Ok, I am hoping this post will be less controversial than my last post...
As much as I love being a Mama to my three little ones, and everything about this role I have in life - it is exhausting! K's teacher once asked me in all seriousness - what am I doing for myself every day? She reminded me that I need that balance. I put all of myself into my children and I wouldn't have it any other way but in order to be able to do this I need something of my own to keep me going. Actually, some things...
There is, of course, my nightly rhythm of posting on the blog and knitting (sometimes sewing). My blog posts help me to digest and reflect upon our days. It's therapeutic, like journaling. Knitting helps to keep me calm and focused, not to mention sane. I will occasionally knit during the day, as well, but since Baby L started teething that hasn't been happening quite as often as I would like. Um, I do however knit while walking into school to pick K up, and in the van at the gas station...any free moment I can find (obsessed much?). I try to at least do a few stitches every night before bed to prepare my mind for the transition to sleep.
The biggest thing I need to keep myself going is my morning run. I have been into running on and off since my early twenties. My best memories of running are from when I lived in California. I used to run the trails in the mountains (often times with the little boy I nannied on my back) or along side the ocean. I trained for triathlons with my friends Wilson and Maloose. Such great, great times. I never did enter a triathlon, but I do still have that dream. My goal was to complete an Ironman race (Ha!), but as my body is getting older, I will be happy finishing any triathlon.
It wasn't until last summer that I really started to take running more seriously. My friend Marina helped with that motivation, she is always such an inspiration. I started out doing it to lose my baby weight and to get back in enough shape to keep up with my little ones but then I noticed a change in me. I was different. My spirits we lifted and I would feel at peace and optimistic no matter what the day threw at me. The days I would run were the days I was able to allow myself to be more present with my children. They were the days I could make lists and actually complete the things on those lists. Oh yes, the simple act of waking up and putting on my running shoes changed everything for me (and I am not even a morning person!).
It is a form of meditation. I no longer run for weight loss or for my physical health (although those things are a big plus!), but for the rhythm of it and my mental well being. My morning run is like a morning cup of coffee. It's what I need to start my day. If I do not get that start, I just can not function throughout the day. I become irritable, have little patience, can't think straight nor function properly.
This may sound strange but I run in a cemetery by our house. It's the only area within walking distance that has semi-flat roads on our mountain. I felt uneasy about it at first (and my childhood fears will probably keep me from running there Halloween morning), but now I am grateful for it. It makes my mind slow down as I run and reminds me to savor every breathe I take while I am on this earth. Some days I am deep in thought as I run and then other days I am motivated by music (I had to break out some Smashing Pumpkins this week thanks to my friend sending me this picture).
I have mentioned before that I can be a bit of an extremist and that includes my running, too. I am only at about 3 miles a day but I have to do it 6 days a week. If I take days off I fall back into my slump and actually have a hard time getting back into running the next day I try to. On the other hand, if I don't take one day off a week I feel my body become tired and sore and then I start to make excuses in my head to not run, resulting in me missing days at a time. It's all about balance and what I personally need.
During the summer keeping up with my running rhythm was easy. Kevin would wake me up at about 6:30 every day and I would run while the children slept and come back just before he left for work. When school began my rhythm was thrown off. The girls wake up at 6:30 on school days and I have a busy morning preparing us all to get out the door. Not to mention that autumn was on it's way and father sun was waking up later and later each morning. I missed many, many days of running in September, October too. Missing those runs caused my days to be off. I was late getting K to school pretty much every single day, and I needed at least two cups of coffee to keep myself going. You can imagine how quickly I wore myself down.
Then, a couple of weeks ago, Kevin and I adjusted our morning schedules and I got my morning run back. I am as happy as can be and so ready to take on my days. It is a bit of an adjustment waking at 5:30 and running in pitch blackness but it's worth it. (I do need to look into some reflection gear, though.) My faithful running partner Nara is by my side to keep me going and for my protection, so I feel safe. It does take me a lap or so to let my eyes adjust and not fear tripping but then after that it's smooth sailing.
I run my laps and come back home to shower. I feel full and ready for the day. I enter my girls' room and, for a moment, observe their sweet, blissful sleep before waking them. They open their sleepy eyes and smile at me. I melt and feel such comfort in knowing that the rest of the day I am theirs.
Please remember - this is just our family rhythm and what works for us at the moment. This isn't meant to be hard and fast rules on how rhythm should go in every one or any one's homes. I just thought to share it because I receive quite a few e-mails asking about our home rhythm, and I also just wanted it documented for myself so that I may remember these times when they are older and/or on to another rhythm.
Thank you, again, for joining me in the rhythm fun! Here is the linky list. If you have a (new or old) link you would like to share about your family rhythm, please enter it below so that we all may see. Then please link back here in your post. I look forward to seeing your inspiration!