Tuesday, May 23, 2017

I Ran Into Myself

I think I was fifteen when I started running consistently. This means, for over half my life running has been an outlet for me. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve found that running is more for my emotional health than it is for my physical health. This is exactly why I was so excited to lace up my shoes and head out the door shortly after Weston was born.

I was prepared for it to be a rough road back, but was ready to have something that was mine again. I was ready to find the quiet that exists when out on a good run. Unfortunately, that quiet didn’t quickly return. Instead running became another area of frustration. Every time I’d head out the door, I felt wobbly. Slow. Unsteady. I couldn’t clear my head. I’d remember how tired I was. Physically and emotionally. I’d beat myself up for lacking the endurance to run. This ineptitude was a reminder of all the other areas in my life in which I seemed to be lacking endurance.

I desperately wanted to see a glimpse of my old self out on the pavement. To find my stride there even if I couldn’t find it anywhere else. But for seventeen months, I felt clumsy instead. Then one day, with Eric Church in my ear, I ran right into myself. I looked down at the app I use to track my distance and speed, and realized I had run two miles with ease.

Mom or not, I think we women put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be all things to all people – including ourselves. I thought I’d run right back into my old self quickly after having my babies but the truth is that woman is gone. In her shoes instead is someone who is a little more patient. She laughs a lot more often, sleeps a lot less, and runs fewer miles. Her body – the one that once endured a marathon – has grown two people and learned to carry both a baby and toddler while simultaneously wearing heels (equally important feats).

I finally feel – nineteen months later – like I can call myself a runner again. But, admittedly, my running has changed too. I now find my quiet more quickly, but I’m more often pushing a stroller. I take out my headphones these days, and zone out to the tune of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” sung by my three year old who anticipates our running dates as much as I do.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Dear Nora James...

I can honestly say that at three years old, you are one of my absolutely favorite people.

I don’t mean that I like you because you’re my daughter. I mean, of all the people I’ve come across in my life, I’d choose you to be around!

Want to know why?

You’re Funny.
You say hilarious things all the time. You told Weston’s friend at school that “your brother needs a little space!” You were insistent that we’d have a purple cake with a rhino on it for your birthday, and think you can only “giddy-up” while wearing sparkle shoes. But, beyond the funny things you say and do, you have a sense of humor that is dry and off-the-wall. I appreciate it so much!


You Listen.
You ask your dad and me how our days were during dinner. Then, you nod your head as we talk about our experience and ask follow-up questions. Do you know how rare this is? There are so many adults who don’t take the time to truly listen. And, at age three, you do! How cool is that? 

You are an Amazing Sister.
Your entire demeanor and tone changes when Weston is around. You bend down to look him in the eye even though he’s not much smaller than you. You offer to share your birthday presents with him and yell from the other room that you’ll be right there when he’s crying. The genuine care you show for him makes me happier than you’ll ever know.

You know what you want and you won’t stop until you get it.
I’ll be honest, sometimes this is a hard one as your mom! I’ve never met someone as stubborn as you. You don’t back down when there is something you want. And, while at three this can be frustrating, I know that this drive will serve you well in the long-term. 

You have vision!
You go to great lengths to tell me about the things you want. You leave no detail out! This can (and does) often include the shoes you think you should wear for a particular activity and / or how you think we should proceed with a family adventure. I often think it’s my job to just keep you safe on your quest toward your vision!

But, ultimately, Nora James, I hope you know that for three years you have been loved. Through every smile, tear and frustrating-as-hell moment, you have brought so much joy to your dad and me. Today, and every day since you were born – I love you and I like you!

Cheers, little lady!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Mom, Are You Pretending to be the Mom?

Both of my littles enjoy playing with babies. I love it. They sweetly kiss their dolls and swaddle them in blankets. They ignore all recommendations by their pediatrician and lie them face first on the floor to “go to sleep.” I’m serious, sometimes it looks like a baby doll graveyard in our living room while my littles alternate patting various baby dolls' backs.

Recently, I was honored to play baby. I laid on the floor as Nora put a blanket over top me while she and Weston patted my back. As they finished getting me to sleep, I told them to lie down so they could play my babies. To which Nora responded; “Mom, are you pretending to be the mom?"

Ah, yes, Nora! Every day for almost three years, I have been pretending to be the mom. 


When both of my kids are sick and throwing up simultaneously, I pretend.

When sleep deprivation’s effects take over, I pretend.

