Healthier as a Parent?

I got an email from the BabyCenter site this morning (I should really remove myself from their mailing list! They were a source of constant misery throughout my pregnancy and now they are just a nuisance.) and it had links to ways to tell if my child is developing normally or not at this age, tips from professionals in a field about fixing certain behavioral issues, a story about whether you should teach your child a foreign language at this age (mine is learning Spanish, which means I’m learning Spanish) and a quiz about “Do you try to be healthier now that you are a mom?” That one caught my eye, so I clicked through. It was an interesting thing to ponder.

Mental Health

I think certain aspects of my mental health are better but other aspects of my mental health are far worse. I am impressed and surprised at the amount of patience I have when it comes to my child. I thought I would be a lot more antsy when it came to slow eating, putting shoes on, etc. In fact, the one thing that I am finding my patience waning on is the “I have to go potty” statements that arise continually throughout meals, particularly when out to eat. Nobody wants to hang out in public restrooms much, especially repeatedly when you’re trying to have a meal.

I harbor a lot more anger and resentment right now, mainly geared toward my spouse because it feels like men get the easier part of this parenting gig by far. This area my patience is far quicker to wear out. I don’t need to parent a small little girl and a grown man, yet there are times that it feels like that’s exactly what I’m doing.

But it is a lot easier to be happy around this kid.

Best… swing… EVER!! #AwesomeA

A photo posted by @jillwillrun on

Habits

In terms of bad health habits, I didn’t really need to worry about cutting back on the booze or cigarettes as they mention, those aren’t issues for me. So I guess I can give myself props for still not abusing those!

The quiz asks if you drive safer now that you have a child. I think my driving habits for the most part are the same, except I did put in an Automatic device on my car. Overall I think it’s not as great as I had hoped, but it did allow me to program in an alert if I top a certain speed so my car now chirps at me if I hit 82 mph. A lead foot is my biggest driving sin.

(PS – Apparently the Automatic is on sale for $79 right now. That’s better than the $100 I paid…. but still doesn’t feel like a price consistent with what you actually end up getting. I keep hoping they’ll release more improvements. And I hate that it gives you a drive score and docks you points if you do things “wrong”. Because one of the things that it says is wrong is driving over 70mph. Which means I would be a better driver according to this thing if I’m putzing along the freeway and being a general hazard instead of keeping up with traffic. And it’s not like the drive score matters… but I like getting good scores on things!)

Nutrition

In terms of eating healthier, no…. I am a far worse eater now that I am a parent. I inhale my food at rapid speeds in between various mother duties, sometimes realizing at the end that I might not have even tasted my meal. Time to cook is diminished because the child seems to go from “Play with me mommy!” to “I’m starving and I will die!” in a matter of moments. My breakfast and lunch are consumed at my desk every weekday.

My dinner repertoire is so small because I want to make sure the kid is actually eating something and I need to have something ready for her about 5:30-6 pm, while also playing with her because I haven’t seen her all day while she’s been at school (I would rather play than cook, FYI). My husband usually walks in the door from work right as I’m getting dinner on the table… no matter what time it occurs. He’s got some kind of skill that way.

I used to think I liked cooking. But now I realize that I don’t like cooking much. Nobody appreciates it around here and most of my food fascination from years ago came because I was starving myself to death. (This is a known fact… those who are starving often fantasize about food. ) I do still like baking, I wish I had more time to bake bread, but I don’t.

A weekly staple the kid will eat: cook a tortilla, spread with these beans and guacamole. Serve with fruit. Voila! Dinner is served.

A weekly staple the kid will eat: cook a tortilla, spread with these beans and guacamole. Serve with fruit. Voila! Dinner is served.

Exercise

This is an area I wish I knew how to improve. As it is right now, basically all I do is run 4 times a week. I was getting in a Surfset class once a week for a little while… then my job decided to explode further and I couldn’t squeeze in the class as my lunch break anymore. I love the classes, but the studio is about a 25-minute drive from home. I really need workouts that originate from here. (Thus why running works.)

I don’t have time to run with friends anymore, I don’t even recall the last time I did that. I used to feel a little bad about missing out on group runs, but now it seems like it would feel like an awkward blind date and I’m okay not dealing with that right now.

