Monday, April 25, 2011

Why I Don't Wear Gym Clothes To School - By Crumbs

I'm jobless.  Well, not exactly, I'm raising my boys, blah, blah, blah..(which if I were a paid nanny, I'd totally be fired for being lazy).  I coast at my "job."  The first thing I think of is "how can I get coffee into me faster" and then I think "I wish I could go for a run right now all alone without having to do anything for anyone else."  And then, even though I LOVE my kids immensely, I'm always plotting ways to get away from them or to get them to take naps or go to bed.  It's like a habit now, an artful balance between keeping everyone going with the least amount of work required.  Having relatively low standards is helpful.  I can go to bed with dishes in the sink...and on the dining room table.

Honestly, I know I'm amazingly privileged.  How many people wish they didn't have to work and could spend time doing the things they love, playing with their kids or doing nothing at all but surf the web?  Everyone.  Well, for a few years, I get to do that.  The price?  Being the official First Responder to 3am bedwetting and my toddler's "The Toy".  Done.  Don't get me wrong - I ADORE witnessing my youngest's exponential learning curve and being read to for the first time by my older boy.  I love the soccer games and playgrounds and easter egg hunts and rock skipping and team photos and piano practice and cuddling and all those delicious experiences mothers enjoy.  But I also love the open schedule that having 1 in Kindergarten and 1 who naps allows.  Could I better use my time? Absolutely!  But then I might miss out on this precious time to do nothing in the middle of the day - when no one is watching or waiting; kind of like at college. I know it won't be forever...just when they are young.  Supposed to graduate sometime, right?

Like when my eldest was 4, I went back to work.   I baked in a cupcake shop, waking up at absurd hours so I could be home by 1 to pick him up from preschool and enjoy the day with him.  I'd like to say it was hard to get back into the demand of work & home, but it wasn't.  I was ready to be productive again- and have an excuse not to spend 12 hours a day with my boy (it's true! absence DOES make the heart grow fonder).  But then after several months, what I thought was impossible, happened: I got pregnant again.  Not only did my energy drop from 60 to nothing in 3 seconds, but I threw up so much, it made me stupid.  I'm pretty sure my ability to count without using my fingers got flushed down the bakery toilet. I was fired for being an inept employee.  Totally. Deserved.  (but the 1st trimester's fault).  And then the Stay-at-Home-Mom cycle re-started, which is super cool.

But I know it's an indulgence I can enjoy for just another wee chunk of time.  What do they say about if you want something done, give it to a busy woman?  Yeah, don't give it to me.  It's not going to happen.  If I'm not on a run at the Y, them I'm sitting in my stinky clothes checking my facebook page (friend of a friend's wedding photos? don't mind if I do!)  This stay-at-home mom lifestyle is a luxury my husband has sacrificed for because he knows it's good for the kids, and lord knows, HE doesn't want to spend all day with them!

What's my point?  Despite it all, I draw the line at wearing my gym clothes to my son's school because nothing flaunts Privilege like wearing a Dri-Fit tanktop and yoga pants at drop-off.  No matter how late I might be or how disheveled,  I won't let anyone see me looking like I have plenty of time in the middle of the day to go to the gym.  Why?  I'm totally embarrassed to look unproductive AND selfish... and I fear my ostentation will goad Karma into taking it all away too soon. Regardless of convenience, no one, especially working moms and dads rushing to get their child to class AND themselves to work on time, needs to go by a  lil' pony-tailed chick in a running skirt who's 'Off For a Workout with My Trainer, Emmanuel, and then Mimosas with the Ladies at Lunch'.  Of course, that's not what happens, but I want to guarantee it doesn't look like that either.  Now, if I actually had a job with non-traditional hours and I had to s-q-e-e-z-e in a quick run at 7:30 am, perhaps I'd feel justified...but I don't, so I'm not.  I'm on a sabbatical from the hard, real world.  I don't want to rub it in.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Get Off the Road!

Disclaimer: don't try this with a newborn, but once your kids are a bit older (I'm currently running with a 2-year-old), try to go off the road!

I have developed a passion for TRAIL RUNNING and actually managed to win my age group in the EX2 Adventures Backyard Burn 10-mile Trail Running series this spring BUT I still do the large majority of my running with my daughter in a jogger. Much can be accomplished running up and down paved hills, but don't shy away from getting off the paved paths!

What are the benefits of trail running? It gets you away from traffic - both the hazards of motor vehicles and the fumes, it is so much quieter, and there is often more to look at. We pass people walking dogs, we have seen birds, ducks, geese, squirrels, storks, turtles, frogs, snakes, foxes, deer, caterpillars, butterflies, and more. The terrain can also be more exciting for your child. We do up and down and through curvy turns. The occasional bump, bump, bump is fun!

Where to go? There are, of course, a variety of levels. Here in Northern Virginia, there are SO MANY choices. Burke Lake Park, for example, is a partially paved and partially packed dirt, fairly level trail that circumnavigates the lake in a 4.5 mile loop. This is a path oft-traveled by our local See Mommy Run group. The recently renovated Cross County Trail has both paved and unpaved sections as well. Part of that trail also skirts Lake Accotink with the much-enjoyed waterfall! There is also the C&O canal and the WO&D path. Even Wakefield Park in Annandale is passable with a stroller with a little upper-body strength :) If you are feeling really adventurous, you can often follow underneath power lines and telephone lines. I'm told that the telephone lines passing next to our house go all the way to Richmond! I haven't yet brought the stroller to Fountainhead, but I'm game to try.