Confession: Motherhood Has Changed Me

2SHARES

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
5/8/2009 8:55 AM   :  60 comments

With Mother's Day approaching this weekend, I've been thinking a lot about my fitness goals and how much they have changed over the past 2 ˝ years. My reasons for staying healthy and my personal definition of fitness are a lot different than they used to be. I was a hard-core runner who felt like it was a waste of time to run any less than 6 miles during a workout. That's no longer the case, which honestly, has been hard for me to accept sometimes. But when I think about what I've gotten in return, it's a trade-off I'm lucky to have made.

I remember the days when I'd be up at 4:30 a.m., off to the gym for a workout or out the door for a run. I was running around 40 miles a week (which is still not that much for some), and wasn't happy if I didn't have at least one long run of around 10 miles somewhere during the week. That was during the "off-season" in between training for a half or full marathon. When I was training, runs would be longer and the time commitment was much more extensive. I was very focused during my training, following the plans to a "t" and fitting the rest of my life into my running- instead of the other way around. Looking back, I wouldn't change any of those things. Discovering my passion for running gave me the self-confidence and motivation to achieve goals I never thought were possible.

Then about 3 years ago, my husband and I decided to start a family. I was worried about how this new person was going to change my life. For so long, my primary focus had been on myself- I went where I wanted to go and did what I wanted to do whenever I wanted to do it. I knew some of that was going to change, but I don't think anyone can prepare you for how your life is turned upside down when you have children. One thing I struggled with was establishing a new "normal". I couldn't just head out the door for a run whenever I wanted. My runs were now scheduled around naps and feedings and when I had someone to watch my daughter. In the beginning, that was tough for me. But as time went on, running took on a new purpose in my life. It no longer mattered how fast or how far I was going. Running was my quiet time to help clear my head and de-stress.

I ran another marathon 10 months after my daughter was born, and ran one of my best half-marathons last weekend, 5 months after my son was born. My body does not look like it used to. I don't always feel as strong when I run, often because I have to get up 2 or 3 times during the night before a long run to feed my son or comfort my daughter because she had a bad dream. But those 2 little people are now my inspiration for running. I want them to have a mom who's strong and confident, and can still run a marathon while balancing work, family and everything else. Thinking about them is what pushes me up the hills when I'm tired and helps me sprint to the finish line.

Happy Mother's Day!