I recently bought a bunch of Barre3 DVDs to do at home. In a perfect world I’d be able to do one of those 4 times a week in addition to running 4 times a week, as well as making sure I have a good core/strength training routine going on. But nothing is perfect… so I do the best I can, which never feels like enough.

barre3-dvds

Before having a kid I did yoga several times a week, all at home, but it feels humorous to reflect on how I could accomplish that. And I kind of need yoga, it makes me feel a lot less crunchy and stiff.

Conclusion

So I’m going to have to say that no, I’m not actually healthier than I was. But my happiness with my daughter is so high that helps the mental side of this equation get boosted a lot!

I have really good friends who have used the birth of their child(ren) to spur on their fitness habits. I’m impressed and proud of them. For me, so far it has been the opposite.

What about you? Do you find that having kids improves or challenges your healthy living habits?

Friday Fête: Reading List and Protein Smoothies

Yesterday I got up at 4am to drive to Utah for work. In a 13 hour period I had driven 2.5 hours, had several meetings, gave a lecture, had lunch with my mom and drove 2.5 hours back home to pick “A” up from school. Then I realized I had forgotten to get anything out to defrost for dinner… so we “sadly” had to go out to Cafe Rio. I will happily eat at Cafe Rio nearly any day of the week! Meal planning has been hard for me and it seems to get harder and harder each week. But with all the work/mom tasks on my agenda this week and the fatigue from no sleep during Ragnar, running has taken a bit of a hiatus this week and that makes me sad. I like running, but I have to live my life in a balanced way and sometimes you just can’t “have it all!”

When I do run, I have been listening to audiobooks a lot lately. I rarely have time to just sit down and read books these days but I still want to get in some reading. So instead of choosing between reading time or running time, I merge the two! Recently on my reading list lately:

Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Amy Poeher's Yes Please

As I was listening to this book, I kept wanting to tweet out or share on Facebook lines from the book. But if I did that, I would have ripped off the majority of the book. I really loved when she talks about how career and passion are different things and says that your career shouldn’t define you because your career will cheat on you or push you aside for a younger model so you shouldn’t wrap your whole self-worth up in that. Instead focus on the passion of doing work that fulfills you and doing it well, but practicing some level of ambivalence too. She also talks about keeping a positive body image and the demon that it seems all of us have in our heads and learning to not let it control us.

Hopefully as you get older, you start to learn how to live with your demon. It’s hard at first. Some people give their demon so much room that there is no space in their head or bed for love. They feed their demon and it gets really strong and then it makes them stay in abusive relationships or starve their beautiful bodies. But sometimes, you get a little older and get a little bored of the demon. Through good therapy and friends and self-love you can practice treating the demon like a hacky, annoying cousin. Maybe a day even comes when you are getting dressed for a fancy event and it whispers, “You aren’t pretty,” and you go, “I know, I know, now let me find my earrings.” Sometimes you say, “Demon, I promise you I will let you remind me of my ugliness, but right now I am having hot sex so I will check in later.

Food, A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan

Jim Gaffigan's Food: A Love Story

I like Jim Gaffigan’s comedy, so this book is an extension of his standup shows. In fact, if you’re familiar with his standup you’ll hear some carry over from those into this book. But there’s enough new stuff to make it entertaining. Enough to actually make me laugh out loud while running and causing me to feel like a doofus. There’s a section that comes from his Mr. Universe special, but is a little bit adapted/updated in the book to have more 2014-ish references, but it resonated with me.

I’m tired of people acting like they’re better than McDonald’s. It’s like you may have never set foot in McDonald’s, but you have your own McDonald’s. Maybe instead of buying a Big Mac, you read Us Weekly. Hey, that’s still McDonald’s. It’s just served up a little different. Maybe your McDonald’s is telling yourself that Starbucks Frappuccino is not a milkshake. Or maybe you watch “Glee.” It’s all McDonald’s—McDonald’s of the soul: Momentary pleasure followed by incredible guilt eventually leading to cancer.


I don’t know how most people get a toddler to eat breakfast each day, it’s nearly impossible for me to get “A” to sit down and eat breakfast. Particularly on school days, she wants to “read stories/watch videos/play slide/put ponytail in/go potty/get smiles/RUN RUN!” – in no particular order. Plus we’re trying to do all this in the window from 6:45 when she wakes up to about 7:15 when she needs to leave with her daddy to go to school.

