Friday, January 28, 2011

One reason...

I'm a mother to three. Three fantastic little children. I adore them. I am proud of them. I am very very grateful to have them in my life. Not everyone gets the chance to be a Mom. I know this and I feel lucky that life has gone my way and I'm a mother to three healthy children. They are kind, thoughtful, well behaved and funny.
They do really well in school. Other people tell me how well mannered they are. I know I must be donig something right.
Despite all this goodness, some days I feel like I am floundering around without a clue how to Mothers these boys.
It is overwhelming at times and also, scary.
Some moments, I feel like I fail them. Many days, I feel unable to solve the problems around me. Each day is almost like an experiment. "Let's see if this works..."
Sometimes it does. And sometimes it doesn't. And I don't always know why.
As Mom, and the one who is with the boys more hours of the day, I tend to feel like the 'bad guy.' After all, I'm the one who gets mad when wet towels are left on the floor. I get ugly when the same child leaves all his clothes on the end of his bed day after day after day. I am incredulous that they are unable to turn off their lights, flush the toilets, put the seats up to avoid making a mess for the next person. Most of all, I can't stand it when they bicker and fight with each other.
Deep down, I know I am just doing my best to teach them. To help them.

I feel like the same little battles are fought day after day after day after day after day after day. It may never end. I may never succeed. That's what I feel like. No matter how hard I try to remain patient, or calm, nothing works. I try new methods and revist old methods. Nothing.
I am spoiled with sweet snuggly hugs and I-love-you-Mommy kisses at night. My recovery drink. They are charming and loving and that is my daily boost.

However, I feel like a lost soul trying to figure out how to do something nobody ever taught me how to do. I am a girl with three boys. Now that they're not babies, I feel out of my league.

I've alluded to the many reasons I continue to fill my days with workouts. Why I keep training. Why I race.

While I think I might, in the big picture, be 'succeeding' as a Mom, on the day to day level I often feel a failure. I feel lost. I feel like I'm wandering around without an organized training plan!

My sport squashes that distressful feeling. I feel successful and capable and strong when I am training. I never forget how to swim. I can run right out the door on a moment's notice. I don't talk back with myself. I don't have fights with anyone about my schedule. I don't push anyone over "by mistake." I do what I am asked to do. That feels good. It fills my needs. My raw need to feel good about what I am doing in life. To feel like I know what I am doing.
That's It!
I figured it out by writing it down.
I know what I'm doing when I train and race. I understand it. I may not always do it well. But I try! In fact, just today, I failed. I couldn't do what was asked of me. However, I know Why I failed. I understand it. And, I am confident I will do better next time.

I don't think I feel the same confidence with motherhood. The stakes are too high. I'm molding little people after all!! It's a massive responsibility.

My training and racing are for me. That's it. If I succeed in my goals, I feel great inside and am lucky to share that excitement with those close to me who understand. With those who support me and know how much it means to me. If I fail, I need to reach deep inside and deal with it. The consequences end there. I haven't missed an opportunity to teach a person right from wrong. I haven't said words that I'll regret in 15 years.

If a day comes my way that is sprinkled with personal frustration as a Mom trying to figure things out, I can still run 10 miles hitting whatever pace I set out to hit, and call it good. My psyche intact, I hammer on with the rest of things.

I don't think I ever viewed it this way before.

Simply put, my training hours are the hours of my day that I feel truly confident in what I am doing. That, gives me peace. It's my peaceful, uncomplicated, conflict-free place.

My role as Mom is way more complicated. It's a million times more difficult. And it's the Most important thing I'll ever do.


Adrienne said...

I just became a mother a week ago (to a boy) and I am already starting to get this. My newborn is so good so far (knock on wood!!!!) but I want the normalcy of my workouts back in my day. I am not sure if I am doing everything right with him, and I wish I was ready to resume training to know that I am doing everything right with me.

Running and living said...

I like the analogy with training. Training and parenting are alike. Some days are easy, others are hard, and, at least for me, I don't always know why I had a bad run, or what is the perfect thing to say when my son asks complicated questions about Santa. But one thing I know, (and it is backed up by research) - I only need to be "good enough" for my son to become the best person he can become. Everytime I am imperfect, I model that it is OK to be imperfect, and we both learn along the way!

Christi said...

My best friend and I were just having this conversation an hour ago. My workouts are mine and they are what I can control and that keeps me sane to do all the other things in my life, like being the mother of a stubborn 19 year boy!

Anonymous said...

That's why these are lessons. If we knew everything in advance, we wouldn't need to learn anything and how would we grow?

Faith sister, have faith!

Anonymous said...

I'm not a mother so I can't personally relate, but I am reminded of a book I read recently called "The Blank Slate." Essentially it's an exploration of why we are the way we are, and the authors posit (citing numerous examples of studies like twins separated at birth) that who we are is 80% genetics and only 20% how we're raised. So if that's right, then some burden is lifted off of your parenting skills, right? They are entirely their own little people, and you can only influence to a minor extent. It certainly doesn't remove parental responsibilities, but I think it should lift a bit of the fear of failure. They'll turn out how they'll turn out. Not sure if that helps any :-) but thought I'd share!

donna furse said...

