Every now and then I get side-swiped by the “reality” truck. I’ll be cruising along with my crazy chaotic life, and then out of nowhere, the reality truck will swerve out in front of me and try to throw me off course. I stumble a little, but I get back up, and keep moving forward.
Today was a rough day. I woke up with two incredibly cranky kids who didn’t sleep well the night before, and for some reason or another clung to me like little koala bears on tree branches. I caved and skipped my first two classes, which is something I avoid at all costs. School is expensive after all, so I want to get the most out of it (wow I sound so grown up!). But my babies needed me today, and as always, I will drop whatever is necessary for them.
I did eventually remove the koala toddlers (they were easily swayed with an extravagant lunch made by Daddy) and headed in for work and my once a week biomechanics lab. Got to school only to find that the lab report I spent hours on the day before wouldn’t print out at the computer lab . My file, emailed to myself and backed up on a junk drive, was “corrupt”. I have no earthly idea what that means in the computer world, but I’ll tell you what it means in my world: I had to show up to class WITHOUT my lab report. Furthermore, I had to give the lame ass reason that “the printer didn’t work” making me look like a) a slacker and b) a procrastinator for waiting until the last minute. So maybe the later was the truth, but I still hated it.
Motherhood: 1 Heather: 0
This evening my school hosted an informational session about the upcoming triathlon. The USAT coach hosting the meeting was very informative. At one point, as could be expected, the topic of Ironman distance races came up, along with the incredible amount of training they require. Without any hesitation, the coach looked at the classroom full of young college kids and said “but if any of you want to do an Ironman, now is the time in your life to do it” along with something about having a lot of free time, blah blah blah.
Bam, there goes the reality truck, in the LAST place I was expecting it. Knocked me right down.
I may be an idiot for having this obsession with finishing an Ironman when I’ve never done a triathlon period, but I’m not an idiot when it comes to realizing how much of a HUGE time commitment training for one is. But in the back of my head, I’ve always had the the idea that it’s not impossible. Nothing is impossible. It seems there is always a story of a new mom out there training away and finishing an Ironman with a smile on her face and her cute little toddlers crossing the finish line by her side. There is no reason I can’t be one of them.
But lately, I’ve been struggling with guilt. Guilt of two types really. Some days I feel guilty for the time I take away from my family. Rich is incredibly supportive of me in every way. Not only does he watch the boys all day so I can chase my dreams at school, but he sacrifices the free time we do have together so I can go do hours of training for a measly sprint triathlon. And when I get back from one of those two events, he’s off to work. Most nights I’m fast asleep before he gets home. My family makes huge sacrifices for me, and I never want to take that for granted. I never want to take my babies, and the fact that they will only be such cute little babies for a short period of time, for granted.
Then, there is the guilt I feel over NOT feeling guilty. How’s that for a head scratcher? Seriously, most of the time I do not feel guilty for taking the time to pursue this hobby. It’s good for my health, mentally and physically, and both of those aspects not only benefit me but my they benefit my family as well. A happy mom equals a happy family, right? My boys are young. Yes, they notice when I’m not there, but not nearly like they would if they were older, and I was missing a soccer game to go to class, or a science fair because I have a training run. I’d rather this chaos now rather than later. And after all, it is this healthy lifestyle that allows me to go to school and work all day, run for an hour or two, and STILL have the energy to chase my kids in circles, build lego spaceships and Thomas the Tank engine train tracks, and giggle over hide and seek games. Who can feel guilty about that? But , it is written somewhere in the mom handbook that if you dont’ feel guilty for doing something for yourself, then you are doing something wrong. I think I ripped that page out and burned it, but it still lingers in the back of my head.
The realistic mom in me tells me to wait this Ironman dream out. Kain, my baby, will go off to college when I’m still at the ripe young age of 44. I’ll have an empty house and PLENTY of time to sit on the bike trainer all damn day if I choose. Until then, I have babies to raise and an income to bring in, not to mention a college degree to finally finish earning. But the true Heather, the one with the crazy competitive personality, the one who has always thrown the realistic ideas out the window, can’t stop thinking about it. Yeah, I want to do this first sprint triathlon just to do a triathlon. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say it’s really only the first step in a much bigger picture for me. I like to make 5 year plans, and in my 5 year plan, I see a 140.6 finish line.
The realistic mom in me realizes that 99% of you are going to tell me that I have plenty of time, that I will get there one day, and that I need to focus on the here and now. And I get that, and appreciate your comments in advanced. But what I’m really looking for are the other 1% of you…the IronMOMS and DADS, to tell me how you do it. Tell me if you struggle with these thoughts too. Tell me how you do it.
Alas, the reality truck didn’t cause any permanent damage. A little feeling of temporary defeat, maybe, but in all honesty I wouldn’t change my situation for anything. My kids are the greatest blessing I have ever been given, and I will make sure they always know that. And for now, I’ll keep moving forward, but I have a feeling there is only one cure for this fever. And it isn’t more cowbell…
**THANK YOU so much for all of the kind words and support so far! I just wanted to add, before anyone thinks I’m totally off my rocker, that this Ironman business wouldn’t begin until I am done with school (1.5 more semesters to go!)