When someone is funny and / or cute when they are supposed to be in trouble, I pretend.

When my toddler agrees to wear undies but not to pee on the potty, I pretend.

When toddler tantrums seem to escalate by the day, I pretend.

When one bout of illness fades into the next and scary thoughts run through my head, I pretend.

And, when my heart expands by the day with not only love but the most immense pride in my two littles achieving new, hard things, I pretend I was prepared for it all!

Cheers to pretending!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Am I Still Brave?

I stood in my bathroom throwing makeup on and my hair in a ponytail so I could rush out of the house in time for a meeting downtown. My two littles, ever at my feet, were a little less energetic thanks to a stomach bug that hit our house hard. I was in a hurry. Flustered. Exhausted from being thrown-up on more times than I can count when my daughter spoke in an uncharacteristically timid voice:

“Mom,” she said.

“Yes, Nora.” I answered.

“Remember when we went to the museum?”

“Of course! With Aunt Betsy and Lauren?”

“Yeah, and I went down that big slide?”

“Yeah, I was so proud! You were so brave to go down by yourself!”

There was a pause as my sweet two and half year old finally got out what was on her mind;

“But, mom, I cried a little. Am I still brave?”

In that moment, I was no longer tired, hurried or distracted. I slowly bent down so I could look into my girl’s eyes and I said;

“Nora James, every time I have ever been brave in my whole life, I have cried a little! That just means you’re being REALLY brave!”

And, she ran out of my bathroom clearly relieved. I could hear her run to the living room to exclaim to her dad that she went down the big slide by herself, she cried a little, but she’s still brave!

Man, this girl is doing it right!

Photo by Heart Shot Photo
I feel this kind of raw bravery that is so often only possessed by innocent toddlers is needed today, tomorrow, and in the coming weeks, months and years. We’re going to need to get loud. To stand up for whatever it is we all believe. To make our voices heard. Shed a few tears. And be brave.

Let’s all have the courage to go down whatever big slide is in our future.

Cheers to 2017!

Friday, January 13, 2017

What I've Learned

I recently wrapped up a blogging opportunity with St. Luke's Birth Care Center. As we said goodbye to that blog which brought a diverse group of mom voices together, I decided to share what I’ve learned as a mom so far.

Photo by Heart Shot Photo
Of that diverse group of moms, I represented a voice of a working mom. I work full-time outside of my home and am a mom to two kiddos who are seventeen months apart.  I’ve been a mom for a whole two and a half years so it’s safe to say I don’t have it all figured out. Even so, here’s what I know to be true…

We’re More Alike than Different.
Sure, you can fit me into a box based on my quick intro above. But, truth be told, I’m not very different than a stay-at-home mom with five littles. We all suffer many of the same battles and laugh at the crazy things our toddlers say. What binds us together is the desire to make the best decisions for our families.

It’s Hard.
This parenting thing, it’s really hard! I literally have no idea what I’m doing. I make things up every. single. day. I’m simultaneously exhausted from never having enough time and bored by the monotony of it all. I pray I’m picking the right battles, setting boundaries and loving them enough to see them grow into emotionally stable, happy and successful adults.

Photo by Heart Shot Photo
 Stay on Each Others Sides.
My husband was insistent that my daughter couldn’t draw with a pen tonight. It’s a fairly reasonable rule. The pen isn’t washable. She’s two. Accidents happen. But, if I’m honest, I would have let her color with the pen. Will Nora ever know this? Of course not. Above all else, I choose my husband’s side. We are partners and that means we stay on each others side even we disagree. The conversation about why we disagree can happen later. After the kids are snoozing. But, in front of them, I want them to know what it looks like to be a party of a supportive partnership.

I Could Have Used Six Months.
I don’t have the answer for this one, but I know we can do better with parental leave. I was lucky. I took around twelve weeks off after the birth of each of my children. But, truth be told, I could have used six months. And, six months is an arbitrary age that feels right to me. I have so much to say on this subject but I will sum it up by saying this; I could have been better for everyone. With a little more time at home following the birth of my children I could have been better for my children, husband, employer and self!

We Need Others.
We need each other. We need the mom who has been there and done that. We need the mom who is completely different than us, and the one who is quite similar. It truly takes a village. Whether we find our village though online communities such as this one or offline activities, we need to lean on each other. We need to put away our judgement and righteousness and be there for one another. Because, we’re all doing important jobs and we can’t do them alone!
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