*Get smiles = “A” has been waking up in the middle of the night a lot lately and she’s convinced she didn’t want to go back to sleep and was awake for the day. I was sitting on the floor with her, feeling exhausted (as one would at 2 AM) and she asked “Mommy sad?” So I told her, “Yes, I have no smiles right now because it’s the middle of the night and we should be sleeping.” She nodded and said, “I go to sleep. I get smiles.” And now that’s our new thing, we say good night and promise to wake up with our smiles. Then in the morning she shows off her smiles!

So most breakfasts are liquid in nature so I can try to get as many different nutrients in there in one dose. She frequently likes to drink “monkey milk” – which is actually Orgain Healthy Kids drink and not actually milk. But if I have a little more time I like to make her a smoothie. This is one of her favorites and we don’t reserve “pumpkin spice” to just the fall in this house… we have it year round! (Stock up on big cans of pumpkin at Costco this time of year though!)

pumpkin-all-year-smoothie.jpg

This is no real recipe though… It’s just kind of process or something. All ingredients are measured in terms of “however much you feel like” while “using your best judgment.”

  • Spinach (did you know that entire bag of spinach has 4 grams of protein? Obviously I’m not putting the whole bag in there, but vegetables contain more protein that we often give them credit.)
  • Pumpkin (plain pumpkin… I’m sure pumpkin pie filling would be delicious or too sweet, but the plain ol pumpkin is your better choice!)
  • Stonyfield Plain Greek yogurt (go Greek… get more protein in there! Of course, their new Petite Creme lineup has a good amount of protein too and would be tasty in the smoothie.)
  • Banana (the riper the better, it will provide all the sweetness needed)
  • Chia seeds 
  • Pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon (or cumin, as my daughter always calls it when she shakes it in the blender cup!)
  • Milk of choice (we used soy, it provides additional protein and fat… and isn’t actual cow’s milk which “A” and I rarely drink. Yogurt has cultures that help us digest it.)
  • couple of ice cubes (or use a frozen banana)

Place ingredients in the blending device you have available. Yell “Fire in the hole” and turn it on. Let it whir until it’s all blended, pour it into a cup with a straw… it’s a known fact that smoothies taste better with straws. Hand it over to the toddler or drink it yourself. Watch the toddler dance with joy as she takes a sip. Then try to get her in school clothes for the day.

happy-smoothie-drinker.jpg

I’m running the Boston Marathon this upcoming April as part of Team Stonyfield. I can’t wait! All of my Ragnar mileage this past weekend gave me a much needed confidence boost about ramping up my training for the marathon.

November Stress

How is it already November?! This is one of those things about getting older… time passes faster and faster. You always hear that as a kid or teen, but it gets more real with each passing year. This year is registering in my mind as “What just happened?” (There may be some expletives in that statement too.)

White_Rabbit_KHREC

But today, with it being the first Monday in November, I’m really feeling the weight of stress.  Let’s see if listing things out makes it feel like a less overwhelming time:

  • Have the kid home from school today because it’s parent-teacher conferences. Try to get some work done during this time.
  • Attend my first parent-teacher conference as a parent.
  • Go to the dentist.
  • Vote. Yes, I’m supposed to get time off work to go vote by law… doesn’t meant that it doesn’t add to the stress. I have to take that time away from getting work done, and read through the 9,302 judge options on the ballot. Why are there so many judges?!
  • Run the Las Vegas Ragnar Relay this weekend with a team full of strangers. Kind of having a moment where I’m questioning my sanity on that choice! (It will be fun.)
  • Run a search committee and hire a new employee at work.
  • Finish building the redesigned web site for work, launch it and sit back to field all the complaints that will inevitably come in and be directed at me.
  • Oversee a major household renovation that will be taking place this month.
  • Have the kid home from school again on the 11th, because her school is closed for Veterans’ Day.
  • Guest lecture for a university class
  • Thanksgiving
  • Get the dog to the vet for shots
  • Keep trying to make menus/meals for the fam, which I am getting better and better about FAILING in that regard.
  • Buy my kid some warm clothes. And new shoes.
  • Keep being the default parent.
  • Try not to go completely blog-silent during all this. The site has brought me some amazing opportunities, but it has to be one of the first things that gets relegated to the back-burner… it’s not a living-breathing member of my family nor does it actually pay the bills.

