Why I Run

The last few months I have felt like I'm hanging on by a thread. I'm only "kind of" a good mom.  I'm only "kind of" a good wife. I'm only "kind of" good at my job.  I'm only a mediocre friend, sister, daughter, granddaughter. I suppose this is a normal way of thinking for a mom? I feel like I am spread so thin lately and I can't do anything "well" in my life.

Except for running. 

Running was my salvation in 2004. I was separated from Jason, living at home again and had all the time in the world on my hands.  I don't even remember why I made this decision, but in some stroke of brilliance I decided I needed to run a marathon.  And I did.  Let me say that before this the most I had ever ran was 1 mile.  1! Before my wedding to Jason I would wake up a few days a week and run a mile in the morning before work.  Ha.  I totally thought I was awesome and in shape.  Of course at 21 I guess that's all I really needed to stay skinny.  When I ran the St. George marathon I desperately needed a distraction. I needed something besides my divorce to focus on.  So I started running.  I started by running laps on the track at Cottonwood High School (something I wouldn't be caught dead doing now).  I remember using my fingers to keep track of how many laps I ran. I remember the first time I ran 5 miles without stopping and feeling like a million bucks.  I laugh because looking back I used to run in cotton t-shirts. White cotton socks (that probably went mid-calf) and cotton shorts.  I assume I wore Nike or New Balance shoes.  I didn't know what I was doing.



At that time my whole life revolved around the marathon. I started dating Seth and kept it up. My friends used to get together every Wednesday night for "nacho night" and I used to run to Britney and Sean's house. I remember going home early on a Friday night because I had to run 17 miles the next day. I pretty much only ran long distances on the Jordan River Parkway, something I would NEVER do now.  It didn't take long to realize that I wasn't a good runner.  I had poor form, I had bad knees and my actual marathon was miserable.  But I did it. I finished and I felt a huge sense of accomplishment.  However, the entire time I was running that marathon I just told myself over and over, "Just 10 more miles and you never have to run again in your life.  Just 5 more miles and you never have to run again in your life..."

I hated it.  I really did.  But it was good for me at the time and I'm glad I did it.  I also swore I would never run another marathon again.  


It took me less than a year to sign up for another event.  Something small called the Wasatch Back Relay - which at the time was about 19 teams.  I helped with some of the initial planning and ran with friends for 4 years in a row - while raising money for The Christmas Box House.  Then the event got too big and too annoying so I stopped.  I didn't love the running but I loved the experience so I stuck with it.  Oh and this team won the "favorite team" award that year.  We were "Superheroes for Kids".


Since I married Seth I have continued running but nothing serious. I got into biking, yoga and swimming but still ran fairly consistently but never for another event. I never loved it.  It was just a way to stay skinny and in shape. 

And then I had a baby and everything changed.

I tried running after Millie was born and everything felt off.  My insides felt out of place. It was so hard.  For the most part I didn't run much. I would take her out in the Bob stroller a couple days a week but I never ran too much. I was just happy to be out and exercising at all. Plus I felt severely sleep deprived for a good year so waking up in the morning was never an option until she started sleeping through the night.  I decided the only way I was really going to get back into shape was to sign up for an event, so I signed up for a 1/2 marathon.  An event that wasn't crazy like a full marathon (at least in the amount of time it takes, the toll it takes on your body, etc) but an event that would still take a lot of training.  For someone who could barely eek out 3 miles, I knew I had a long way to go.



I started training in May. I told Seth that I was going to wake up 2 days a week and run before he had to leave for work at 7:30.  I also knew I would run on Mondays with Millie and then once on the weekend.  4 days to get me going again. 

I hit the ground running (ba-bump ching!)  It took me a long time to work up to running 4 miles without stopping, and then 5.  Once I hit that five mile mark I knew I was back to it.  Running once again became my salvation.  Slowly but surely those last 5-7 pounds that I tried desperately to lose went away.  That was great but honestly the way I felt emotionally was far more important to me.  I never felt the dread of "oh man tomorrow is a running day" but rather have felt "yes! I get to run tomorrow".  I wake up at 6, get dressed, put on my music and step out into the dark morning. It's meditative to me and it has been so healing. I often found myself running as the sun was rising and thinking how wonderful my life was and how happy I was.  It's funny what those little things we call "endorphins" do. 



