I'm ending what I refer to as my "six month maternity leave" tomorrow. It's bittersweet...on one hand, I already miss my kids dearly. But on the other hand, I am excited to get back into the classroom and start off my 12th year of teaching.
Seriously. Sometimes I still feel about 12. So bizarre. I know I was a baby when I started doing this and all, but....man.
Last night was a challenging night. Bug was being almost-three again, and by that I mean arguing about everything and throwing fits every 2.5 minutes. I finally got Bean down and Matt went out to do a workout, so I tried to get Bug down. He threw fits repeatedly, and intentionally woke Bean up. Then I had two screaming kids. It was rough. I have to admit I cried a bit. How was I going to get everyone out of the house by 7:05am every morning--teeth brushed, acceptable clothing, lunches packed?
Matt came in to help out. I put Bean back to bed, and he worked his "other parent magic" (you know--whatever parent is not there during a meltdown magically becomes the one that the 2 1/2 year old wants, and then is totally happy) and I heard him singing "Five Little Monkeys" within 3 minutes. Then Matt came in while I held Bean and said to come into Bug's room.
Matt asked Bug, "Why did you wake your sister up?"
Bug replied, "Because I love Emery and want to give her hugs and kisses. That's what you do when you love someone."
That is a direct quote. I heard it with my own two ears.
And then I promptly cried.
I've been working quite a bit on my head game the past 2 weeks. It's no secret that I had second thoughts about the sanity of doing this half ironman 6 months postpartum. I've laid that out here.
What I have decided is that I need to work on my insane worry issues. I flat out worry too much, and that's really dumb and wastes time and energy. Life is too short. I have had some issues with anxiety that have seriously affected my sleeping from time to time, as long as I can remember. I remember being maybe 11 or 12 and my mom telling me to "turn my clock around" so I couldn't see what time it was, since I would worry that it was so late. Seriously. This goes back quite a way.
(I still turn my clock around every night, too)
So I've decided I'm going to really, seriously work on mindfulness. I have been doing some reading on the subject and some practices. Lots of journaling. It's been good--I've been sleeping better and I have been feeling more relaxed. We'll see how the first week of school goes--it's notoriously an insane week where I sleep very little. I'm going to really try to simplify things in my mind and cut out lots of unnecessary stuff. Here's what I'm working on:
--really enjoying breakfast and lunch. Usually, I wolf it down standing up while checking facebook and making bottles and picking up trucks and listening to NPR. The past three days, I have forced myself to sit in silence, not read anything, and think about my meal. Do you know how hard that is?!?! Seriously. I could barely do it the first day. But I'm getting better at it. I am notorious for working through lunch and grading while I eat. While I accept that I might still need to do that from time to time, I'm going to try and eat outside and/or take a short, 10 minute walk while it's nice out during my lunch break.
--going off the grid. No more facebook. No worthless news sites that are all full of spin anyway. No gossip sites or E! shows. At first, I went through a little withdrawal. I'm used to checking facebook all freaking day. But after 2 days? Wonderful. Hearing everyone's banter can be actually quite tiring and mentally cluttering. I will still keep my account so people can get ahold of me, but I'm going to cut the cord of checking updates all the time, and I'm going to only update with pictures or big stuff for my family and friends to see. I am going to focus on my own updates.
--I decided to keep writing here, though. This has always been a bit of an outlet for me. I enjoy writing. I may check blogs less for a bit or narrow them down while I'm working on clearing out my internal clutter, but it will be nice to have this space to write.
--Focus on being home at home, and at work at work. That will be hard to do. Teaching is the kind of job you often bring home by nature--DBQs don't grade themselves. But I'm going to really try hard to use my time at work more productively, and leave work at work.
--Enjoying my workouts, and thinking of them as a celebration and not a chore. I'm getting better at this. Instead of rushing through a workout so I can do what's next on whatever insane list I've made, I'm going to really focus on each workout and let it remind me that I'm lucky to be able to do this. This, as anyone with very young kids knows, will be easier said than done.
I've still got my eye on the Cleveland Marathon next May. I was thinking that I would do the Fall Classic Half Marathon in November and try to get my time down as close to 1:40 as I can get, but I'm going to see how the first few weeks of school go and make my decision from there. I have a very busy few weekends--mostly fun stuff--bachelorette party out of town next weekend for my awesome buddy Jacks, Bug's 3rd birthday party (agh!) and then I'm in two weddings (both out of town, and back to back weekends!) for two of my best friends--Jacks and the uber-awesome TriShannon. So, we'll see how things go here.
I'm getting more excited to race in 2 weeks. I think I've turned my head around a bit. I'm thinking about all the friends that will be there--first on my team (can't wait to see them!) and in the Cleveland area. As Coach Emily says, "it might not be your personal best, or it might be...but just have fun." So that's what I'm going to do.
I'm trying to remember that my best marathon came on my lowest mileage. I might not have been able to swim or run as many yards or miles as I would have liked to, but my body is continuing to show me that I'm capable of pulling things off.
And honestly? I'm looking forward to that finish line more than anything--possibly even more than my Ironman. This one will really mean a lot to me, and I can have my two kids with me and Matt will be there too. Because, to quote my almost-three-year-old, I love them and I want to give them hugs and kisses at the finish line.
Because that's what you do when you love someone.