Actually lots of things annoy me. Bad drivers, road construction, patients who show up late for their appointments...oh I could go on and on.
But one thing in particular annoys me a lot. I hear it all the time. Women, who when I'm talking about running, tell me they don't "have time" to workout. As if any of us do.
I don't take these comments personally, because I don't think it's directed at me. But I hear this comment often enough to be annoyed. What is the intent here? Is it to make themselves feel less guilty about not making time for exercise? Is it to make me feel bad because I do exercise? How about turning it around and patting another woman on the back for getting it done? What's wrong with taking time for ourselves?
In my experience, women aren't good at supporting each other. A while ago, another mom told me that I needed to make sure my boys knew that they were more important to me than running. I was really annoyed by this. First of all, MYOB. Second of all, how does that person know that I'm not putting my boys first? I've thought a lot about that statement since then. I think it is so important for moms to have something outside of motherhood that is their own. For some women that something is their career. For others, it's a hobby, like knitting or quilting. For me, it's running.
I've had a lot of melancholy this year as I've watched my boys pull away. It hasn't been as hard with my youngest, who still shares things with me and laughs with me. But my oldest son has become so private, so buttoned up, that I feel like I'm just a roommate with him. A good morning gets a grunt. A text to ask what he's up to gets a one word answer. So I ask more questions, and he gets mad. When did this happen? I know it is the natural course of things for teenagers to pull away, but how did this little boy, who told me everything, become a sullen, secretive teenager?
And what if I didn't have something for myself, my running, to make me feel good? What if I wrapped my whole life up in these boys? At one of my youngest son's rugby games this spring, another mother and I were talking about running. She told me she wanted to do a half Ironman this spring, but she didn't have time to train because she wanted to "be there" for her 2 teens. After all, she told me, this time is going to be over with before you know it. But as she said this to me, I couldn't help but think to myself, how much time would she spend training? One, two hours per day?
I do agree with her that my time with my kids is dwindling. When the boys were little, I didn't run nearly as much as I do now. I was more involved with their school, volunteering in the classroom. I hung out with the neighborhood moms on Friday nights, playing bunco, going to book club and going to Pampered Chef parties. But as they got older and started to pull away to spend more time with their friends, my involvement lessened. I started working more and running more.
My oldest has made it clear, through his actions and his words, that he doesn't want me involved in his life, as much as I try. I do what I can, but I try to be respectful of his need to spread his wings. I do let him know I'm around, even though he says he doesn't want me around. My youngest son is much more open to my involvement. But a great deal of the time, he's gone with his friends. What would happen if I didn't have a job, if I didn't have running? What would I do with myself?
I look at pictures of the boys when they were younger, when we used to do lots of fun things together. I feel a sense of loss that those days are gone. It sounds so cliched, but I ask myself all the time, where has the time gone? And maybe my grief is so pronounced because of the detachment I feel from my oldest son.
Everyone tells me that he will "come back" to me. That while extreme, this separation from me is important. I get that. I need to process it in my own way.
If that means taking time for myself in the form of running, I'm going to do that. But I'm going to continue to let my son know I'm there for him, even if he doesn't want me around.
Maybe my "hobby" is annoying to other moms. But that's their issue. I need to deal with mine. Keeping active gives me something for me, makes me feel good about myself, and gives me an outlet for all my angst.
We moms all need our thing. We need our own identity to help us with the transition from mothering children to becoming the mother of young adults. We need to show our kids that it's important to make time for exercise and even more importantly, to make time for ourselves. And yes, we need to support each other.
|My tribe! Thanks, Mish, for this awesome image from last summer. And to my friends, for the tons of memories that go along with this picture.|
What annoys you? Do you get annoyed by other moms who run or workout? How do you feel about other women telling you they "don't have time" to run?
I'm linking up with DebRuns who hosts Wednesday Word. Check out what annoys other bloggers!