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Pressures and Expectations: We Place on Ourselves

October 31, 2016

img_0074Post submitted by: 
Canadian Fit Mom, Strong Momma, Brianne

A lot of thoughts go through your head when you’re running a marathon or half marathon. This past week, I ran my 20 something ‘th half marathon. All conditions pointed to the possibility of a PB (Personal Best), a PB that I wanted and expected of myself. But at the 11th km mark my goal had to change to plan B, then gastro problems, a poorly digested gel, and my own head got in the way and forced me to switch gears and settle on plan C.

My hubby and I were on our first weekend away just the two of us in longer than I can remember, and I had finally slept almost all night. My athletic brain was ready to kill the course, but my mommy brain had a hard time letting go of the guilt that came with leaving my almost 16 month old, and hearing that she had given my mother a run for her money that night. On top of all of this, my breasts were swollen with milk from not feeding her in 24 hours (hand pumps just don’t do it justice).

Some of the thoughts you think while running: family, work, the pressure you’ve put on yourself to do well, and of course, have I trained enough? This second guessing of myself was compounded by something an older mom, who is an amazing runner and triathlete, had said to another friend about me, “I hope she doesn’t burn out.” These words, although expressed out of concern and kindness, burned through me like my quads at kilometre 18. Was I burning out? Had I already burnt out? My days (like most mommies) are crazy; I rush to get my girls ready, myself ready, drop them off, teach, run on my lunch hour and then rush back to work and try to be the best teacher I can be. Then the evening rolls around, and I make a balanced supper, play and prepare for the next day. Finally it’s bedtime, which can be anywhere between 15 minutes and an hour. At this point I plan and mark. I, along with countless other moms, set the bar so high for ourselves that it’s no wonder we feel burnt out from time to time.bree-blog-1

It occurred to me that being in constant pursuit of attaining perfection as a mom, wife, teacher and runner meant that I wasn’t actually being the best at any of these things, a lesson I learned shortly into my recent return from a year of maternity leave to working full time.

I realized that balance was needed in my life, and I would have to find it quickly. How can working mommies who also have athletic goals find a healthy balance that will also enable them to be the moms, wives and employees they desire to be without letting one of these areas suffer? These are some of the strategies I plan on implementing right now:

1. Realize what you have time for and be okay with it for the time being. At another time in your life a more ambitious goal might be more attainable.

2. Make every work out count.

3. Start working out before the kids even get out of bed.

4. Take some time for yourself.

5. Do what you really love, and do enough of it to make you feel satisfied.

And the final thing, is to just be okay with the results you’re achieving! As much as I’m constantly trying to better myself, I know that it’s still amazing that I’m able to run half marathons and triathlons in pretty good times! It’s okay that I’m not always pb’ing. When I’m better rested and have more leisure time, the other goals will come. For now I can rejoice in the fact that I can try to do it all, even if sometimes it never seems like enough. Moms put so much pressure on themselves every day, running should be one of those things that we just do because we love it. Running doesn’t care about your time, how you look or how often you do it. Running places no expectations on us. The worst kind of pressure is the pressure we place on ourselves, so forgive yourself for not pb-ing every time, understand that there’ll be a different race and another time to reach those goals and do what you can in this juncture of your life, but most importantly, be happy while you’re doing it!

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  • Jannah Nadon October 31, 2016 at 9:14 pm

    You are an amazing woman and mother and an inspiration to us all!

  • Aileen October 31, 2016 at 9:20 pm

    So proud of you! You’re doing an excellent job of each aspect of your life… and you don’t have to be a super hero every day!! xo