Saturday, January 17, 2009

An Analogy

the treadmill : daycare :: running outside : hangin' with the 'rents.

This is the deep thought I had as I ran outside on a beautiful winter afternoon about a week ago. Unfortunately, with no day time babysitters and temps well below reasonable I was stuck on the mill all week. I don't mind really. I think the worst part is having to cram in a run right after mrp gets home from work or even worse having to cram it in while peanut swings and stares at me or takes a nap because invariably he fusses before I can get into a groove. I guess the part that stinks is always being in a rush. It's exacerbated by the treadmill because then I can micromanage the pace so I often feel obligated to push it as fast as I feel comfortable to go. The part of my brain that fears injury from doing too much too soon mitigates the rush rush part, but it still keeps me from just running a comfy pace and fully enjoying myself. I do enjoy running despite these minor annoyances, believe me! I cannot wait to head downstairs to my treadmill each day and when I'm on it you might catch me doing a little run/dance or singing along to a great song on my ipod.

When I run outside I don't have these annoyances. I can't hear peanut's cries in between songs. I can forget my need to hurry up and lose myself in the snow-covered river banks or wondering how I possibly made it up that hill without dying. I can also think about things more objectively, like whether to stay with my current job, what do I really want from my career and what would truly make my family and myself happy.

On Thursday, I took peanut to meet his babysitter--the woman who will be watching him when I go back to work in just 3 weeks and 6 days! She is a wonderful woman and she definitely has a magic touch. Peanut was so calm and content in her arms and the other little boy she watches (my cousin's one year old son) was so happy and cuddly with her. I feel this is the best set-up we can muster and the comfort I feel when I think about it makes it possible for me to go back even temporarily. But no matter how lovely a person the babysitter is, I can't help but think that peanut, mrp and me, the three of us, and me are being cheated of the all the beautiful scenery that a life less hectic and more togetherness breeds.

On Fridays my mother-in-law comes over to watch peanut so I can get a run outside in the daylight. Crappily, yesterday was -4 when she planned to come over so we decided she might as well stay home. I tried to squeeze in a run while peanut watched me in the swing, but he got bored pretty quickly and I was only able to piece together 3 miles in between soothing him and trying to get him to nap. I eventually gave up on the run, settling for the three but I only did so with the knowledge that I was going to get out today for 8 winding through the beautiful winter landscape outside.


jsmarslender said...

I heard a guest on an NPR show ask something like: when did we decide we had to be so busy? I hope you and mrp and peanut can find a balance. We're still trying to strike ours too. Also hope you're able to get outside for a nice run soon. Sometimes I miss winter running but minus four? Yikes. Good work on the treadmill though - I know that gets a little difficult. Run-stop-soothe-run-stop-feed-run-stop-soothe.

Miss Adventurous said...

Wow! This is a GREAT post...and I really love your new layout and tagline. :)

I swear I'm commenting because I really enjoyed reading that, and not just so I can show you my running Tumblr.

Miss Adventurous said...

Okay, so it was a little to show you my Tumblr, but I would have linked it on facebook if I hadn't liked your post so much.

DC Running Mama said...

Salty One, I think we are going to spend the next 18 years trying to figure out balance with the little one(s). I think that we will always feel like we are failing something...either our careers, our running, our partners, or our children. I, too, wonder about striking that balance between career and family. It scares me to think about someone else holding my precious baby all day. But, at the same time, I would be lying if I wasn't a little excited about being able to check email and type with two hands and go out to lunch with my friends and rush around to meetings. I read a great quote once that I think will mean more when I officially become a working mom..."strive no longer for balance, instead seek harmony." To me, this quote means that life will never truly feel balanced, but instead we will need to learn to better appreciate the moments we are in and the harmony we can find in them.

Mindi said...

I too love the new layout and tag line! I remember these days very well - it was hard to find time to take a shower let alone a run! :) But things will evolve, and then everything will change and you will have to find a new solution! :) That is just the nature of parenting. I am glad you are finding your time for your running. While you are busy, no doubt, it is important to make time for the important things to you. Speaking of which, you and MRP need to get a baby sitter one night so you can go out to dinner / catch up/ have some Salty-MRP time. That is easy to put by the wayside, but oh so important. Have a good weekend!

Mnowac said...

I wish I had some answers for you, but I will be right there with you. I am convinced that staying home for a little while is the best possible scenario if anyone can manage to work it out, its just not always possible.