How being a parent has changed me (and not)
|December 13, 2015
|Posted by Melinda under Being Mom, Uncategorized
I’m 2 months into this gig and while from experience I know that it will take me about 12-14 months to really settle into a new chapter I feel like I need to share this with you before my new normal takes over so completely that I can’t remember how it was before, which is both a pro and a con of being so very good at living in the present. 😉
How I’ve changed:
I value my job even more.
- I couldn’t wait to start work again. There’s a lot of complex psychological reasons why I really really really NEED to have a paying job in my life, but when I went back after 2 weeks I was so relieved I wanted to cry. Some people are cut out to be stay at home mom’s and some people aren’t. I am not. Now before you label me as a anti-maternal narcissistic b*tch, I need to point out something really important. Working and being away part of the time makes me value my time with Fig exponentially more and appreciate her and family life more. I don’t wish I was at home while I’m at work or vice versa so for now I probably have the right work-home balance.
I wake up and I get up on time.
- This is the BEST thing about being a parent. I no longer have to set an alarm clock and use 45 different tricks to keep me from hitting the snooze button. I WANT to get up early. I LIKE getting up early. I just forget this when I’m in bed and asleep and the alarm goes off. Now after an early morning feeding it’s really easy to just stay up if I have stuff I want to get done early. I love it.
I am better about being back from the stable or for my run when I say I’m going to be.
- The Dear husband used to roll his eyes at me and deeply sigh when I used to tell him I was just going to run to the stable “for a quick visit”. Thirty min runs would turn into hour runs as I tried to make loops out of out and backs. Now? I’m motivated to be back when I say I’m going to be back so that he continues to be willing to support my hobbies that require substantial away time. An hour twice a week at the stable does me a lot more good then 4 or 5 hours once a month.
I’m even more distractible then I used to be sometimes I don’t even finish my sentences before starting in a new one.
- This is probably a sleep debt thing.
I don’t waste as much time. At least most of the time….
- I’ve gotten so much more efficient with my time. Writing, riding, running are still unchanged priorities. Even though I feel like I’m more distractible (see above), I’m also better at corralling that impulse into defined time blocks so I don’t let whole days and hours disappear.
I’m much more committed to my runs and stable days
- Much like actually GETTING OUT OF BED IN THE MORNINGS, this is a change I’m ecstatic about. I don’t put off my riding or running days any more. I have a firm commitment on certain days of the week and as a result they happen more consistently than ever. Even if it’s raining. Even if I’m tired.
And of course, there is a lot that hasn’t changed…
- No matter what I’m doing – vet school, clinics, my job – the sleep debt is still the hardest part of it.
- I can’t nap. Go to bed early yes…day time naps no. That’s why I run marathons. Because they come with the most delicious afternoon naps.
- I still go crazy if it’s been too many days since my last run or my last ride
- I have to write everything down or I’ll forget it
- Training for endurance (running or riding) is still an art of compromise and figuring out where I can cut corners to create time and space for those activities without impacting quality of life and relationships. Fig hasn’t changed that. Right now at this stage she isn’t even the most difficult thing I’ve had to work around. She doesn’t scream she doesn’t want to go for a run when I plop her in the stroller, she sleeps a lot, there’s a treadmill in the garage, a lot of my current horse training is kid-in-a-pack friendly right now, she’s healthy (thank God), and I have stable just up the street. Endurance is the art of long-term compromise and making it work with life. Corners I’m cutting? The house is dirtier and messier, the dog gets walked less, blog posts are proof read even less than usual (which is saying something), I buy crappy produce at Winco instead of at a second grocery store, I sell less hoofboots and do less fittings, I order more stuff online. But lest you think I’m some sort of two-dimensional riding and running fiend I’ve preserved other priorities that are important to me – I cook, I read, I go on outings with friends (yes, Fig tags along), and most evenings are spent at home with my husband.
So, don’t worry if you are on the other side looking over the fence at life “after” a baby. Life is good and unchanged in all the ways that really matter.
But what if you find out that endurance/horses/running/you-name-it doesn’t matter as much “after”? Or you are on my side of the fence and things are different for you?
That’s OK too and why this post can never be a “how to do endurance and be a parent”. Either it’s a big enough priority and you can make it work with your personality and your child’s/”family’s” personality and other life choices or it isn’t and you can’t. Which is why I’m not here to “convince” you either way, only to share my experience.
The closest thing I have to advice is this:
- Don’t let someone else define your limits
- Know when to bide your time
- Make the little choices today that set you up for your dreams later