Earlier this week, I headed out for one of my usual 3-5 mile runs along the water downtown. It was a gorgeous morning, not too hot yet and relatively quiet for our little town. As I hit the place that I usually loop back to where I started, I was feeling really good and decided to keep going and head over the huge bridge here out to the beach, adding 3 miles on. I huffed and puffed up and over that bridge, enjoying the breeze and and burn in my legs. I ran 7 miles for fun. I know, I know…I run a lot and I do it because I enjoy it. But in the past, I ran in high school for a team. I did it because coach said to whether I liked it or not. I loved and hated it. When I was in college, I ran because I was neurotic and was obsessed with burning calories. When I took up running regularly again a couple of years ago, I needed to register for races to keep me motivated. I obsessed over time, pace, distance. I was training and that kept me going. For the past few months, I haven’t trained for anything. I haven’t had a coach to tell me what I was going to run today whether I like it or not. I haven’t a clue how many calories I consume or burn. And I stopped running with a watch. Now, I do it for me. I do it because it’s a beautiful day. I do it because I can and someday I won’t be able to. I do it because it feels good. I go when I feel good and I stop when I am done. It’s been really freeing.
You may have noticed I haven’t blogged in over 2 months. Apparently I don’t do well with expectations, imposed by others or by myself. I can be stubborn like that. I feel too much pressure to do something all the time and do it really amazingly or not do it at all. I guess I hit the don’t do it at all phase.
I got a job.
Every morning, I drop my kids off at school like I always have and now instead of coming home to go for a run, do laundry and mop floors or go for coffee with friends, I go to work. It has been just over a month now and I am just starting to get used to it. It’s been a really weird transition for all of us, but good weird. I feel so grateful for the years I was able to stay home with my babies and watch them grow, guide them, and savor them. Once they were in school every day this school year, I felt a sense of purpose evaporate from my being. My reasons for being home vanished. I was fortunate enough to find a perfect job for me (I’m social media girl and using my writing and photog skills) and my schedule. I quite literally work just the hours my kids are in school. It was truly a blessing when this opportunity came up and it was one I couldn’t pass on.
For the weeks since I started, I have slowly tried to find a groove. I get up earlier now so that I have time to get my kids ready and get myself ready. How easily I slipped into a life of taking my kids to school looking a bit like a raggamuffin. It has been interesting finding the right balance of household stuff and work stuff. Just this past week, I finally felt like I could breathe and really enjoy this new place I’m at in life. For a number of reasons, the first couple of weeks were tears-inducingly overwhelming. But I finally can settle in and feel like I’m doing something for me – that benefits my whole family.
But finally, I’m feeling like I can actually juggle more than one role at once. I can pack lunches, drive the mommy bus, go to work, and still find the bottom of the laundry hamper once a week. Somehow, I feel like by becoming busier outside the home, I have more time for other things as well. I know I don’t actually have any more time than I did before. I just seem to be more willing to make it. I have started running with a friend one evening a week. I find myself making more time for me and with that has come happier everybody. Funny how that works.
I know there is no job more challenging and rewarding than the one I did right here at home for 6 years. I also know that I often felt under appreciated and under valued for the job I did day in and day out. But when I see my kids blossoming at school, doing the right thing, smiling regularly and in general being people I am so proud of, it tells me that I did the most important thing I could then and I am doing something really important for all of us now, too. I know there should be no war between mommies that stay at home or go to work. I know there is no one answer except the one right way for each family. It feels good to be doing something for me that is right for our family right here and now.
I have missed being here in this space and hope that now that I can breathe a bit more, I’ll be here regularly again.