Nope, still feel stressed. Sigh… Oh well, this too shall pass, right? And some of the stuff on the list is really good stuff, it’s just that all added together I feel burdened and unbalanced.

Friday Fête

Do you ever have one of those weeks where you feel like you’ve gone through about 3 weeks in just 3 days? It has been one of those weeks for me. Despite having Monday off work, the following three days were so full of work weirdness that I’ve been thrown off all week. Emails have been piling up in all my accounts (I have way too many email accounts!) and it’s getting a little overwhelming to look at them all.

But I got an invite to use Inbox, Google’s new app to try managing manage your gmail account. So if I ever get a chance to really test it out maybe I can get an inbox or two under control! (HA HA HA!)

Inbox by Gmail

I downloaded the app Motigo recently. It’s an app that allows you to collect “cheers” from friends/family, then at the beginning of a race you start the app and you get those motivational boosts at specific points in the race. I’m going to give it a go tomorrow. Right now I only have one cheer in there, one I made of my daughter babbling. So if you feel like leaving me one for my race tomorrow: download the app, look for me in the Trick or Trot 10K in Las Vegas and record away!

motigo-icon

My daughter has always loved books, but lately the “Want to read a story Mommy?” inquiry has been coming even more frequently. She wakes up in the middle of the night asking that question. First thing out of her mouth in the morning is asking for a book. It’s awesome… but I’m so tired of all her books. I’ve tried to read my books to her so I get a chance to read for myself, but she has told me “No like that. Read another one.” Guess we need to go get a stack from the library every week!

I pulled out the book The Runner’s Bucket List: 200 Races to Run Before You Die to read to her, thinking that since it’s not really a long book but more a collection of short “stories” I could get away with it. It didn’t fly… however I did get to read her a little blurb about the Boston Marathon to her, since I’m getting more and more giddy about running that race as part of Team Stonyfield with each passing day.

runners-bucket-list.jpg

The book is entertaining, although it really is a collection of personal opinions. I mean… I think a large majority of runners would put the Boston Marathon on their bucket list. But the book includes the Badwater Ultramarathon as a bucket list entry. I know a few people personally who actually have that race on their to-do list (or have already done list) but for the most part, I think it wouldn’t be high on a lot of runners list.

The book is a fun way to get some ideas though. Since it’s grouped into chapters with a general theme, it’s easy to find races you might not have heard of otherwise. Races that take place on famous or multiple bridges… races that are clothing optional (are these bucket list worthy?)… races that take place in the night… relay races, fast courses, indoor races… there are a lot of races I’d never heard of and that made for an interesting perusal!

I’m hoping that this weekend I get a chance to power through some of my emails and get a little more caught up and organized on my personal life. At least I have my work inbox somewhat under control, despite the out-of-control feelings it has evoked of late! And I’m running a 10K Saturday morning (see above mention in the Motigo reference), so that should be fun!

What are your weekend plans? What email app do you use on a smartphone? Got any to-do list/organizational tactics you swear by?

Friday Fête

I’m in a major food rut. I’m just sick of meal planning, sick of cooking, sick of it all… We go out for dinner 1-2 times a week and it’s to the same 3 places and then I make the same 5-6 meals the rest of the time. I used to think I liked cooking, but then I realized I was married to a picky man. And then I had a child who wants lots of attention and doesn’t give me much space/time to prepare food. So now I hate cooking. I need help!

I get very frustrated that I do the vast majority of parenting myself. And there are times that I’m really annoyed that I have to wake up way before dawn to be able to get in a run before the kid wakes up. But you know what is more annoying? Not even having that option. I really do like running early (except I still find it a lot harder to wake up in the 4AM hour than I ever did pre-kid, what up with that?) and this week my hubby has been out-of-town for work. From what I understand, it’s not considered “good parenting” to get up really early and go for a run and leave your toddler asleep at home alone. Even if you leave the dog behind to watch her. ;-)

And my hubby does usually take her to school each morning, so most days I can get started working early enough. But this week I’ve been late to work every day. Which means that I worked my 8 hours each day without taking any breaks so I could still go pick her up on time, 8-4. So no lunch break workouts either. All my fitness endeavors this week have been after I put her to bed. But no running, because remember… you’re not supposed to leave the kid home alone to go run! (And my treadmill scares me, it just changes incline on its own without warning. Which wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t the fact that it decides to rise the incline all the way and then plummet back down. That’s dangerous!)