I feel like myself again.  Or at least some version of myself that I recognize.  Rather than dreading my long weekend runs I got giddy with excitement.  It as all felt so great.  Running is my time.  It is time to myself, which as a working mom and wife I have found lacking.  I've also found that I sleep better, I am less stressed and I have less headaches.  Seriously people it's a cure-all.  There was a week during my training where I had a hurt achilles tendon and couldn't run. I felt awful. Running has become my drug of choice.


Seth has been immensely supportive through the whole process and sadly I wasn't always supportive toward him and his marathon training earlier this year.  He's been great to get up with Millie on the days I was running.  He has been great to drive me to the top of Millcreek Canyon early on Sunday morning and let me run home. I'm lucky.

I ran the 1/2 marathon on Saturday and it was amazing.  I actually cried as soon as I crossed the starting line. I was so happy to have made it there again. I was happy to be back in shape and to feel emotionally happy.  I actually found myself grinning ear to ear though pretty much the entire run. I ran faster than I expected.  




I was so excited that one of my dearest friends Laurie was in town from New York and asked if I wanted her to run the last 4 miles with me. I needed her encouragement and she helped keep me going those last couple hard miles.  After running 9 miles downhill, those flat last miles were brutal.  She pushed me through. 



I finished and had a time better than I expected.  It wasn't a marathon, it was only a 1/2 marathon but it took me a long time to get there. I was so happy to accomplish that.  I am so happy.  It feels good to be back.



So about that whole "I'll never run a marathon" thing... well I'm considering going for it again.

Go figure. 

Can We Really Have It All?

These last few months I have spent a lot of time thinking about my life.  My life as a mother.  My life as a wife.  My life as a career woman. Juggling all three of these can be exhausting.  Wonderful but exhausting. The past 18 months have been the most wonderful and also the most difficult of my life.

Millie has been lucky to have personal care and attention from so many loving caregivers. While I continued to work for KUER I knew that although she wasn't with me, she was in the hands of many great women.  My mom, my sister and Kristin (Millie calls her Kin).



Millie's schedule the last 18 months has been hectic.  And she has completely rolled with it and thrived. She is so smart, so funny and so happy.  I'm so proud of her.  However, with Kristin's school schedule and my desire to have a bit more consistency for Millie, we have decided to have her start a daycare program in a few weeks.

I'm terrified.  I'm terrified for many reasons.  How will she handle being in a new place with strangers? how will she handle taking one nap?  Will she even take a nap without being rocked?  Will the teachers know what "gimmie" or "ba-ba" means?  Will she be hysterical when I leave?  Will she pick up all sorts of bad behaviors? I know she'll be sick all the time now... the list goes on and on.  

In my mind I know that she is going to do really well.  She is incredibly social and funny.  She is always waving and saying "hallo" to people at the grocery store, library, zoo, etc. She is excited to be around other kids and truthfully I think the social interaction is going to be amazing.  I know she'll do well.  I do. 



And yet, I still feel extremely guilty.  Will that guilt ever go away? I feel guilt each day when I leave for work.  Why isn't being a stay-at-home mom enough for me? Millie is the most wonderful thing in my life and I am absolutely crazy about her. However the days I am home all day I feel a sense of restlessness, depression and boredom creeping in.  I know that going to work is the best for me.  And I have to believe that because of that it's also the best for Millie.  I believe I am a better mother because I have my life and my career outside of the home.  I think that generally I have come to terms with this.  I love what I do. I'm lucky that I am in a career field that is fulfilling and challenging.  Not many people are lucky enough to say that they are passionate about their work.  I am. I love working. Whether it's helping raise money to grant wishes, to help abused and neglected children, to advance medical research for MS or to bringing the best news/information to Utah - I love what I do.  I am fulfilled by what I do.  It's exhausting and hard and the pay has never been great.  But I do it.  



I also love my time with Millie. I love full days with her. Full days that usually include long walks, playing outside, trips to the library, LOTS of book reading, lots of loves and rocking, lots of songs and dancing.  I love her so much.



