Tuesday, March 30, 2010

life as a mother-runner, emphasis on mother ...

Back on my 300th post, I asked you to comment with any question you wanted me to answer. The response was huge. Way too much for one entry. So, I have decided to categorize the questions and reply in a series of posts over the next few weeks. Last Friday, I let you know the entire story behind my sock obsession. Today, I discuss my life as a mother-runner, with an emphasis on mother ...

Carly asked: "What did you do before you became a stay at home mom? Do you miss it?" And Katie A asked: "Do you expect you will ever go back to work or do you think you will stay home until they are all in school and more independent?"

Carly, the short answer is NOTHING. The long answer is slightly more complicated.

During college, I worked in sports media for my university. And by the time I graduated, I had been promoted from lowly work-study to Athletic Communications Assistant. I served as the media liaison for several sports. Which included producing media guides, newsletters and programs for each sport, as well as writing press releases and feature articles. I also was heavily involved in the coordination and execution of the Penn Relays (one of the oldest track meets in America). I loved it. But, it was super time consuming and paid very little. I knew it was not a career path I wanted to continue to follow, especially once I started a family.

Once I graduated, I lived at home for six months and worked in banking. I never really saw a future in it. It was just something I did until I moved in with J and started my "real career." Six months after graduation, J and I got married. I still didn't have a real job. So, we talked it over and decided to start a family and I would wait to start my career until the kids were older. Now I'm not 100% sure that I will ever go back to work full-time (great use of that Ivy League degree, right?). I loved that my mom was always there to help with our homework, to make after-school snacks and to taxi us from place to place. And as annoying as I thought the supervision was at the time, I know her presence really helped to keep me and my sisters in line. And I'd like to do the same for my girls. So, to answer the questions - No, I don't miss it AT ALL.

Kilax asked: "How do you balance running as a wife and mother?"

Just like anyone else I guess. When you make something a priority in your life, you find away to make it work. For me, being a runner is equally as important as being a wife and a mother. I try my best to give my all to each aspect of my life without taking away from another area. Plus, I want my kids to see that I am more than just their mother. And running helps me do that. So, I have no choice but to balance it all.

As for the day to day logistics, I tend to do my runs when my children are not around. Like when one (or more) of them is busy with preschool or dance class or soccer. And a ton of my runs are done on my treadmill after they go to bed. J travels a lot and it is often the only way I get it done. The exception is my long run. 99% of the time I do those outside with my friends. J watches the kids and I get to escape, even if it's only for two hours ...

Jen asked: "I haven't felt like I necessarily like who I have become after being a stay at home mother. How did you own it?"

Being a stay-at-home mom is a challenge. It's a sacrifice. But that's just part of being a parent, regardless of whether you work or not. I think that I have been able to own my status as a stay-at-home mom because I have learned to take pride in what I do. Not everyone can handle being home all day with their children (or would want to), but I can. I have made that choice. And I am proud of that. I am proud that I am able to set an example for them everyday. To show them how to live their lives. To teach them what they need to succeed.

But, I think the thing that has helped the most is that I have found things for me, outside of my children. I run. I blog. I follow my passions (like becoming a running coach). The only true difference between the me I used to be and the me I am now is that I've lost that "me first" attitude. Now, I strive to find a way to fulfill myself, without adversely affecting my family. Some days it it harder than others, but in the end it seems to work. And no matter how bad the day might have been, I just try to remember to take pride in everything I've accomplished.

Robyn asked: "Did you ever think you'd have 3 kids by the age you are now?"

Three kids by the age of 27? No way, no how, no sir. I never even thought I would have three children at all. For most of my life, I had planned on two (perhaps delivered by someone else). But, after I had Doodle, I just didn't feel like our family was complete. Once Dilly arrived, I knew we were done. And even though things didn't go according to plan, I wouldn't change a thing. I enjoy being a young parent. It gives me an edge on being the "cool mom." Plus, when Dilly goes off to college I will only be 45. How sweet is that?

22 comments:

Michelle said...

These are awesome! I'm a SAHM, too, and love it. Looking forward to the next round of questions/answers.

Erica said...

