Running in your lane.

I have friends that do big things.

Like move across the world to help Iraqi refugees big.

Like being on broadway or TV shows big.

Like being the CEO of their own company big.

I LOVE getting to watch their journeys and cheer them on from afar but at times it makes me wonder what I’m doing. Because it doesn’t look big.

When I started staying home with our kids a couple of years ago it was a weird transition. I remember the first time I was filling out a form that asked for my employer’s name and I had nothing to put. I guess I’m employed by small humans that demand snacks and poop in their pants?

I know this is a limited season of life that I’ll be home with young kids. I kind of think of it as a really weird vacation. The most stressful part of my day is getting to preschool on time (not that stressful). I get to workout in the middle of the day at the gym. I take a shower after working out and change back into workout clothes because why would I wear pants that zip in my own home? It’s awesome yet strange all at the same time.

What I’ve come to realize is that this is my big thing right now. It looks way different from other people’s big things, probably because it’s covered in fecal matter and spit up.

We are all running a race and we all have a lane we are running in. Your lane may be climbing the corporate ladder, putting out a record, making the fastest PBJ sandwich ever, or getting partner at the firm.

Find your lane. Know what works in your lane. 

There are things I can’t do in my lane at the moment. There are awesome, great things I have to say “no” to because it’s not my season of life. One thing I have said “no” to is volunteering with my husband’s youth group. We have a million young kids (at least it seems like that) and it’s not the most feasible thing for me to be at every youth event. I like to think of myself as the white whale of the youth group actually. It’s ok and healthy to say “no” to things. If people don’t like your “no” tell them to step off your lane. I am thankful we are in a church that doesn’t try to tell me what should be in my lane and loves our family in the season we are in.

I’ve found my lane. It’s the loving on and playing with our young kids, working out at 10:00am, helping friends out, occasional writing, building community and supporting my husband lane.

I’m going to run like the wind in my lane. I hope you are running the race of your life in yours.

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The cons of being a former athlete.

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Sports are fantastic. They shape who you are a person, help you build character, teach you how to work as a team, and pay for college in some instances (gracias, title IX). But there are some serious downsides to once being a competitive athlete.

  1. Your body is used to working out crazy hard. So in order to stay fit you have to keep working out hard. This means that “going on a walk” will never be a workout for you. For people who have never exercised, walk it up! But not for you former athlete, it can be a social activity but if you really think you are going to lose weight/maintain weight by just going for a stroll you are seriously deceived. I understand that it is hard to justify doing a sprint workout when the only time you sprint is if a child is running into a parking lot or you are an avid black Friday shopper.
  2. You are never going to be as fast or as good as you once were. It’s a harsh reality. But it’s just not going to happen. You need to purge your memory of your old PR’s or times. I ran a 6:02 mile one time (freshman year of high school+no hips+no body fat=fantasy world). There’s no chance I could do that now. I could maybe do a 6:57 mile if I had just slept for a week straight, there was no thinking/physical exertion required for at least a day afterwards, and a man was chasing after me with a machete.
  3. Unless you were a runner there are very few competitive outlets post-college. Sure there are adult leagues for some sports but when you start yelling at your teammates, getting in fights, taking out people (I got LAID OUT by a guy in over 30 coed soccer a few weeks ago), cussing out refs, and throwing bats around; people are going to seriously start questioning your life choices. Runners have the best gig because there are about a million races every weekend. I run some of these races but I’m not truly competitive in these. I’m only competing against myself and people who don’t look athletic at all. I was never trained in distance running, I was punished by distance running. There’s no way I’ll ever win a race or even my age group (unless it’s a super small race in an area where no one cares about physical fitness). But you better believe that I will beat you if you are wearing anything I deem unacceptable active wear. i.e. Denim, khaki shorts, polo shirts.
  4. Injuries post-college don’t play. If you do happen to find an adult league for the sport you once played you have the distinct possibility of a major injury every time you play. You know who doesn’t have time for an ACL tear? People that have to carry small humans. There’s no trainers forcing you to rehab, there’s no timeline for getting back on the field, it’s just rehabbing so you can play tag effectively with your kids.
  5. Rolling over in bed when you are 9 months pregnant will make you embarrassed that you were ever an athlete. It takes a ridiculous amount of effort. There’s no way such a simple task should require that much grunting, heaving breathing, and the use of all of your extremities.
  6. Your metabolism dies at 30. This is the worst part. There was once a time you could eat whatever you wanted; warm bread, warm cookies, or a whole box of cheez-its with little to no repercussions. Now if you eat these things you will gain 2 pounds overnight. You will have to make hard life decisions between fitting in skinny jeans and eating unlimited bread sticks at the Olive Garden. Sorry friend.
  7. The reasons you keep working out will change drastically. No longer are you trying to earn a starting spot, you are just trying to wear a two-piece without someone calling the police on you. Or just fitting in your jeans post-baby. You may work out for sanity, to relieve stress, or just to have no one touching you for an hour.
  8. You’ll find yourself being competitive with completely inconsequential things. Think board games, cards, etc. I didn’t talk to my husband for an hour once because of a game of Monopoly deal. Not my best moment.

If you are currently an athlete, live it up! You’ll never be this fit again. I’ll tell you right now, YOU ARE NOT FAT AND YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT THAT IS YET.

For the rest of us, don’t re-watch your game film and embrace the new normal because no one is ever telling you to “get on the line” again.

Learning on the job

When I became a Mom 4 and 1/2 years ago I had NO idea what I was doing. I legitimately had never changed a diaper in my life until Kate was born. My google cache’ the first two months of Kate’s life was nothing short of terrifying/hilarious and she pretty much only wore a diaper for her first few weeks of life because I did not know how to put clothes on a tiny human. I remember going to Kate’s one month check-up at the pediatrician (for which she received the best bath of her life) and when Clint asked me how it went afterwards my response was “They didn’t say anything about CPS or taking her away from us….so good, I guess?”

Becoming a Mom was/is the most terrifying and surreal experience of my life thus far. Sometimes I look in the rearview mirror in my van (cool is gone forever) and think “there is no way all of these small kids belong to me.” Turns out, they do.

So here is my not so sage advice for anyone about to become a mother, thinking about it, or for those that are overwhelmed by it…if I can do this, you can too. Here’s the things that make it possible:

  1. Coffee. This is real. I seriously have NO idea how non coffee drinkers function in society. I’d say my intake went up 150% upon having children.
  2. Jesus. Because I don’t have the love/patience/selflessness required to take care of someone 24/7, but he does.
  3. A smart phone with google. Everybody needs some web MD to reassure them that if their baby hasn’t pooped for 4 days that it isn’t going to start coming out their ears or something.
  4. One medical professional in your circle that can tell you off the books that it is just a rash and not the Ebola virus or malaria. (This will also save you a bundle)
  5. The assurance that everybody else is as clueless as you are. Being a parent has made me realize that even though I thought my parents knew what they were doing when I was growing up, they were just making it up as they went along like I am. If someone you know thinks they have it all together and knows how to be the perfect Mom they are LYING to themselves and you. I’ve come to the conclusion in my life that if you think you have your sh!% together then we have NOTHING in common and nothing to talk about.
  6. They don’t remember anything before they are 4 (at least in long-term memory). So if your baby cries it out for 20 minutes while you are in the shower or attempting to take a nap yourself they WILL NOT be able to talk to their therapist about it when they are 30! This is what I tell myself on rough days at least.
  7. Have an outlet that involves no children. Whether that is nights out with friends, going on long runs, bible studies that have childcare, etc. I have become a distance runner purely because no one is touching me when I am running.