Can I really have both?  Can women really have both?  I'm convinced we can't.  And that makes me very sad.  I can't do it all. I can't be a successful nonprofit fundraiser and feel like I am doing enough as a mom.  Can I?  I see women that do it (and hopefully they will comment on this post!) Maybe my guilt level is a bit higher than most.  I don't know. Right now it just feels impossible to have it all.

Seth and I talk about this a lot.  He feels guilty that he isn't home more.  His job is incredibly demanding and he usually only sees Millie for about an hour a day. However, as gender roles have been ingrained in us, he feels that it is still his main responsibility to provide for the family.  Going to work is what he is supposed to do - or at least that is what society tells us.  I know things are changing and truthfully Seth would make a wonderful stay-at-home dad.  It just doesn't make sense to eliminate the salary that is 2x's my salary.  Gender roles make me feel like I should be home.  It's my role to be a wife, mother, chef, maid and caretaker. 



As we begin to discuss the timing of baby #2 I realize that working after may not be an option.  It was hard enough balancing work with one kid.  How would I possibly do it with two? I am not willing to put an infant into daycare and I'm not sure my family would be willing to help in the way they have helped with Millie.  I'm stumped and I'm scared.

So perhaps with the next kid I quit?  I quit working and stay home.  Everyone always says "it's just a few years.  You can make that sacrifice."  For the most part I agree.  It is just a few years.  Hopefully I will be a happy and engaged mom during those year. I think that I should be able to join the workforce again once Millie starts Kindergarten.  But what happens when she starts dance classes, or sports or music lessons?  How will I get her there?  What do I do?  Society in general just doesn't allow that much flexibility.  Being married to a PA doesn't help either.  Seth's schedule is grueling and I don't see him being able to help much in this regard. How do families do it?

I am terrified to take myself out of the workforce, even if it is just for a few years. I know how it is.  I know how it is to be hiring and seeing women that are very qualified for the position, but they haven't worked for 5-7 years. I hate to say it but I have found myself passing over those applicants. I've seen women struggling to get back into any sort of position after being a stay-at-home mom.  I feel like I have FINALLY put myself in a position that has potential to grow.  I hate to give up the place I have worked so hard and so many years to put myself in. I just wish that I could do both.  But logistically and emotionally I am not sure I can do it. 

There are so many things that scare me about baby number two but this - this feeling that I will have to take my leave - scares me the most. If I am lucky I will still be able to find a balance.  That balance will likely be more heavily focused on mom and much less focused on work. The scales will be tilted.


I hope to find a way to keep my foot in the door of my career.  I hope to find a way to feel fulfilled and less guilty. Who knows! I may be a total kick-ass stay-at-home mom. I may wonder why I ever thought going to work was a good idea.  The only way to find out is ...

One thing I do know is that I love being a mom. I love my family and the life we live. It's not remotely glamorous but it's wonderful. I'm so lucky.  


Momma Said There'd Be Days Like This

Oh hi.  Remember me?  The girl that used to blog?  I vaguely remember her as well.  Life with a kid makes every hobby I used to entertain feel like a luxury. I've finally started running again but I still haven't found my blogging groove. I've wanted to blog many times.  However I either feel like the topic I have whirling through my mind is off limits or I just don't have the energy to write.

I was going to blog last night. However after getting home from work, playing with Millie, feeding her dinner, cooking dinner for Seth and I and doing dishes AND doing a few loads of laundry...lets just say I found something else to occupy those precious 2 hours of "me time" before bed.  Ahem..



Needless to say I was too enthralled with Gossip Girl so I didn't blog last night.  The good news is after this morning I have what I think is a funny and embarrassing story to tell.

"Momma said there'd be days like this.  There'd be days like this Momma said...."

Wednesdays are my long days.  Millie goes to my sisters every Wednesday. Heather lives in Sandy so my days are a bit long driving Millie out to Sandy, then driving up to the U of U for work and then back to Sandy to pick her up and home to Millcreek.  It's a long day.  However I LOVE that she spends the day with her Auntie and cousins.  She's smitten.  They are smitten.  She is so loved there.


