Yesterday morning, shortly after the kiddos awoke and as I was preparing their oatmeal as requested, I informed them of our plans for the day. This is our typical routine as we begin each day - a system that I have found works to alleviate potential disgruntled feelings and at the same time, hold off some of the eagerness and excitement for more enjoyable endeavors. I don't know about you, but I find it a little annoying when little people repeatedly ask, "How much time until we go swimming?" "How much time until Jessi & Maggie come over?"
I explained that we didn't have any errands or appointments. I announced that their two best 'boy' friends would be coming over for a play date (their mommy had an appointment) after lunch. Before they arrived, however, I wanted to get in a medium run. Sweetie says, "Not now, right? It is frosty outside." I assured her that I would wait until it warmed up and I even suggested packing their lunch so they could eat 'on the run'. She liked this idea and resumed coloring in her princess activity book.
As the day progressed, we got involved in reading a number of books about the moon (our current thematic focus) and doing a few short activities. They kiddos were playing well together (unlike yesterday) and I was enjoying their comraderie. Around noon, I asked what they would like me to prepare for lunch. Sweetie looks up, again from her coloring book, and inquires, "What about your run, Mama? We didn't go for your run yet."
"You're right, Sweetie. I kinda changed my mind. I am not feeling it today and am still trying to kick this head cold."
"Oh. That's okay. I like it when we don't do your runs sometimes. Like when we are busy and have lots to do. But you should do your runs. I know it is portant for you," Sweetie said.
Now isn't that just the sweetest thing? I originally started running to shed the pounds I had gained during my two pregnancies. However, I also wanted to show my children that eating healthy and taking care of our body is very important. I wanted to model determination and the will to succeed, despite occasional set backs. When we fall, we get up, brush ourselves off and try again. That anything is possible if you set your mind to it and want it strongly enough.
Some may think that I spend all my time running, training, and thereby seeking out childcare for my children. They may say that I neglect them and that Buddy's recent expulsion is a result of him crying out for attention. I have to say that these individuals do not know the real me.
As a stay-at-home mom, I chose to give up my career (one I was very dedicated to - I love teaching) to be at home with my children. DH is a hospital administrator so he works long hours... I am with my children 24-7. I am their mother, their nurse, their coach and referee. I am their friend, their chauffeur, their confidant and teacher.
I recently made the decision to home school my children knowing full well that this would require even more from me. In the summer months, I frequently hear parents say, "Oh, I can't wait for school to start." That isn't me. I look forward to the days ahead when we can cuddle up in bed together and watch movies because we feel like it. I relish the days when we explore the wooded areas in our community and we each make a discovery... finding a caterpillar nibbling on a leaf or a bird's nest that has fallen from the tree. I love hearing them make connections and enjoy talking with them in the car about synonyms. These are learning opportunities and they happen everyday. I take advantage of each and every one that I am given.
We are all individuals and we thereby make decisions based upon our own experiences and needs. Our desires to do the best for ourselves and our children. We all have our own endeavors that we enjoy... hobbies or past times that provide us with a means to relieve stress or rejuvenate our bodies and spirits. These avenues of diversion are what make us unique and interesting as individuals. It is, in part, who we are and is extremely important in order to maintain a whole, healthy individual.
I have learned over the years that running provides me with everything I need to be a good mom. It is my outlet when I am frustrated or angry. I hold nothing back. In return, it gives me energy and provides me strength. Running keeps me grounded. It rejuvenates my soul.