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Comments

  • 60
    Missed this the first time. Great article! - 8/30/2009   1:04:09 PM
  • 59
    Aww, sorry I missed this one. Happy (belated) Mother's Day to you as well. I kno what you mean about changing around your schedule when little ones are in the picture. It proves to be a challenge some days, but I wouldn't change it for the world. My sun is 2. Keep doin what you're doin; you're awesome. - 8/18/2009   8:16:19 PM
  • RUN2RUN
    58
    THIS IS PERFECT- You hit home with a lot of us! Thank ou for this- When we think we are alone in a situation- we can turn here and know there are others- I use to run 40-50 miles a week- and would not accept under 6 miles per run- now with major heel problems- yeah a whole new game! - 5/14/2009   1:58:38 PM
  • 57
    I wouldn't trade my experience being a mother for anything in the world. It's not easy but this experience is not something you can find doing something else. It's so true about the "new normal". It took me a couple of years after my son was born to accept the "new normal". Now, I can't imagine life without my little guy. - 5/13/2009   1:39:28 AM
  • 56
    Right on! She said exactly what is going on in my life. Some days you win the battle to balance caring for others, work, and caring for yourself. Some days - not so much. Every day is a victory no matter what. We just need to change our definition of victory. - 5/13/2009   12:20:02 AM
  • 55
    How sweet! and so honest - 5/12/2009   5:39:09 PM
  • 54
    Wow! Thank you for sharing! This is truly inspirational! I've been on and off again with SP, but my motivation for returning this time is to begin living healthier for my unborn children. Your post gives a lot of great insight and inspiration to someone like me. :) - 5/11/2009   11:53:08 AM
  • 53
    i aam still struggling to put in exercise time. this has really encouraged me. thanx for posting.... i am typing as i burp my daughter. :-) - 5/11/2009   11:39:24 AM
  • 52
    Great post. I was not active pre-children but since they have been grown and out on their own I have welcomed the opportunity for ME time! Exercise is that special time that I can go out and be just me. When they blessed me with grandchildren I wanted to become more than just me. I want to be around forever to be with the grandkids. What is more amazing to me other than being a mother is how wonderful a mother my daughter is to her children. My kids are now 27, 26, and 25. I love them more now than I did yesterday but not as much as I will tomorrow!!!!! Happy mother's day everyone! - 5/11/2009   10:19:45 AM
  • 51
    Thank you for the nice blog. It is true that we have different priorities in various times of our lives. When my children were young, the house was a bit messy, but we enjoyed playing together, building forts, and Legos were set up everywhere. Exercise was in shorter pockets of time. Now that my children are grown, I am taking time to lose some weight and get stronger. I have more time to take care of myself, garden, organize and sort through the years of 'stuff' I have accumulated while raising children : ) - 5/10/2009   11:39:01 AM
  • KAREN214
    50
    Prior to having children I was always up tight about everything, ie exercise clean house. since I have had them I have learned from my children. One that life should be fun and let you hair down from time to time. Two the house can be a mess and it is okay(the woeld will not end). Three I listen to them when they want to talk and let them be quiet when they are and it is okay. I have also learn that my kids can learn from me. I have been more intuned that they watch my every move and by example they can learn that fitness is fun and eating heathy is also well worth it. Having kids is hard and as Aldults we do not always do the right thing but if parent and children just listen to each other we can both learn. ENJOY LIVING1 - 5/10/2009   6:55:39 AM
  • 49
    great article !!! - 5/9/2009   10:50:17 PM
  • 48
    Sorry Jen! I just read one of Nancy's posts and thought she wrote the blog :) Kudos to you! - 5/9/2009   5:14:40 PM
  • 47
    While I'm not a mother, I was lucky to have parents that were active and understood the importance of being good, healthy role models. My father has run marathons, countless races, biked, swam, and together my parents used to run races and do triathalons. Kudos to you Nancy for staying active - those two little people will have a terrific role model! - 5/9/2009   5:14:01 PM
  • 46
    The best job in the world, being a mum, and definitely the most worthwhile!!! - 5/9/2009   5:10:12 PM
  • AMELITA2
    45
    I didn't know how my life will be after having children. It is rewarding, and marvelous. - 5/9/2009   4:36:07 PM
  • GRAVELGERTIE1
    44
    Ive been a mother for 42years, that's my oldest daughter, 39 is my middle daughter, and 37 is my youngest daughter, and I couldn't be more blessed if I wanted to. These girls are my life and I wouldn't change a minute of my life since I gave birth to each one. God Bless all the mothers on Mother's Day. - 5/9/2009   3:25:48 PM
  • GRAVELGERTIE1
    43
    Ive been a mother for 42years, that's my oldest daughter, 39 is my middle daughter, and 37 is my youngest daughter, and I couldn't be more blessed if I wanted to. These girls are my life and I wouldn't change a minute of my life since I gave birth to each one. God Bless all the mothers on Mother's Day. - 5/9/2009   3:25:47 PM
  • CALAMITIJANE
    42
    Our bodies do change so much after children. It is well worth anything we give up. I would do anything for my children. It is good to be reminded of the motivation they are. - 5/9/2009   10:56:45 AM
  • 41
    Having my daugthers changed my life as well, and I was young when my first was born, I lost my youngest to cancer, but still I would not trade a day of my life for the joy both my girls have brought to my life...they are my life! - 5/9/2009   9:09:56 AM
  • 40
    Love the post - it all rings so true. Yes, you give up a lot (mostly selfish) but you gain so much more. - 5/9/2009   9:05:49 AM
  • 39
    Being a Mom has been my greatest reward in life! Happy Mother's Day Coach Jen and all of you other Mother's! - 5/9/2009   8:47:45 AM
  • 38
    Happy Mother's Day!
    I'm way beyond the baby and small child phase - my "baby" will be 20 in June, but I do remember how things changed once I had that new responsibility in my life! - 5/9/2009   8:43:49 AM
  • 37
    Love the blog. Thanks for sharing this great insight. Happy Mother's Day everyone. - 5/9/2009   8:37:52 AM
  • 36
    Happy Mother's Day, Jen. Thanks for this post. I am expecting my first child and often wonder how I will continue to make fitness a priority in my life. I know I will do it, but I'm sure it will take time to figure out the best way to juggle it all. - 5/9/2009   8:19:43 AM
  • 35
    I enjoyed this. It is hard to do lots of things when you have children, but most things can be worked in if you want it bad enough. - 5/9/2009   7:25:10 AM
  • 34
    We are forever changed by our children and continue the journey no matter that they grow up and have lives of their own. I am back to me time now. - 5/9/2009   7:22:53 AM
  • 33
    Great blog - thanks for sharing.
    Being a parent is challenging, but very fulfilling. I feel privileged to be a Mum. - 5/9/2009   3:34:07 AM
  • 32
    Hmph- if you don't want to devote yourself to it- get a CAT! Dogs are much more needing of our time. tee hee.
    Thanks for sharing. This was awesome.
    Happy Mother's Day to you all. It was fun reading responses to this delightful 'blog/article'. I'm way happy to have 2 grown, with Grandparenting to some some day with any luck. Yeah, Moms! - 5/9/2009   3:20:07 AM
  • 31
    Happy Mother's Day. The truth is a lot of people aren't cut out to have children, but sadly they do. It is a 24/7 job. Like Dr. Laura says "If you don't want to devote yourself to it, get a DOG." - 5/9/2009   2:31:39 AM
  • 30
    I wish that I had the determination like the writer of the blog, to stay fit when my sons were young. Now that I'm a grandmother and am in the process of changing many bad fitness habits I get to share my journey with my adult sons, daughters-in-law, and grandchildren. It was these folks, my kids and grandkids who have inspired me to make this life-style change. Like the writer of the blog, I want to be stronger, healthier, and happier to enjoy what's left of my life with them. - 5/9/2009   2:21:40 AM
  • MERCZSHADO
    29
    I have overcome much for the sake of my children. Loved the post! - 5/8/2009   11:56:19 PM
  • STEPHIMAE
    28
    I loved the blogs and Happy Mother's Day to all. - 5/8/2009   11:35:11 PM
  • 27
    Awesome! WTG!! - 5/8/2009   10:24:09 PM
  • 26
    Congradulations on your success. - 5/8/2009   10:10:03 PM
  • 25
    That's great that you could stay so focused when raising your 2 children and being able to keep up with your running. Hurrah and congratulations - 5/8/2009   9:57:08 PM
  • SAHMLEE
    24
    thanks for sharing. - 5/8/2009   5:40:22 PM
  • 23
    sounds like you got it all together and alot of help from others great job - 5/8/2009   5:06:47 PM
  • BBATES6
    22
    great!!! enjoy your special day!!! - 5/8/2009   4:26:11 PM
  • 21
    It's all in your priorities. Sounds like you have a good balance. Happy Mother's Day to you. - 5/8/2009   3:30:23 PM
  • AKAFIT
    20
    I will definitely attest to everything changing once you have kids in terms of your body and your fitness. When I got out of the Army I had to rethink how I would stay fit. What was even harder was having another baby and having to workout around my husband's schedule, who is still in the Army and around my working out of the home. So, getting up at 4:30 -5 so that I could work out, get dressed for work, get the kids ready for school/daycare, and get to work on time was a juggling routine to be sure. What I realized is that if it is important enough for you to stay healthy and be a wife, mom, career woman, etc. you will make it happen.

