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Saturday, January 27, 2018

Alone

I have said it before and I will say it again, there is nothing harder or more rewarding than parenting.

Here you are, this independent creature and then BAM! You have these little tiny versions of you, who are dependent upon you. There are no instructions, no manuals, no cheat code for this. It's raw, emotion filled, topsy-turvy, wonderful and absolutely maddening.

When I was pregnant 11 years ago, I knew I was clueless. I was young and na├»ve and really didn't have the slightest idea what being a parent would entail. I don't think I could even comprehend past diapers and breast feeding.  I read every book that I could, studies and research and all the information I could to be prepared for one of the biggest journey's of my life. None of that helped. Nothing can prepare for what life as a mom is like. I remember the day the nurse but this little guy in my arms and that was it. My heart filled up. I looked into those eyes and knew my world was no longer just my own. My purpose found me.

Skip ahead a couple years of fumbling through developmental stresses, firsts of all kinds and more love than I knew my heart could give; my second son was born. If I thought I was clueless about parenting one kid, I was oblivious to two. My world got flipped upside down. But, I went into head on and thought, I will figure this shit out as I go. I put my big girl panties on.

Now, my boys are 8 and 11 and I am still struggling. With each new age brings new challenges, new stresses but still the same me, fumbling through it all, doing my best. I know I do things to my demise. I compare myself to other parents. I refer back to parenting when I was a kid, which has changed. I realize time changes things, stuff my parents did back then is unheard of now and maybe even illegal. But, I still find myself reading studies and research and developmental books just trying to see how bad I'm messing up my kids. I wonder, will they spend years as an adult on a psychiatrist chair, talking about how their mother is the source of all their problems? Will they use me as an excuse when they are in a relationship and their partner has discovered deep seeded issues? God, I hope not. All I know is I am doing my best. I love them more than they will know, I protect them with a fierceness that's as animalistic as it gets and I do every thing with their best interest at heart. I hope that's enough. I hope they will know that as they grow up. I hope they will look back and smile at the times we spent weekends discovering new cities and trying new things. I hope they will look back with joy, at the adventures we had and the lessons I taught them. I hope.

The thing is, I won't know for years to come. But, what I do know now, is I'm doing my best. God knows I make mistakes, I punish when I shouldn't or don't do quite enough when I should. I pick my battles and maybe put my foot down when it's not needed or not enough. But, I am doing my best. I get overly sensitive about my kids, I'm quick to defend and will always have their backs, and I don't always get along with their father. I'm trying. I'm far from perfect.

I do know though, there are moms out there like me. I know they struggle and feel their way blindly through this part of our journey as moms. I know they have the same worries and fears and fierceness that we all have. I know they are doing their best too. They are a part of the mom tribe. The badass, running on caffeine, always chaotic, barely have their shit together, MOM TRIBE.
We spend days obsessing over developmental stages, growing phases and stories from other moms. We are always there, thriving in the tornado that is our lives.  We are making appointments, attending PTA meetings and planning sleepovers. We are holding our shit together and reaching out to other moms who are maybe having a day that calls for a little wine. We are the finder of things, the cleaner of junk, the chef of meals, the kisser of boo boos and everything in between. We are doing it all for everyone and still showing up every day to do it again. We have our own shit going on but still are amazing enough to deal with everyone else's too.  It does not get more badass than that.

So, Mom Tribe, I salute you. Every.Single.Fucking.Day. I salute you and I want you to know...

You are never alone.



Friday, January 19, 2018

Suffering

I listened to a podcast on my run the other day, it was this amazing woman who ran across India for a cause. She started off as a non-athlete who eventually became an ultra runner and endurance athlete. The theme of the podcast was purpose, perseverance, and the close connection that exists between passion and suffering. The magic that happens when you embrace suffering and seek the impossible. To be willing to suffer for the things you're passionate about. So that podcast led me to thinking about suffering...

Suffering shapes your perception of life.

Suffering changes your values and priorities.

Suffering gives you depth and compassion.

Suffering teaches you humility.

Suffering changes you.

