After more than five months of daily running — and blogging — lately I feel like I’ve hit a wall.
I’ve hit one before (OK, maybe more than one), but these last couple of weeks feel different. My work self has been fighting to find its comfort zone in a new role, while my family self feels so stretched and misshapen, I can’t imagine it will fit the same way it did before. I think that’s the thing about being a mama: You are constantly morphing to fit the changing needs of your babies.
My newly turned 7-year-old girl is proof that the night-time routine my husband and I have prided ourselves on for years (It’s like clockwork!), only works if the child doesn’t understand free will. And therein lies the rub. She’s seven. She wants to stay up late. Her friends do it. Why can’t she do it? They watch shows and run free in their neighborhoods with seemingly no adult oversight. We are lucky: She wants to stay up and read.
And now that the days are longer, it’s still light out at 8 p.m., when I used to be kissing her good night. But I want to see her chasing fireflies and swatting mosquitos. My struggle is that 8 p.m. is my running time during the week. If I’m not putting my girls to bed on time, then I find myself stressing over starting my run too late. And summertime is not about me. Summertime is about them: Fireflies, staying up a tad too late, mid-week movie nights, reading by flashlight under the sheets, staying at the pool for an extra half hour, grilling everything, dinners on the deck, skipping bath time, and a few impromptu trips to the frozen yogurt shop a little too close to bedtime.
That’s what I’m struggling with: How to balance this new routine — seasonal, yet also brought on by my growing kids — while trying to make it daily?
I guess it all boils down to not feeling one bit balanced in the last couple of weeks. I’m fighting the fact that I’m clinging to a routine that has done me well for seven years, when it’s time to let go. It’s time to find a new way to make it daily. Because when we spot that first firefly of the season, I’m not going to ignore it just because I want to get everyone corralled under their sheets quickly so I can run.
I’ve been fighting this, but it’s time to change my routine. I need to find a new of way of making it daily. I think it will be getting up during the 4 a.m. hour to run every other day (those are the days when I’ll put the girls to bed) and still run in the evenings on the nights I don’t put them to bed. I will need to force myself into an earlier bedtime (not a hard sell, as my husband will attest). But it also might be figuring out how to run during my lunch hour, and still be presentable for an afternoon meeting (Yes, I require a little primping). Finally, it might be that I run when I get home, just to extend that bedtime out a tad more — so I get my daily run in, and my girls and I get to enjoy our summer nights.
Watch out, fireflies!