Monday, March 21, 2011

In Training

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about the titles we go by.  Daughter.  Sister.  Wife.  Mother.  Friend.  Some, we're simply born into to, and others we fight for.

Over the weekend, I wondered aloud to Mike if I could consider myself a runner.  You know, the people who can casually drop in a conversation, "Well, I'm a runner...".  The people that, before a few months ago, I would want to sucker punch right in the gut, because, really, who likes to run?  And then I did this crazy thing and signed up for a half marathon.  On Saturday, I ran twelve miles. And it wasn't terrible.  I've even made a few running friends, and we were talking about what an awesome feeling it is week after week to get up at the butt crack of dawn and then set a new personal record or run a little bit longer than you've ever gone in your life. So when Mike looked at me sideways, like, duh, I could kind of believe him, maybe I actually am a runner.

Another title that I often find myself struggling with is probably the most important - mother.  I don't mean that to sound like I'm struggling with the act of mothering Anna.  I love being a mama, more than anything I've ever done.  What I mean is that sometimes what I'm doing and the idea of motherhood I have in my head don't always match up.  Sure, I find cheerios in all my pockets, and I can change a diaper practically with my eyes closed, and I've even done that thing where I lick my thumb and then proceed to wipe something off Anna's face.  But then I spend a little time with my mother-in-law or my own mom, and I'm so in awe of all these amazing mom skills they possess that just seem so natural, and I'll think, "When will those instincts kick in for me?"

I know they have both been mamas much longer than me, but I'm not sure I'll ever get to the point where I walk into a room (ahem, my kitchen) and immediately start cleaning, wiping, or putting away.  In the past month, both my mom and mother-in-law unloaded my dishwasher.  Awesome by itself.  Even awesomer that both times there was a renegade bowl or dish that I had probably run through the cycle approximately twelve times because there was some kind of food stuck to it, and instead of doing the proper thing and washing it by hand, I would just plunk it back down and hope for the best on the next go around.  You can probably guess what those moms did, and that's exactly what I'm talking about, that mom-ness that somehow seems to escape me.

I'm working on it.  There's no training program you can sign up for, although I guess you can argue that the whole process of raising a child is one big, fat training program.  Every goodnight kiss, and sad tear wiped away, and milestone reached is bringing you one step closer to crossing that finish line.

I look forward to the day when I can easily say, "Well, I'm a mother..." and not feel like I'm totally clueless.  And hopefully along the way I'll learn a thing or two about dealing with those pesky dirty dishes.


  1. My vote is for one big fat training program. And around the time our kids grow up and leave the nest and there's not nearly as much crap to constantly clean is when you will walk into a room and start putting stuff away. That's what I'm hoping for anyways...

    And BTW you are definitely one of my Mama idols. You are such a natural you don't even know it!

  2. Of all the things a mother gives a child, the most important one is love and yours gets more of that than any child I know. As long as that is there, everything else falls into place. That means you don't have to worry.

  3. Even though I'm a mother of 3, sometimes I wonder where my mom instincts are too and I have moments of cluelessness also! (Like the night we were out to dinner at a nearly empty coney restaurant that we often frequent... Dear daughter ran straight down the aisle from our seats toward the bathroom, tripped and whacked her head on the wall....Trav was already on his way to tend to her needs by the time I said, "Oh my gosh, she just hit her head!" Yes, "Mom of the Year Award" went to me that night for my sitting in astonishment while Dad proceeded to comfort her AND carry her back to our table.) She was okay fortunately, but didn't I feel embarassed.

    We have to remember to not be too hard on ourselves though. Some days will run smoother than others. Some days I may say or do something I wish I said or did differently. And you know what, it's okay to get help from Mom or Mom-in-law because they've completed more of the child training program than us.

  4. Way to go on the half marathon training (and mom training). When is your race? I just ran 12 miles for the first time in my life today too! I'm doing a half mid May in preparation for a half ironman in July (which includes a half marathon).

    My view is that anyone can be a runner if they put in the work and commitment. I suppose the same goes for motherhood, although I have no real life experience to back that up.