Friday, April 20, 2012

Mommy's Project 52:38 Emotional

I know I've been late on getting these Thursday entries in on, well, Thursdays.  I'm doing my best to get my act in gear, I promise!  I've been busy with the kids, physical therapy, and trying to be as present while I'm home as I possibly can be.  We agreed, as a family, to limit our screen time during the week, and it's been really nice to spend time together without someone's face stuck in a device or glued to a TV.

Being a mom, I've found that the highs and lows of every day life are much higher and lower than they were before I had kids.  I mean, there is nothing that can compare with the joy of seeing your child beam with pride when they master the task of putting on their own socks, or writing their name for the first time.   Conversely, what mom doesn't know the heartbreak we feel when we see our kids fall and scrape their knees, bang their head on a sharp corner, or when they are sick and miserable.  We can be happy, sad, angry, and frustrated all in one moment when it comes to being a mom.  Talk about being pulled in a million directions, literally!

I sort of expected to be more emotional after having kids, especially in those first few months as my body and mind adjusted to being a mother.  I figured that I had laid the foundation for moodiness with the help of PMS, and to be honest, the first few months after the kids arrived were just like prolonged states of PMS.  Post partum life added an extra layer to the whole mess by adding lack of sleep, which messes with one's head in it's own unique way.

After compounding the peaks and valleys of motherhood over a few years, I found myself in need of a release, a way to find my identity.  That is when I turned to running.  I still am not a huge distance runner, and in some ways that's a good thing.  I fear that once I'm able to run 80 miles, I might just run those 80 miles away from home and never go back!  OK not really, but running is one of the ways I get away from the madness at home, and there are times when running and not stopping is really a tempting idea.  Come on, who hasn't wanted to run away from home once in a while?

 One of the results of running I wasn't expecting was the leveling out of my moods, and an increase in my ability to face challenging situations with a level head.  Don't get me wrong, I yell, and I'm not ashamed to admit that.  After a good run, though, I truly feel like I can do anything, and I don't dread the day ahead of me.  I walk in the door and am ready to tackle the whining, demands, and high level of energy that the kids throw my way.  The biggest thing is that it doesn't defeat me like it used to.

Something that took me entirely by surprise was the range of feelings and emotions I felt during my first half marathon.  Overall, I was thrilled as I ran the whole 13.1 miles, and at the end I broke down in tears of joy.  I didn't know what was happening to me, but, I cried as I absorbed the last two hours and what I'd just done.  It was crazy!  I was happy, sore, and surprised all at the same time, and it literally brought me to tears!

All of this isn't to say that I'm all smiles and giggles all the time.  I am subject to road rage, ire, and simple frustration.  I have a hot temper, to say the least.  Unfortunately, you don't want to be on the receiving end when something gets me angry.  I am a mixture of extremes.  I've learned over the years how to manage those extremes, though, through being mindful of situations and remembering the one thing that has stuck in my mind since I heard it first -

You can't control what others do or say, you can only control your own reactions.