I'll blog more about this in a couple of weeks.  Millie has been going to my sister's every week for pretty much a year and a half.  She'll be starting Daycare in August so it's coming to an end (makes me want to cry just typing it.)

This morning I was on-time (score!) so decided after I dropped her off that I would treat myself to a little drive through coffee, which I never do.


I was driving Seth's brand new Subaru Outback because he rode his bike to work.  I love this car and the 2 hour commute felt happier and easier driving this beauty...


I wait in line behind 5 cars and slowly watch my clock tick away the minutes, realizing that this stop was going to make me late for work.  I pay for my coffee, start to pull away and notice I somehow turned on the hazard lights.

No problem Becky, turn them off.

Hmmmmmmm.....

Where the hell is the switch????

I spend a good 2 minutes looking in the car.  Can't see it.  Frustration building I pull into a parking stall and keep looking.  Still nothing.  Seriously how hard can this be!?

I decide to pull out the manual, flip to the index and sear for "emergency lights"- because hell if I could remember they are called hazards.

Surprisingly "emergency lights" are not in the index.  I flip to "lights" and search the manual.  Nothing. I can't find a freaking thing.

6 minutes or so pass and I decide to call Seth.  He doesn't answer.

I start thinking to myself, "Ok who can I call that drives an Outback?"

And the answer comes in a streak of brilliance (and fear)....


Doug Fabrizio has one.  I work with Doug.  He's Utah's public radio celebrity.  Easy on the eyes. We are friends. I have his number (for event purposes only) and have never called him.  It's 9:10 at this point so early enough that I wouldn't be stressing him out too much by calling him right before RadioWest.  So I call him.

"Hey Doug, it's Becky. I am really embarrassed to be calling you but I'm in a bit of a bind. I am driving Seth's new Outback today and I have somehow turned on the emergency lights.  I can't find the switch to turn them off for the life of me.  Can you recall where it is?"

Doug of course is completely nice, mentions he has done the same thing and proceeds to explain to me where the switch is.


Oh Lord. The giant RED BUTTON right in the middle of my dash?  You've got to be shitting me. I feel my face turn bright red. I laugh and thank Doug to which he replies, "Hey no problem I've done the same thing.  Happy to help.  You idiot."

And that my friends is how I started my Wednesday. Making a complete ass of myself.  Eh, what do you do?


Ok blogs to look for in the future (hoping if I put it in writing that I will actually follow through:

-Book reviews (I've read a ton of amazing ones lately)
-My funny Millie (documenting her hilarious personality - video heavy of course)
-Goodbye Nanny, Hello Daycare (tales of a big decision and transition)
-Mom's really can't have it all (a career and a family)
-Why I am terrified to raise a daughter (body issues, mean girls, women's rights)
-My unromantic romance (no need to explain this one)

Leave in the comment section what one you want me to write next!  Please I beg of you, hold me to this.  This whole writing thing is very therapeutic.


A Mother's Body

Disclaimer - this is a very blunt post.  May be gross for some men to read.  You have been warned.

As women we deal with more than our fair share of body issues.  Societal expectations, family expectations and personal expectations weigh heavily on us.  Constantly.  I've blogged about this before.  I was anticipating sitting down and expressing how it feels to feel inadequate about the way you look, or self conscious about the way you look on a regular basis.  Then I read that old blog and realized I have already done this.

Then I got to thinking about how things change when you become a mother. From the moment you find out you are pregnant your body begins to change.  Your boobs become bigger (much to the excitement of your partner).  You gain weight, your hips spread, your feet even change (mine grew a 1/2 a size) and of course - you grow a giant belly.  


And then the baby arrives - and with it all of the pain and tearing and stretching required to birth a child.  Soon after your milk comes in - and with that all of the engorgement, discomfort, stress of nursing and hormones that you can possibly handle.  Your stomach begins to shrink but you are left with this flabby stomach that is unrecognizable.  Your entire body looks different.  Our bodies have to heal.  They have to recover.  Trust me, it isn't pleasant.  Men have it so easy.

About 6 weeks after having a baby you hope to have the ok to exercise from your doctor.  Let me back up a bit.  Before I was pregnant working out was a huge part of my life.  In fact, I completed a triathlon while pregnant (although I didn't know it yet).  