Gosh I know how you feel, sometimes I am just at a loss as to what to do for them, or how to change some of their behaviors, I think being a mom is the hardest job I'll ever have. Thanks for being so honest about being a mom, I'm glad I'm not the only one that thinks its hard.

On another completely different note, which course do you think is harder, Mooseman with the new bike route or the Rev 3 you did last year, just trying to finalize my June race schedule.

The Miller Family said...

I get this...and mine are only 5,3 and 8 months.

I think it is hard because it NEVER ends...parenting is a lifelong commitment. Sure there are down times and recovery weeks but it is forever, and for me seeing success right now is HARD.

Good parents worry, they worry about the most important job they have and doing right by their kids.

You seem to have created a balance to manage the stress raising a family...Kudos...

Ange said...

Thanks for all the support you guys. It means a lot.
Donna-- The Mooseman course was changed since the last time I did it. However, the run is the same as it used to be. Based on that, I would definitely say that Rev3 in CT was harder. Hands down. The Moose bike is tough for sure. The old Moose bike vs the Rev3 bike--- Rev3 is hillier I think. I hear the new Moose has a nasty new hill though.
The moose run is very fair. Out and back x 2 with a few climbs but they're very very reasonable. REv3 run is NASTY! It is insane and absurd in my opinion. Very very hard with the hills there. (and, I live in a mountainous region so I am all I train on is hills. I still thought it was brutal. )

JenniferLeah said...

What an interesting corrolation between parenting and training - I think we ALL feel like we are floundering as parents some days though. It's the hardest job ever!!

Just want to say you are an amazing athlete and finding balance with your training/racing and being a Mom and wife is admirable!!

TriGirl Kate O said...

I hate the bickering! As the kids get older, it gets louder, more sarcastic, and just hurtful. Yuck. I look at #1 son (12 years older than Maddy, 14 yrs older than Joey) and say, "Aren't you glad you didn't have a bothersome sibling?!" But we know life is better with siblings. Deep down they love eachother unconditionally.

You are right--training and racing are our escape and control. Either that or we'll have to become alcoholics! Ha!

Jennifer Harrison said...

This is great, Ange. I hate the bickering too and it happens here a lot. I think one of the challenges we all face is for training we can plow right thru it - we are in control of how we train, recover, eat, drink...but w/ the kids...we are truly not in control of their personalities. I have 2 way different kids and while they are both super - they pose different challenges for me in trying to raise them. My biggest fear in life is DEFINITELY not raising responsible members/people of their community and not having a passion in life that makes them happy.

And, you truly learn a ton about yourself when you raise kids....I am not the most patient person and I have come to realize (as i get older too) that I am not the most gentle mom....very HTFU - which serves me as an athlete/coach well but sometimes not always a good mom. Tough for me to balance all of that.......

Kona Shelley said...

You seem so mentally do you do it? What's the secrets?

DRog said...

I liked this:
"My recovery drink"

I am a Dad to three girls ages 8 and twin 5 year olds. I already have these feelings, I can only imagine:-)

I am happier when I train and race...5 years ago I didnt train or race and I was easily the most miserable I have been in my life.

I am happy now, and feel like I show up better as a parent when I have consistent training happening...


Mary IronMatron said...

Well yes, it is the most important job you'll do. That is pretty clear to me right now, especially.

You are such a good mom, Ange. Your boys are AWESOME. I adore them--everyone adores them! They are such great kids! Partly it's good genes... and a lot of it is your parenting--especially the attention and focus you give to them.
and yep about training. It is definitely less complicated! And that feels so good...

ParrisHouse1818 said...

OK, I have sooooo been there as a Mom, and there is so much in my mind right now that I'd like to tell you but it would take up pages. Maybe we should do lunch and talk about just this topic, although rest assured that you're a GREAT Mom. If I had to choose one thing to say about this though it would be this: just don't try to control it all in parenting - don't sweat the small stuff - let go as much as you can stand to. This has worked really well with our four boys - two of whom, as you know, are essentially adults now. I was just like what you are describing with my oldest, and to some extent while they were all young, nd over time - perhaps by necessity! - I settled down to a more relaxed state of parenthood. It works! Those towels on the floor, messy clothes on the bed and gross toilets (oh yeah - I know about the gross toilets)will become things of the past whether you stress over them or not, so just try not to sweat it. Just let those boys awe you every day as they become amazing young men, because that's exactly what will happen. You'll be proud of them, and proud of yourself. It's all good. I promise!

Marisa said...


My Life and Running said...

I've yet to take on the mommy-role... a little lingering hesitation b/c I'm not confident I'd be good at that massively important role. But reading this made me think... Doing an Ironman seems impossible to a new triathlete. But if you put in the work, run/bike/swim the miles, read, study, train, it's doable. I like to think mommyhood is the same way? Not many can just jump in and immediately win the race? The journey, the daily lessons, eventually make you more "skilled" as a mom? Hang in there & thank you for sharing this great post!