Not that I could have run anyway… my hip/groin/glute/quad/hammie/IT Band* has been bugging me. I’m on about 3 weeks of no running now. Taking my shoe selfies lets me know that my last run was on September 2. I think it might be starting to feel better, but I can’t tell for certain. Just when I think it might be easing up, then it gives me a sudden and sharp reminder about its existence.

And no running has been making me grumpy. I had to miss a half marathon I was registered for last weekend. Of course, a freak storm washed out the freeway and would have made travel to the race a nuisance anyway. But still… And it’s playing head games with me and making me have body confidence issues. (Just being totally honest here.) I feel the ED voice getting louder telling me that I’m getting huge with this break. I know that’s not the truth, but it’s hard when something that helps keep that voice quiet (running) is taken away from me. But it hasn’t been too overwhelmingly hot out so I’ve at least been able to take the kid out on a few evening walks in the stroller this week. (By not overwhelmingly hot I mean in the mid 90’s!)

* Seriously, I am not entirely sure what this pain is, the pain source seems to move all around. Some times I think it’s a groin injury, sometimes I think it’s my hip, sometimes I’m afraid it’s a bone injury, other days I’m sure it’s all muscular/soft tissue. And I don’t really want to go to the doctor because truthfully, I’m cheap. I hate going to my primary care doc and paying a $40 co-pay to have her say, “That sounds like this. Go see this specialist.” Then the specialist charges $50, then sends me for other diagnostics that cost more money. But I’ve been dealing with other health issues that I may or may not discuss on here, so all of the tests and appointments on that may have me nearing my deductible amount now. So that expense would be gone! I need a good sports chiropractor that isn’t super far away from my home.

If you’ve read my site long enough, you know that I am a fan of ChiRunning. I’ve wanted to attend a ChiRunning event with Danny Dreyer since 2007 or 2008 when I first stumbled upon the book. But who has time to go away for a week to a camp for grown ups?! They’ve just announced a ChiWeekend on October 24-26 in North Carolina. And I’d really like to go! I don’t think I’m going to get the opportunity, but one can dream, right?

chirunning

Amazon announced a new kid-friendly Kindle Fire tablet. Watching stuff on the iPad is the closest my kid gets to watching TV. We watch a few videos from the Super Simple Songs channel on YouTube. Media is totally addicting to kids and she now begs to watch the videos. “Mommy, get the PAAAAAAD! One more? One more?” I can see her vocabulary expanding from these 3-5 minute clips, but it’s amazing how angry she can get when it’s time to shut it off. Media and children are a whole new world these days… we get in the car and she asks for certain songs to be played. And we can just bust out the iPhones and play it for her. *crotchety old voice* When I was a kid we had to wait for our favorite songs to be played on the radio and we were happy when it did! *end crotchety old voice*

Got any fun weekend plans? Have you ever dealt with pain-of-unknown-origin? How did you track down the problem?

Clearing the Brain’s Cobwebs

I’ve mentioned that I’m trying to incorporate meditation into my life. It’s hard! Really hard… and some resources I’ve found lately have verified that I’m not just crazy bad at meditation. (Headspace talks about managing your expectations, Dan Harris’ book goes into the difficulties of starting.)

This was a badass endeavor. I resolved to do it every day. I started getting up a little early each morning and banging out ten minutes, sitting on the floor of our living room with my back up against the couch. When I was on the road, I meditated on the floor of hotel rooms. It didn’t get any easier. – Dan Harris

I need to find ways to alleviate the stress in my life though, it’s having a really negative impact on my health lately. I’ve let stress get the better of me before and the outcome was ending up in an eating disorder treatment program.

Running can be a great tool for your mental well-being, provided you use it the right way. See, when I first tried to run… I started and failed several times. Why? Because I was always trying to do it as something I thought I “should do” to be healthy and that it was “good exercise.” But it wasn’t until I tried doing it for reasons greater than just myself (charity fundraising) that it finally stuck. And once I got to that point, I could actually use it for myself in a way that was constructive. Lacing up the shoes and hitting the pavement was a tool to clear my brain and gather a new focus.