I was running at least 5 miles, biking, swimming and doing yoga.  I loved it.  It was my stress reliever.  Exercise was my me time.  It was a very large part of who I was.  While pregnant I craved running without a belly.  I craved feeling like myself again.  I couldn't wait to be able to work out normally.  

I remember the first time I was given the ok to run I was excited.  I put on my shoes and ran about 2 blocks before stopping.  Interestingly enough it felt almost like my insides weren't where they should be.  Everything felt off. I felt like I was going to pee my pants. I had giant boobs that started leaking milk.  I felt miserable.  Forget being out of shape for not being able to have any really great cardio workouts for at least 4 months - I just felt off. I felt like I was in someone else's body.  It was depressing.

Soon after I realized that exercise wasn't in the cards for awhile. I was exhausted.  No one can prepare you for those first few months after a baby.  It's mind numbing.  You feel as if you are in some alternate reality.  Becoming a parent is hard. It's the largest adjustment imaginable (again I have blogged extensively about this).  You don't feel anything like yourself.  You yearn for some feeling of normalcy.  And it takes quite awhile to get a piece of "you" back. 



I returned to work within 6 weeks of having Millie.  My only form of exercise was taking her on walks.  I would often walk for miles after work, sometimes crying the whole way because I was so exhausted. 




However even that small amount of exercise seemed to help my spirits so I continued until it became too hot.  Working out in the morning before she woke up just wasn't an option.  She didn't start sleeping through the night until about 8 months - and even then it was rare.  I was still so tired.  Just so so tired.  Perhaps being a stay-at-home mom would have made working out easier.  Even now I find that once I get home from work, make dinner, play with Mills, bathe and feed her, do the dishes, etc. I am exhausted.  Working out is the LAST thing I want to do.  

You know what... I didn't care. I was just trying to survive.  I was just trying to adjust to my new life. Plus as a nursing momma I had to eat 2500 calories a day (holy crap - I know!)  And for ONCE in my life it was nice to pretty much eat what I wanted without guilt. Seth used to pressure me to start dieting while nursing.  He thought that "well if you get 2500 calories a day you may as well cut back. It's easier than doing it after you stop nursing."  I finally freaked out at him and told him that he can't talk about things he didn't understand.  (note: never tell a new mom how she should diet). 



I knew that I would eventually get back to it.  I knew I would get back into shape.  It just took much longer than I ever thought.  

I was within just 3 pounds of my pre-pregnancy weight within 2 weeks of having Millie. I remember I felt awesome. That certainly didn't mean that my clothes fit.  Everything was tight and my body felt - well- squishy.  That weight went up a bit after I stopped nursing but I have really stuck at about that weight.  But I have felt awful. I look at myself in the mirror and think "Wow, who is this woman?"  I'd tried dieting but it would only last a few days.  Food became a comfort on those exhausting nights. 

There is a lot of pressure to lose the baby weight.  It's infuriating.  Facebook can be your worst enemy when comparing yourself to other moms.  A recent picture I saw nearly made me cry (this is the actual picture - she reads my blog sometimes so I'll keep it anonymous - but she had her baby one week before me and man is she bad ass!)


Your spouse pressures you - maybe not consciously but it's there. I just showed my husband that picture and the reaction I got was "wow, that's pretty awesome!" (insert even worse feelings of guilt) But it does get to a point when "you just had a baby - it's ok" no longer qualifies. 

On Easter I decided enough is enough. I was going to do this. I was tired of feeling crappy. I knew my energy would increase if I found time to exercise. I knew I would feel all around better.

And here I am, 3 weeks into my diet and over 6 pounds down.  I'm sticking to a measly 1200 calories a day. Before Millie when I would diet, I would exercise every day.  Because then I could get some more calories added to my day.  Sometimes that just doesn't happen. I'm lucky if I get in 3-4 days of exercising a week.  It is working though.  I do feel better. I feel hopeful. I hope that in a month or so I will be at a weight where I am comfortable. I know I'll never look great in a bikini again. I just want to feel fit and toned again.  Kinda like I was in this random picture I use for inspiration.



