When I’m finished training, I often think, then I’ll have time to do other things. Things I’ve been meaning to do, wanting to do. Things like be a better neighbor. Help my friends. Finish some projects. Create. Give.
And then I noticed a friend of mine. She’s in school. Has three kids. Works a couple of times a month. Volunteers at her daughter’s school. Takes her turn teaching her other daughter’s pre-school. Bakes and cooks like a dream. Designs and experiments with fashion and fabric. And is constantly, incessantly, tirelessly making, giving, serving, thinking of others. It boggles my mind. I can’t fathom it. I tried to do the math to figure out how she can divide her time and energy and resources in such a way that she can possibly have a moment to even set her foot outside the door, let alone the strength (and extra arms) needed to carry a gourmet dinner over to the neighbor who just had a baby.
When I was in school, with just one little munchkin, I did nothing but school. It was my reason (and excuse) for everything. I can’t, I’m in school. I can’t, I have reporting to do. I can’t, I have to write something. At the time, I thought I was totally justified. And maybe I was. But I’m seeing things differently now, and I’m realizing that I can’t, I’m training for a race, isn’t a very good reason to deprive my children of the opportunity to be a part of the community. Or for me to deprive myself of the opportunity to show them how it’s done. I’m pretty sure that’s a big reason my friend is able to “find the time” to do all that she does: she wants to set an example for her children. (She’s setting a pretty amazing example to me while she’s at it.)
I think it would be cool if, in 30 years, my boys were running races, training well, taking care of their bodies and challenging themselves physically. But I think it would show a failure on my part if that was all they did. If someone were to ask them, “What is your mom like?” I hope they could honestly say, “My mom is very giving. She’s always thinking of others and trying to find ways to help them.” (It would be cool if, as an addendum, they could also say, “And she still runs races with my dad several times a year,” but I digress.)
So I’m trying harder to be that mom. I’m trying to change my habits and my mindset. I’m re-examining my priorities and my time management and my energy level. I know I have more to give, and it’s not doing anybody any good for me to sit on it until I finish running. I hope to run all my life. So I’d better learn to give (and write, and bake, and shower, and clean, and smile, and live) and run at the same time.