a vengeance in subsequent pregnancies, and the odds of a baby with CTEV are also higher — we feel whole when we are sitting around the table as a family of four.

While obvious that it’s a big decision to decide to start a family, it is also a big decision to decide when to stop. I despised being pregnant. I struggled with the newborn stage. But never feeling those first kicks again? And never having those fleeting moments of peace, rocking a tiny human in the quiet of the night again? It makes my heart ache.

And so I’m going to let myself grieve.   While I can’t wait to see where we are going as a beautiful family of four, I have to acknowledge everything we are leaving behind. I will be glad to never again go through the agony of an induced labour, the pain of mastitis, or learning to sleep in 45 minute increments, but I will never forget the feeling of seeing my babies for the first time and I need to acknowledge I will never get that exact feeling again. This grieving is less about having another child and more about letting that phase of my life pass.

And so I’ll hang on to the memories of being a new mom. I’ll even hang on to all the “stuff” that comes with it. And I’ll let myself feel the sadness of knowing there won’t be another baby in our family because it won’t matter whether we stay a family of four, or go on to have four more, at some point, I would still have to face the end of that stage in our life, and it will hurt a little, all the same.

Categories: The new identity | 3 Comments

Fit: more than just clothes

After two kids, I bare the war wounds that many do.  My thighs and hips have silvery lines, dimpley texture and jiggly movement and yet I have relatively no self-consciousness with them. My stomach mostly escaped stretch marks, and the skin is starting to look less stretched out. Give or take a little bit, it’s even back to its original size, possibly even its original consistency.

But as long as there is some padding around my waistline — which likely was there before kids too — I will still see my body as a work in (desperate need of) progress. Soft is weak.

I was talking with my fitness instructor about moving from stroller fitness to a bootcamp style workout and whether I was ready. She laughed and said I was more than ready and had been for a while. She then told a story about having drinks with a friend who also takes the same fitness session I do. This friend had told my instructor that she was trying to kick up her fitness a level and set herself a new goal: keeping pace with “the fit girl with two kids.”

I scanned the class for who the fit girl with two kids was, ignoring the obvious context and the fact I was pushing my double stroller at the time. Obviously, the fit girl was me. Once I made the connection, I laughed derisively. “I’m not fit! Oh man, you should have seen the back cleavage I had when I tried on a dress the other day”

My brain worked on dissecting that story through class. I thought about the strength of my legs as I rocked my box jumps that I used to have to do as step ups. I thought about the fact that planks no longer leave me gasping for breath, despite the fact they aren’t a cardio exercise. I realized I actually smiled when it came time for hill sprints. Yes, I was undoubtedly fit.

You can’t see my ab muscles. Even with a lower body fat percentage, I couldn’t see their full strength. That makes it hard to face my body in the mirror without judging the squishy bits. But when I chase after a giggling toddler at the park, or toss a baby in the air, I can feel their strength. I may not feel comfortable in a bodycon dress, I may not be able to squeeze into a dress I used to have to hold my breath to zip up anyway, and I may not confidently rock a cropped top, but fit doesn’t have to be dictated by our clothes.

Categories: The new identity | 2 Comments

Currently: In August

I keep reminding myself that Fall doesn’t start until a few weeks into September but the beginning of August always feels like we’re heading into the last little bit of summer. So without further ado, here is what I’m up to this August! Currently, I am…

Currently August

…snacking (on): fresh peas. My garden is a hot mess but that’s because things are thriving and trying to take over each other’s spots. Tomatoes, cucumbers and carrots can fend for themselves but I go to battle for my peas.

…anticipating: C’s birthday. She wants a Princess party and while I’m not one of those moms opposed to it for feminist reasons (C loves the music and dresses. She has no illusions about awaiting to be rescued by her prince), I can’t stand the pink tulle that inevitably comes with the theme. Hit me with non-girly princess party ideas if you have any!

…borrowing: my parents van to get some lumber to turn a play structure into a castle. I’ve finally drafted my design, and I’m starting to get excited about it. Running out of days to get it done, though!

…admiring: a lot of moms out there who are balancing work and kids. I’m home all day, and I still feel I don’t get enough quality time with them (there is always something that needs to be done, and yet it never gets done either!) I go back to work in 4 months (what?!?! Already??!!) and I can’t figure out how to fit everything in. They’ll still pay me if I don’t show up to work, right?

…purchasing: hopefully a jean skirt. I refuse to go back to work without one (again, they’ll still pay me if I don’t show up, right?), but I refuse to pay full price for the one I like.

Thanks to Anne and Shea for another great set of prompts!

Categories: The new identity | 6 Comments

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