The word suffering is rooted in the Latin word for passion. To genuinely love or be passionate for something is to suffer. Suffering gives meaning to your passion. It gives meaning to your life. From suffering comes growth; it's painful and messy and hard but necessary. I think there are people who avoid suffering. People who hide from suffering. I think they shy away from passion, they avoid messy. They don't want to suffer, instead they stay within the limits they already know.  But suffering is inevitable, holding on to that suffering or letting go of that suffering is the key. If you focus on the hurt and the struggle you will continue to suffer. If you focus on the lesson you are meant to learn, that's where growth happens. Seeking the impossible and not setting limits is where you find real growth.

The theme of my 30s has been discovering myself. Through this part of my life, my growing phase, I continue to reflect and learn a lot about myself. I had talked before about personal reflection and how looking inward is key to growing. Well, in the midst of that growth I have realized things about myself. I realize I overact, I'm overly sensitive and I take things too personally.  That sensitivity is a blessing and a curse. The sensitivity leads to more suffering but also more love and makes me a bit of a dreamer. I have come to realize I am some kind of deep seeded, veiled masochist. Whether that's just my nature, a learned behavior or who I've become over time; I don't know. What I do know, is in some bizarre way, I seek out suffering. The podcast really resonated with me. I am one of those people who take delight in pushing myself too far. I find joy in the heartache of life. I find contentment in pain. I think somewhere hidden in that fact is where my love of running comes from. As I get older, I look for meaning in all things. Running is no exception. Whether I seek the end result of suffering which is the ability to overcome and grow from it, or the pain itself, I don' know. I do know that connection between suffering and passion is a magically thing. So, this year like the ones before, I will sign up for more races and push myself further than I have the time before. I will seek out the suffering to find the magic in the pain. I will set big goals and strive to do things I think may be impossible and enjoy the growth that results. I will embrace my passion and suffering because nothing good gets built when life is easy.


Saturday, January 13, 2018

Marriage

The other night I was laying in bed and I had a moment of clarity. You know, those moments where you take a step back and realize how amazing your life is at this very moment in time. I'm constantly going a million miles a minute in my every day life and I rarely have those moments of reflection. 

But, when I did,  it dawned on me.  What an amazing thing I have. To live with someone every single day who I countdown the minutes until I see again. To have someone to share my bed and my embarrassing moments with. 

This is what it is to be married. 

To exchange knowing looks across a crowd full of people. To argue over how the toilet paper roll should be put on.  To learn a new recipe because I found it on her Pinterest. To wait for her before I watch the new episode on Netflix.  To stand up for her. To ask her to play with my hair. To get mad at her. For her to be annoyed with me. To see her first thing in the morning and last at night. To wonder where we are going on our next adventure. To tell her to stop being so stubborn. To miss her when I haven't talked for her entire work day. To laugh at an inside joke. To know exactly what her hand feels like in mine.  To have her as a backseat driver. To take a hot bath with her. To beg her to go to yoga with me. To feel pride when she eats all the food I have cooked. To always seek her happiness. To watch Ancient Aliens with her even though I never knew Georgio existed before her.  To have a favorite restaurant together. To throw her clothes in the laundry. To ask her to pick up water for me on her way home.  To tell her to turn off the damn alarm.  To run my fingers through her hair. To plead with her not to get mad when I do something I shouldn't. To make all big life decisions together. To put her name on all of my "emergency contact" forms. To feel her disappointment as my own. To laugh at all her jokes.  To feel safe when she is near. To adamantly deny when she is right. To beg forgiveness when I think I hurt her. To ask what she thinks of my new haircut. To wear a something because I know she likes the way it looks on me. To go hang out with her parents. To love her family as good as my own. To know her smell. To follow her around the house telling her that I am right and she is wrong. To know who her favorite actress is. To listen to her complain that I hog all the covers. To lay her towel out when we shower. To show her a new favorite song that I love. To plan our golden years together. To get mad at her for being late. To make her late.  To pick up her favorite snack at the store. To spoon in the mornings. To listen to her tell stories to your kids. To go for a run together. To tell her she's the most stubborn person I've ever met. To take her last name.  To give love. To receive love. To always be her number one priority and her mine. To be hers. 

