As I'm rushing through life trying desperately to be the best version of myself on every front I realize the constant hurry is ensuring I am not the best version of myself right now. My friends who have children tell me that it takes a while to adjust, and after seven months I'm still not sure I totally have. I feel unfocused in a lot of ways. Work is hectic (by my own doing), but there are days where I feel like the task list is insurmountable. My running lacks motivation, I barely have time to see my friends and I feel like I'm behind on every single house project on the list. I realize the expectations I have for myself are grand, but that doesn't make me happier to know I'm not meeting them. I feel...somehow disconnected. It's like I'm going through the motions, but it's not the level of excellence I've come to expect from myself. That's very hard to admit.
I have tried my hardest to be present with my son. I know this time is going to fly by, and I want to remember it. I want to harness every snuggle and smile and open mouthed drooly baby kiss and save it to pull out of my memory bank and treasure when he's a teenager. I'm blessed with a very supportive husband who encourages me to travel for work and do activities that are important for me like running. He kicks me out the door to do a long run when I'm struggling to leave Will on the weekends. When I call home from a work trip feeling sad that I'm not with the baby, he reminds me that Will is going to appreciate me more because I'm a strong, independent mom. He's going to like me more because I'll like myself more.
Despite that reassurance I feel like I'm rushing through the rest of my life other than motherhood. It's a mad dash to be good at my job, fit in solid training runs, remember to call and be a supportive friend, send birthday cards, shop for groceries and all of the little tasks life demands. I could let the small things go, but that's not in my nature. It's my nature to keep up with everything all the time beautifully. That is a challenge.
This week I'm in northern Michigan for work meetings. My passion is ignited by innovative communities. Seeing crowded downtown streets in Boyne City and Traverse City sparks my community ardor. It reminds me why I love what I do and why I love great places. It's invigorating.
I've spent time with community leaders and my phenomenal colleagues. This morning I ran to the top of the ski hill at Boyne Mountain resort and marveled at the beautiful view as I sought desperately to catch my breath. I feel refreshed, yet the entire time I feel stressed for not being with my family. My husband finds this annoying as if I don't have confidence in him to handle things while I'm away. He's an amazing dad, and I know everything is fine in his more than capable hands. But I'm missing snuggles and baby kisses. I'm praying that my son holds off on crawling until I return tomorrow. My heart is torn between being professional, charming me and being mom. I know I can be both, but I have not yet mastered the art of being in two places at once.
|Mobile office on my hotel balcony in Traverse City|
|Meanwhile I'm missing this preciousness.|
The mommy guilt is real, but it's different than I thought it would be. I worried that it would come from some sort of outside/peer pressure, but I honestly and truly do not care what anyone else thinks of how I'm handling it (other than my husband and son obviously). I incite peer pressure; I don't response to it. I only care about my own impression of how I'm handling the lofty expectations I have for myself. Am I doing enough? Am I being enough? At home? At work? For my friends? I am not sure it's possible to have it all with my high expectations, but I've got to figure out the balance.
This is why I run - to work through the thoughts tumbling through my head. This morning on the top of the ski hill I felt still. My mind felt quiet for the first time in days. As soon as I got to the bottom and stopped running the clutter was back in my brain, but for those brief moments of running (maybe 20 minutes) I was totally at peace. Maybe that's all it takes - a few minutes of peace every day to refocus and remember what's important. Maybe I'll find that running or sitting on the porch with a glass of wine. Maybe I'll find it in a beautiful new dress or an ice cream cone. I'm really not sure it's possible to have it all, but I'm not sure I'm ready to let the dream go. I just have to remember to slow down every now and again. The hurry will still be there in 20 minutes.
|Learning to be still.|