Day 22 – I’m In A Mood

Going to keep this short today by making the cliched proclamation that Mondays are the absolute worst. I’m a bit sore from yesterday’s race and pretty tired. It rained all afternoon and my house is a mess. I have a headache. I picked up my son from school and noticed he colored his entire right hand with green marker. Literally his whole hand. Oh, and his left hand was completely blue. Yes I’m whining. Yes I’m giving myself a little pity party. The silver lining is because we have no food in the house, I took my son to Whole Foods for a Hot Bar dinner. It was fucking delicious and totally made me feel better about the pizza and cookie I had for lunch.

So now, I’m going to finish up some work, watch the rest of Dancing with the Stars, read a book, go to sleep, and hopefully wake up on the right side of the bed tomorrow.

Day 21 – Shamrock Shuffle FTW!

I wrote at the beginning of this writing experiment that taking the winter off training usually leaves me chomping at the bit to kick off in the spring. I wrote that I wasn’t as antsy to get out there as previous winters because – while my mileage decreased significantly – I ran more this winter than the past two combined.

After today, I think things are looking up. I’d already been feeling better the last few weeks, as the weather started to turn a bit. I also finalized my race schedule, which always helps me to be accountable to my training.

I was struggling to come up for a realistic goal for the Shamrock Shuffle 8K this weekend. Though I had run on average 2-3 times a week over the winter, and 3-4 times a week over the past month, none of it was really focused on speed. I knew I’d be able to get it back somewhat quickly, but also didn’t think I’d be able to just jump right into where I left off last fall.

Naturally, I talked to my coach about this. We discussed a goal speed for the day – seeing as it is the unofficial kick off to my racing/training season, I threw out an 8:45/mile pace. I had recently PRed at the Turkey Trot 8K this past November running a 42:47, translating to an 8:36/mile. Last year I ran the Shamrock Shuffle  an 8:55/mile pace. I figured given some loss of fitness over the winter, 8:45 would be a happy medium.

Not so! Kate was all “Um… that’s too easy for you. How about 8:30/mile pace?” I’m thinking, “Ummmmmmmm… I haven’t run faster than 9:15 in like three months… but sure thing!” Not to mention that this would be faster than my Turkey Trot PR when I was just coming off marathon training.

Because Kate told me I could do it, and so did my husband, I figured I should at least try – at the very least to show them that they were wrong. I had felt off and sleep deprived this week, my run on Friday was slow and a slog. I did not think it was going to be my day.

Fast forward to this morning, when the weather is absolutely perfect for running, I got a great night’s sleep last night and had an awesome warmup. With nothing to lose, I just went for it.

People who race in downtown Chicago know that GPS watches go a little haywire with all the underpasses and tall buildings. For longer races, it tends to even out around 4 miles when you get further away from the cluster, but during shorter races it is ridiculous. One mile, it reads at 11-minute pace, the next it overcorrects and does 7-minute pace. Today it never settled in so I had to do practically the whole run by feel.

I tried to do some simple math at the mile markers, but that didn’t work because my brain can literally not process anything when I run and math is also hard. That said, I did enough pace work last summer that I had a general sense of what 8:30 felt like, but it had been so long since I had run that speed consistently. My weak math told me that I was pretty close, but I wasn’t sure.

Despite feeling like I was going to puke during the one and only hill (that Roosevelt Road bridge is evil), I crossed the finish line in 42:12. Not only was that 8:30/mile on the nose, but it was a 35-second PR over my Turkey Trot.

I am definitely thrilled about this result and what it means for my upcoming training cycle, but I’m even more proud of the fact that I basically had to run this race by feel and nailed it. Correct pacing has always been a struggle for me and I am SUPER dependent on my watch to keep my in line. So this was a win in so many ways. The absolute worst part about it is that I had to admit to Kate and Ari that I was wrong and they were right.

I’m back baby!

I wanted to get some of the buildings in this finish line selfie, which made for this really weird angle.

Day 20 – This Is What Excitement Looks Like

I’m writing this post on my phone because my computer is all the way over there and I’m lazy AF. I’m going to make this a quick one because it’s my husbands birthday and we have important plans to watch The Crown. (I’m not kidding. We went to dinner at 5:30, stopped at Whole Foods to grab some overpriced brownies for dessert and are now ensconced on the couch with some Netflix and snacks.) Apparently, this is what 35 looks like.

I still have another three months before that birthday milestone and all I can think of is that Sex and the City episode where Carrie turns 35 and no one shows up to her birthday dinner and then she drops her cake in the middle of the street. That sounds like something that would happen to me. In reality, my birthday this year is on a Monday in July. My husband will likely be rowing and I’ll be watching The Bachelorette, which is a totally satisfying birthday evening. 

There once was a day where I couldn’t imagine not spending a birthday in Adams Morgan until 3am (DC party neighborhood for those unfamiliar). Now that whole thing sounds absolutely exhausting. 

This – I suppose – is what it means to be a grown up. 

This stream of consciousness post has been brought to you by middle age, fatigue and introversion. 

Day 19 – Psyching Myself Up (or Out) to Race

Leg 3 of my first Ragnar in 2014. You wouldn’t know I’m on fumes.

Hi friends! It’s been a few days since I’ve written about running, so obviously we are overdue. I got the idea to write this post because the Shamrock Shuffle 8K is this weekend – marking the official beginning of the racing season here inChicago. We do have some races over the winter, but this is widely know as the big kick off. It’s an interesting race. You’ll find 30,000 or so runners racing in a St. Patty’s Day-themed race three weeks after the fact, typically in unseasonable cold weather.

At the start of the 2016 Rock n Roll Half Marathon. I was a bridesmaid in a wedding the night before and ran a 2:07 on 4 hours of sleep.