This is what it is to be married.





Thursday, January 11, 2018

New Year's Diet



The new year is here and with it comes new diets and new workout plans. Starting a new year is a fantastic time to begin anew, make yourself and your health # 1. The only problem is it's a time when I see so many people get sucked into the fad diet trap. January 1 is here and you feel like by January 10th you should be down 20 pounds and running a marathon. Please let me be clear.... that's not going to happen!

Let me say that again, weight loss and fitness takes time. A SHIT TON of time! 

How much is a shit ton? More than some wacky diet or bizarre fitness plan. There isn't a single sustainable diet that is going to magically make you drop 50 pounds in a month, or a pill that suddenly turns your body into a fat burning machine. You know what does work? Blood, sweat and fucking tears. Waking up early, skipping a potluck to workout during work, eating the green stuff, sacrificing and then doing it all over again the next day. It's a lifestyle change. There is nothing quick about getting healthy. There is nothing easy about dropping weight. I'm going to just go ahead and say it, stop being lazy, making excuses and looking for the easy way;  just get off your ass. 


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Sorry, that was harsh but good golly it has to be said. I hate the bull shit and the industry of praying off people's desire to be skinny. There isn't an easy avenue people. I don't know how many friends and co-workers that come to me about a new diet, where you eat only peas and hot sauce for every other meal and they paid someone $500 to tell them that and it came in a fancy little binder. Well no shit, you are going to lose weight because you are going to starve. Guess what happens after that diet ends in a month? You gain it all back plus more because your body is terrified you are going to starve it again. 

Image may contain: one or more people and people standingReal weight loss comes from a lifestyle change. Skinny isn't a healthy and attainable goal for everyone. I wouldn't even define myself as skinny. I have thunder thighs, a booty and curves. I don't have a skinny bone in my body, BUT, I am healthy and let me tell you how I did it, I worked my ass off. 



Image may contain: 2 people, people standing and indoorI didn't pay $1,000 for someone to tell me to cut out whole food groups, I didn't start some insane training regimen. I started out eating more veggies. From there, I started walking during my lunch at work, then I ran. I found people who wanted the same and joined me. I joined Instagram and followed runners who inspired and motivated me. I started putting people in my life who were positive. Then, I added more veggies and water. I stopped chugging the 6 soda's a day I was drinking (and don't give me that diet soda mumbo jumbo, it's no better) and started reading nutrition labels. Not one time did I look at calories or fat grams. I looked at actual nutrition. I started consuming only things that were going to help my body and get me through my next run; which started getting longer. I pushed myself to get out there every day until I looked forward to it. I started setting goals and making more changes in my every day life. I signed up for races, I tried new foods I never had given a second chance before. Slowly, the old lazy, unhealthy and fat Heather started being forgotten. The days of McDonald's burgers were long gone and I couldn't remember the last time I even wanted one. I didn't owe some program thanks, I just used research from my handy dandy phone to figure out what was best for me. I have never stopped enjoying food, I love to eat. When I eat, it's fuel for my body. I read and watch studies and documentaries that give me nutrition for my brain, so I am educated and making educated decisions. That's how I do it. Everyone is going to have their own story and their own path. If you need a support group, join one. If you need a gym membership, do it. Joining a gym is a better splurge than your fast food budget. If you need information on nutrition go out and get it in the right places. This is your body and your life. Crappy food and laziness is not worth dying young for. 

Listen, I am up on my high horse today because I have been there. I have paid money for diet plans only to struggle and gain back every pound plus more. I have cried when I looked in the mirror. I have been there. I don't have a degree in nutrition or certified as a dietitian; I'm not a personal trainer and I don't own a gym. What I do have though is a shit ton of experience and failures. I have been there, hell sometimes I still find myself going back there in my mind. It's a lifestyle change, it's a lot of hard fucking work. It's a lot of getting off your ass and making decisions that aren't fun but it does get better. It gets easier, it gets possible. 

So, I am telling you, don't waste your time on another new years fad diet. Start with small changes, and build from there. Know that it will take time. I am here, but I have been there. Find people who support you, or if you don't know any, I am here and can share my failures and successes.