Yoga is that way for me. Yes, yoga is a fantastic way to be more flexible and fluid. It’s a great form of exercise as well. But for me, I never actually thought of yoga as working out, but more as something that helped put me in a good place. I guess that’s why I never have been tempted by the idea of doing Bikram yoga… that just sounds like it would be too draining. I want my yoga to leave me feeling settled and soothed. Which is why I need to make a push to incorporate it into my life more. It’s so important and I love the way I feel after a practice.

The thing that is the most important to remember is that whatever you’re doing for your physical well-being, doesn’t have to be bad for your mental state as well. If you hate going out for a run… then don’t be a runner! Find something else. If going for a swim fills you with dread, try something different! There’s a whole world of possibility out there! Find what works for your mind/body/soul!

This post is sponsored by Silk Soymilk. To learn more about Silk Soymilk, visit their Protein Power page or their Learn More page. Thanks, as always, for supporting my blog and reading sponsored content. My family appreciates it a lot.

This conversation is sponsored by Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.

Friday Fête

Meditation is HARD. I’m currently on about day 15 of a 10-day introductory program from Headspace.  That’s because I fail to make the time… 10 measly minutes… for myself to meditate. And then when I do, I drift and think and analyze the whole time. That’s the whole point of trying to meditate, is to reign that reflex in because I feel it causes me undue stress. There’s also the issue of feeling like I’m doing some kind of illicit underground thing with meditation. I mentioned to my husband that I was going to try meditation and he just blankly looked at me and then went back to his college football boards. He thinks stuff like that is wacky. And it does have that image. But I’ve heard of the benefits and after reading Dan Harris’ book (10% Happier) on the subject, I’m certainly willing to believe that it’s not all wacky and “woo woo” or whatnot. (I need to buy that book… I got it from the library, it’s worth having my own copy. Note to self… do that next weekend.) But I feel like I’m not coping with stresses and changes in life as well as I possibly could. Life is moving too fast.

10-percent-happier-cover

Speaking of life moving fast… today is my kid’s last day in the toddler room at school. Then she has a week off before the new school year starts and she goes back to school as a “beginner” in her little uniforms. (Which I’m still waiting to arrive, hopefully they fit. Dinky little kid I have, they’ll probably be falling off her!) It’s weird to think of her as not so baby. Yet, she’s still a baby and it seems to be so fast/early for her to be growing up. I mean, she’s not even 2 yet… that’s a couple weeks away still. How is 1.9 not a toddler?! She even calls herself a baby still.

Speaking of a week off… because she has no school next week, that means I have no work next week. I had to take the week off to take care of her. We thought we’d go on vacation, but are we? So far… no. We haven’t planned anything. Cause we suck. Or at least we are massive failures at planning vacations. The problem is that I don’t want to plan everything on my own and then feel like I’m dragging people somewhere they don’t want to go. And so I’m just not doing that anymore. Maybe when A is a little older I’ll drag her places. “Dammit kid, you’re going to Disneyland and you’ll be happy about it!” But for now, that’s way too much bother. So I guess I’ll take her shoe shopping not on a weekend when the stores are so crowded. Her feet are growing so fast these days!

a-sitting-with-pumpkin-garden

Speaking of kids feet… because I’m such a nerd about letting feet develop and gaining foot strength, I’m really particular about the shoes A wears. So far, all her shoes are from Stride Rite (with the exception of her water shoes) because I like how flexible they are. But those things are kind of expensive when they only seem to last a few months!

Speaking of expensive shoes… I’m going to get the opportunity to try a pair of Hoka One One shoes. I’m intrigued to try these maximally cushioned shoes and see what all the fuss is about. Not only will I get to try them, I’ll get to give away a pair, so keep an eye out for that in several weeks. (I gotta get my pair and test them out!)

hoka-huaka

Speaking of… eh, I got no more segues.

If you were going to go on a spur-of-the-moment vacation, where would YOU go?

Out of Time!