    So, that is what I have been doing for the past four-five years, making it happen. Not without its pitfalls, setbacks, and frustrations, but making it happen nonetheless. - 5/8/2009   2:01:49 PM
  • 19
    As a mom of 3, it is true that everything changes when you have children. All of your priorities change. But I am learning that I still need to be a priority and to take care of myself, too. And by taking care of myself, I am making sure I can continue to take care of my children! - 5/8/2009   1:36:29 PM
  • HOODY1765
    18
    being a mum has been great for me as it has tought me so many thing, one of those thing is i will do anything in the world to help my children, well there not children anymore there very young adults now, i have a son with cerabal palsy and he is one of my reasons for getting myself fit as i want to be around in this life for him as many years as my body will allow and if that means keeping fit every day then i will, i have even jumped out of an airoplane for him if i can do that then im sure i can keep fit (giggle to myself) - 5/8/2009   1:33:00 PM
  • 17
    My 3 girls are still toddlers. What used to be my "exercise regimen" has now become "lifestyle". We play outside every day, rain, snow, or shine. My most regular workout is "tag" and my own routine has become more flexible. With that has come more variety. Whether it's jogging at 6am or hot yoga at 9pm, it still feels great. More than anything it has been extremely fulfilling to hear my daughters ask if they can run with me and to see how fit they are at such a young age. Nothing says "Happy Mother's Day" more than passing on the gift of good health. - 5/8/2009   1:17:40 PM
  • 16
    I'm not a mom, and might never be. This post actually doesn't make me ever want to be- the idea of changing my goals and life- it seems wrong. I don't know if I could ever be that selfless, it seems so unfair, it makes me a little angry and I'm not a person who lives it. I'm glad there are a lot of moms in the world that are somehow that selfless. - 5/8/2009   12:36:16 PM
  • 15
    Great post - thx for sharing! - 5/8/2009   12:26:46 PM
  • NO-41_RAZZYS_PL
    14
    Wow, Jen... what an AMAZING inspiration you are!! I huff & puff to 'do' my mile walk... trying to up it to 2, and wondering if I'll EVER be a jogger. I've jogged a couple of times and really liked it, but then the whole cycle of DOING it repeats itself... and I'm back down to a mile walk again.

    I realize that, like you, I am making life changes and that *THAT* takes consistency to develop habit... but, SIGH... perhaps, my need for steady increase will pick up the pace soon.

    It's sort a' like a reversal of what you're going through- with you having to cut back and all... but you're finding your niche' and loving being a mom too, sooo... there IS balance in the world!! hahaha!

    Now, if I can just find mine... hehe!
    HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!!
    *´¨)
    ¸.·´¸.·*´¨) ¸.·*¨)
    (¸.·´ (¸.·´ *Annie - 5/8/2009   12:15:26 PM
  • 13
    Loved the post! You sound as though you have found a good balance. Keep up the awesome job! - 5/8/2009   12:08:09 PM
  • 12
    Beautiful, thanks for sharing! - 5/8/2009   12:00:45 PM
  • 11
    A very true post! It is true, children change your priorities and so do your grandchildren! I ran my first 1/2 marathon when my youngest daughter was running for the Naval Reserves. I walked one when my other daughter wanted to join her work group and asked me along for the walk. I work hard on keeping fit now to keep up with the grandkids and wouldn't have it any other way! - 5/8/2009   11:59:57 AM

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