  And I am going to try to force myself NOT to eat some of that amazing frozen cookie dough in my freezer, because I know stepping on that scale in the morning and seeing a loss will be far sweeter!



However I'll never look the same.  Trust me, this belly is not the same.  These boobs are not the same.  My hips are not the same.  My arms and back are not the same.  But I'll live with it.  I sacrificed a lot for my baby girl.  And she's worth it.  Man I love her.  



One!

Our Millie is already a year old.  I can hardly believe that she has already been in our lives for a year!  She has grown from this -

 To this -


Millie came to us as a completely helpless infant and is now a walking, talking, sassing, laughing little toddler.  We are smitten by her. 

I have been thinking a lot about the last year lately. It seems like that first year is just full of adjusting to life with a child.  Life changes completely and you can never fully prepare yourself for that change.  It comes in completely and takes your breath away.  Life is no longer about you, your happiness, your wants and needs. Your life now becomes this child. Your life becomes focused on ounces of milk consumed, numbers of diapers changed, how many naps the baby has had, how much sleep you are lacking.  For a couple that started having children later than most I admit the change was tough. It still is in a lot of ways.  

What I have noticed is that life is no longer about adjusting to Millie.  Our life is Millie and honestly we wouldn't want it any other way.  It no longer feels weird to be in the for the night at 7:00pm.  In fact, it feels weird to LEAVE after 7:00pm. It no longer feels weird to be awake at 6:30am on the weekends.  It no longer feels weird to not be going to dinner, movies over over to a friend's house whenever we like.  Being home feels normal.  Going to bed early feels normal.  Speeding home from work to see her is the new norm, not leaving work at my leisure, heading to the gym, running errands and making it home whenever I like.  Weekends are now based on activities for Millie (with her 2 naps times contained) - not based on sleeping in, reading, cleaning and going out. We know that walking out of the door requires a lot more effort now.  We expect to be late.  We expect to forget things.  That's our life now.

Our life is full of more love than we ever thought possible.  From those first early morning coos and jabbering we hear from her room our hearts burst.  Millie's screams of joy from her crib as we walk in each morning are enough to bring a smile to our tired faces. We are so in love with our daughter.  We love watching her explore this world. 




We love that everything makes her excited - including digging through our night stands to play with a lock, chapstick or earphones - and standing at the washer completely fascinated by the spinning machine. We love the kisses (or boppos as we call them) and the quick hugs.  We love playing "sack of potatoes" on the bed. 



We love the "no no no's" we hear about 100 times a day.  We love watching her run and walk around the house.  We love watching her pull tupperware out of the cabinet and promptly run to the fireplace and throw it inside. We love that she tells us when she is pooping by making farting noises. We love that she drives us crazy throwing food on the floor.  We love that in quiet moments we find her reading on the floor in her bedroom.  We love her animal noises and the fact that she barks every time she sees a dog.  We hurt a little leaving her each morning but we love knowing that she is being loved by so many close to us.  We love coming home to her dimpled smile and throat clearing noises of joy.  We love play time, story time and bath time routines. We love her splashing - and soaking our kitchen.We love that she coos herself to sleep.  


We love building forts in our bed together.


Man, we just love this girl!  She's our everything.  





video


I wanted Millie's first birthday party to be special.  I'm a bit of an overachiever so of course it was a bit over the top.  I'm happy with the way it turned out.  Millie's party was just a few days before Valentine's Day so I wanted to do a Valentine-themed party.  Here was her invite:


I spent a lot of time prepping for the weeks leading up. I wanted lots of heart decorations and I am happy with the way it all turned out.






I loved having her 12 monthly pictures posted.  It was great seeing how she has grown and changed this year.  



When I was about 7 I asked for a mailbox for Christmas.  I found it in my old toy box at my mom's house and decided to use it.  I had people write Millie birthday wishes.  We saved her wishes and loved reading through theme.  Some of my favorite wishes included "a puppy" and "a baby brother!"

We had a heart shaped cake baked for her and she loved it!



We had about 30 family and friends at her party.  What a loved little girl she is.








The party was a huge success.  She got lots of great gifts, we ate good food, we watched a video I made of her first year, etc.  All in all a great day.  A great year.  A great little girl!