168-hours-book.jpg

I’ve seen a couple of articles recently that say mothers just want “time” for Mother’s Day. Time for themselves, quality time as a family, time to sleep, time to shower, time to shop, time to relax, time to read, time to poop, etc. etc. etc. And when I first read those, I kind of thought, “Yeah… that’s what I want. More time!” Then, ironically enough, a book I had on reserve at the library became available to me: 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam. Basically the book encourages you to look at your life broken down by the hours in the week… there are 168 hours in a week. That sounds like a lot of time when you say that, right? And if you assume someone works 40 hours a week and sleeps 8 hours a night, subtracting those still leaves 72 hours a week. So why is it so hard to find time to do things, even mundane things like eat a meal or take a shower?

168-hours-book.jpg

I’m only a few chapters into the book thus far, but already I’m starting to think that some of the ways that I thought I didn’t have time are more decisions how I choose to use my time. One example, I thought I was failing in some way because I don’t have the time to plan/cook fancy meals for my family. I feel them, but it’s pretty simple. But the reality is that I don’t choose to spend my time that way. Part of it is that I have a small rotation of food I know my toddler will eat consistently, part of it is that I usually have to cook these things while holding her. And instead of spending a lot of time on meals, I would rather play with her anyway.

One part of the book was rather jarring to me. It said “Working mothers clock a lousy 1-7 minutes of daily reading to or with children, but even stay-at-home moms of preschool-aged kids don’t top 8 minutes per day.” Can that be true? Those numbers make me incredibly sad! I usually read 15-25 books with Alex every single day, because that’s what she asks for. She wakes up in the morning and says, “Eat? Book?” The girl loves books and doesn’t really play with toys at all at home. Sometimes she changes from books and asks to “Color?”, but the majority of the time she wants to spend it reading books.

I feel like the whole time from when I pick her up from school to when she goes to bed is pretty hands-on parenting. She doesn’t usually play independently during this time; she wants to tell me stories,  color with me, dance/sing with me, and be in my arms. I’ve often wondered how stay-at-home moms ever get anything done because I struggled to “do things”, but if doing the laundry takes longer because she’s “helping” to sort or move stuff from the washer to the dryer… if grocery shopping takes longer because we have to point out all the produce… if dinner prep is way condensed because she wants me to hold her… I need to relish those things because someday she’ll probably want nothing to do with me when it comes to life’s tasks.

So I’m going to track my time this week. I know I waste time on some frivolous things that I could probably tighten up to get more time for myself. I know some of that frivolous time (TV time) might mean that I spend less time with my spouse. Although, is it really quality if we’re sitting next to each other on the couch, both ignoring the same TV show while we use our computers?

I made a Google spreadsheet to fill in how I use/waste my time. I made a template available if you’d like to copy one into your Google Drive account and do the same! :-)

My Running Reality vs. Online Perceptions

Wallowing in negativity isn't doing anything good.

January is when my CPA husband starts working ridiculously long hours and I rarely see him until May. For years I could entertain myself when he had to work late weeknights or every single weekend by going running, visiting with friends, going to work on-site, etc. But with Alex, getting out to do stuff is harder. I don’t really dare run further than a few miles from home with the stroller these days because she has more definite opinions and if she gets angry… she gets ANGRY. She goes to bed 7:45-8:00, so it’s not like I can really go anywhere. And I rarely see friends these days, between working full-time (as a telecommuter) and having a toddler, I just spend too much time at home.

When I wrote my resolutions post (or anti-resolutions post, as it was) I said I was grumpy. That’s not quite true… I was down right angry.

  • I was angry that my time wasn’t mine to schedule
  • I was angry that other bloggers online seem to be able to train for marathons/Ironmans while pregnant or parents to tiny babies.
  • I was angry that I didn’t have a spouse that was more encouraging of my running and eager to stay with the baby.
  • I was angry that I had no idea how to even plan a race schedule for this year.

But then I did the Resolution Run on New Years Eve… I had been planning on running the 10K all year, but as it got closer I was going to blow it off because I’d had a hard time getting in any runs during the holiday break with the baby home from school. I had a change of heart (thanks for the simple text to get me out there, Jimmy), decided to take the stroller with me and run the 5K with Alex in tow. And I enjoyed getting out and running, pursuing my hobby while involving my daughter.

Wallowing in negativity isn't doing anything good.