I love your SAHM answer I totally see myself in you...I am also a young Mom and I think it is awesome but hey didn't you know I was gonna be a rich doctor married to a rich doctor and some other lady was gonna have my kids and take care of them and clean my house and cook my food? my how things change, as I just wiped the snot off my toddler's face with my bare hands *le sigh*

Erin G said...

I think its amazing how you manage to balance all these things with such grace and poise. I struggle with just my day to day stuff, and I am only responsible for myself and my husband, not little people too. Again, I really think you are such an inspiration and role model :)

Shannon said...

Those were great questions and answers. I am due in October and plan to be home with my baby. I will be balancing it with school because I am back in school studying to be an RD. I am hoping to balance my own part-time practice with being a SAHM at some point.

Do you have any treadmill recommendations? I want to get a treadmill so I can get those runs in like you do when the baby is sleeping. I am just not sure what the best one is....

Anne said...

You're doing a great job balancing being a mom with being a woman :)

fitandfortysomething said...

thank you for sharing those questions and answers with us! love your honesty :)

Nicole Joy said...

I love how you set the example for your kids of how important it is to be healthy by being a runner!

Kim said...

I love mom and running posts! Awesome!

shellyrm aka jogging stroller mama said...

I love "getting" to know you better. Great Q&A.

It also helps me understand more fully what I might be in for if our family moves to VA and I become as SAHM. If we move I will stop working (which I love currently and struggle to give up!). I am most concerned with my children's welfare than I am my own happiness in the area so if we move I will be at home to make sure I am able to do for my kids what my mother did for us. Plus I have never been okay with handing over my children to strangers (I took both littlest to work with me for over a year!). If we move everyone will be a stranger; schools, daycares, activities...so I will need to be there to make sure my kiddos are okay and being taught what I want them to be taught.
Sorry you can tell I am worried about the possiblity! Thanks for the insight. You really do make it seem workable and enjoyable.

Marlene said...

Thanks for sharing! All of you running Moms are seriously HEROIC to me.

Molly said...

I like how you do your runs when the kids aren't around, sometimes I feel like I'm neglecting them when I do a quick run on the treadmill. I really miss their naptimes!

Robyn said...

Love that you answered my question because we're the same age but obviously at much different places in our lives. That is pretty cool you'll still be so young when your kids are in college. Much props I could never imagine being a mom to 3right now, I'm just so not there yet :)

runninaround said...

i love how you say you want your kids to know you are completely dedicated to them but you are also something other than just mommy. I think that's why you enjoy your time with your family so much because you know how to work Tonia time in there too. Of course I'm not a mother but I feel like many women who allow themselves to become slaves to their children and house end up miserable and almost resenting their family. I love that you are showing your girls that women can be mommies, wives, athletes, workers, friends, etc. all at the same time. Good for you!

Katie A. said...

Love, love, love getting to know you more! I only wish you lived closer - I know we would have a blast togheter!! :)

April said...

I love your answers! Especially about being a stay-at-home mom. I have so much respect for you and how you balance your life!

Rene' said...

love your post today. i am a stay at home mom to 4 kids under 10 and I would not change a thing. i love being around to make them breakfast, help with homework and put them to bed at night. at the same time i do think it is important that they see you do other things besides being their "mom." keep up the good work, you sound like you have your head on straight and are a great mom!

MCM Mama said...

I'm an "older" mom and had a career before kids, but I also don't expect to ever do a full time for real job again. I agree that it's as important to be around more when they are older as when they are babies. We need to come up with a running related business we can do from Richmond and DC when the kids are at school. LOL

runningwithsass said...

wow I had no idea you were so young! I am almost 25 and can't imagine. Go you!

Mel -Tall Mom on the Run said...

Funny I dont feel like our family is complete, but hubs does not agree. Plus I BARELY have the patience for our little studs as it is.

FYI you WON the 5K!! you rock Mom!!

kilax said...

I loved reading your answers! I don't know many moms so I feel like I am getting the insider perspective!

Crystal said...

I would LOVE to be a SAHM! I'm envious that you are able to...and get in your runs! I find it extremely difficult to run these days.

p.s. did you go to Penn? if so, go Quakers!

Crystal said...

hurrah for the red and the blue!