It made me realize that wallowing in negativity isn’t doing anything good. Yes, I have a one-year-old daughter and full-time job and my husband has a more-than-full-time job, that makes training for distance events really hard. I know there are people who do it. I’ve seen things online that say, “Don’t feel bad about getting a babysitter for a couple of hours while you get in a long run.” Well… I would feel bad. I already send my daughter to daycare all day while I work. I WANT to spend time with her, far more than I WANT to train for a marathon. Maybe someday she’ll think I’m no fun to be with, but right now she wants to be with me as well. (So much so that it’s nearly impossible to get good naps on the weekends because she just wants to hang out with me!) I’m taking advantage of that time.

I think to myself that I’d like to plan out a race calendar, but that’s so hard these days. I don’t have any Saturdays to myself until May due to hubby’s work schedule. Then it gets hot and sucks here in Vegas for several months. And then the fall arrives and the husband’s college football obsession kicks in every Saturday. Maybe this coming fall, A will be able to entertain herself even more while he watches TV… but so far, she is very insistent on me playing with her. And I LOVE LOVE LOVE playing with her. But nobody asks you when your next time playing blocks is or when you’re going to push the popping mower around the house again, they all just want to know when your next race is. It’s frustrating sometimes.

Who cares what other people think I should be doing with my time?

But who cares what other people think I should be doing with my time or how many races they think I should be running. I don’t run to put on a show for others, that’s a big reason why I no longer share all the details of my workouts online. Although seeing others doing that so frequently does tend to make me second-guess myself.

I honestly do not understand how so many women online do so many things when they have kids. I feel so overwhelmed as a working mother. I am not one of those women who can just tote my kid all over the place and still manage to maintain my own hobbies. Gals that can train for marathons with toddlers or complete a race every other weekend with small kids, I just don’t get it (and kudos to them). But then, I don’t know anyone else’s whole story… just the narrow window they choose to share. Maybe they feel just as depleted as I do. Maybe they can do their training, but give up other aspects of life that I choose to indulge in.

I don't know anyone else's whole story... just the narrow window they choose to share.

The only way that I can keep any kind of running schedule these days is going on a run for my lunch break, because every minute outside of my 7-4 work hours are devoted to family life. Weekends I’m pretty much glued to my child (or she’s glued to me, I guess) because she’s such a mama’s girl. I don’t know if my hubby gets to do his own stuff because she’s such a mama’s girl or if she’s such a mama’s girl because he does his own stuff all the time! Some days I feel like I should just reconcile myself with the idea that I don’t get to have my own identity until she’s older and more self-sufficient. But that doesn’t seem like an option, since running was part of helping me re-claim my identity after falling into the devilish hands of ED.

So the only solution I can think of? Run shorter races, purely for fun, so I can take the stroller along with me. I will try to do a few half marathons this year (I wouldn’t mind signing up for the Mustang Half, but that’s during hubby’s busy season) but I have to accept my life is different, I will never have the life I used to have. And in many ways, this life is so much better. But it’s still hard to adjust.

This is all a massive brain dump, huh? I guess I’ve just been feeling depressed? Can you have postpartum depression 16 months after having a baby? But I’m feeling really good about the decision to make the best of where I’m at now, others’ opinions of what I should be doing with my running/fitness be damned.

Anti Resolute 2014

Happy New Year

Happy New Year

Soooo….. what are your resolutions? I’m not really making any right now. I am just not feeling in the mood to make dramatic (or not-so-dramatic) commitments to change in my life right now. Maybe that is a cue to make a change, but I’m not taking that cue at the moment.

Last year’s resolutions were failures not successful. Buying a new outfit each month? Nope… But I did buy more clothes and I tried to pay closer attention to my appearance, so it wasn’t a total bomb. Hanging stuff on my walls? I did no decorating. I’m just not good at that I guess! Laugh more, stress less? I most definitely did not stress less, I invented all new things to stress over. But I am pretty sure I laughed more, it’s hard not to laugh when you have a kid, they do so many great things.

I find it interesting that two years ago I wrote that it was hard to come up with resolutions because I was grumpy. That’s the same feeling I have right now.  But for some reason, 2014 feels even more… terrifying to me. It seems like changes are afoot in so many areas and they’re scaring me! Or at least making me very uncomfortable.

Perhaps I’ll feel better in a few weeks or a few months and can face making goals/plans at that point. We should all feel free to make “resolutions” at any point throughout the year anyway.