I race A LOT. In 2015, I ran 11 races (four were half marathons), not including a Ragnar. I backed off in 2016 and only ran 8 races (though two Ragnars – 4 weeks apart – ouch). I should also note that I don’t actually RACE each one. Some races – like the Turkey Trot – I go all out with a goal of PRing. Others, like the Chicago Half Marathon in September – serve as a marathon dress rehearsal to do a final clothes/nutrition/pace check in a controlled environment.

Some people (like my wonderful coach, hi Kate!) wonder why I do so many races. Well, since I’m writing about it, I’ll tell you! As a perfectionist, I used to get really intimidated by races. What if I shit the bed? What if I didn’t perform up to my standards? I hated the idea of failure and I would get so paralyzed by fear that I wouldn’t enjoy anything about the training and the racing as a result. This came to a head when I got injured before the 2010 Austin Marathon, which would have been my first. I didn’t train smart and I suffered as a result. I DNFed and didn’t try to train for or run another marathon for five years. I registered for a few, but couldn’t muster up the courage to deal with another public failure.

Ten1

At the finish of the Army 10 Miler – my first at that distance. The Hubs was annoyed because he didn’t think I was sufficiently spent at the end, as evident in this picture.

Another incident happened in 2013. I had already raced quite a bit since my son was born in 2012, but I wasn’t training on a consistent basis. I was in Chicago to run the Rock n Roll Half feeling undertrained. Also, this race is in the middle of July and notoriously hot. About three miles in, I was miserable and having a crisis of confidence that I could complete this race in a way I would be happy with. So I walked off the course.

I knew something had to change. I knew that I needed to be better mentally equipped to handle the races that I worked hard for, and not place too much emphasis on the outcome, but the process. I knew that even if it was a goal race, that I needed to be okay with the end result and cut out the defeatist attitude.

Hot Chocolate

This race serves a cup of hot chocolate with chocolate fondue and dippers. You bet I’m triumphant at the finish line.

It’s common knowledge that the more you do something, the better you get at it. So I decided that I needed to practice racing. Isn’t that what your training is for? Well… sort of. Your training arms you with miles under your belt, and gives you an opportunity to practice in different weather scenarios, test nutrition, etc. Only being in a race can prepare you for how you will be able to handle a situation when surrounded by people. Since coming to this realization, I’ve raced in the rain, in 90 degree heat, on 4 hours of sleep, on no sleep. I’ve had race plans derailed because of unscheduled bathroom stops. I’ve had unexpected PRs when I was just planning on taking it easy. Each one has been a building block for my mental game.

I still get jitters before races. In 2015 when I finally trained for and finished my first marathon, I was a nervous wreck the week before. So much so that The Hubs all but forced a glass of wine on me – breaking my self-imposed abstinence. I finished, because I was trained. In 2016, I was even better trained, but I still was freaking the fuck out. This time though, I knew what to expect and finished 19 minutes faster than the previous year. I struggle with the fact that I spend hours and hours working and sweating and stressing for a 4-hour period on one day. So many things beyond my control can happen that can make or break a marathon, and to put that much faith in the universe, plus your own body, is a mental mind fuck.

I can’t sign for 11 marathons a year to help combat this issue (though some people do that… WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE??). I can, though, keep training that mental muscle through going through the racing motions as much as I can. Maybe if I do two half marathons in two weekends, two months before the marathon, I’ll feel half the jitters that I normally do. We runners are a superstitious bunch…

At the finish of my first Chicago Marathon. A long time coming.

Day 18 – How I Became a Vegetarian

smoothie

One of my go-to veggie meals. Protein and fruit smoothie.

I try not to be one of those “annoying” vegetarians. I typically don’t flat out refuse a restaurant because the only veggie option is literally a side of vegetables. If someone is ordering lunch, I ask if they don’t mind getting a vegetarian option, but I’m not a diva about it if there isn’t one. I know people don’t share my eating habits, and though I wish people ate less animals for a variety of reasons, I don’t typically preach this point of view unless asked.

People ask me if I ever miss meat, and I can honestly say I don’t. I’ll tell you why.

I just don’t like it.

When I would have meat growing up, I was never into it. I rarely finished my meal if there was meat in it and generally preferred other foods. Then, either on a 7th or 8th grade class trip (my memory is notoriously bad with dates), a bunch of us decided we were going to be vegetarians. For some that lasted the trip, for others – like me – it lasted a while.

I was completely meat and fish free throughout high school, and it actually had nothing to do with the restrictive eating I self-imposed from ages 13 – 15. I genuinely had no appetite for it. Not that I really ate vegetables either, but I didn’t miss it.

Going into my freshman year of college, I decided to reintroduce poultry and seafood back into my diet. I figured that I needed protein and we all know I wasn’t going to prepare my own food, so I should get used to eating some meat again. The thought of red meat still grossed me out, so that was still on the no fly list. (And it still is… I haven’t touched the stuff since middle school).

Chicken and turkey I would tolerate, but I did grow a taste for seafood, particularly shrimp, crab and muscles (best… jew… ever…).

About six or seven years ago (again… bad with dates), I had a revelation. I just really, really don’t like meat. My husband would make a chicken breast for dinner and I’d barely touch it, and an hour later would be hungry for non-meat food. It literally was one day just deciding not to eat meat anymore. And I figured I’d throw in fish too, because I don’t like doing anything halfway and I didn’t love it enough or crave it enough to want to have it regularly. My husband has a similar relationship to meat and easily made the decision to join me to create a meat free house.

Around that time, I decided to take a stab at veganism. Like I said, I don’t go halfway. I’d allow myself my Saturday morning bagels with cream cheese and would occasionally have pizza, but 80% of the time I was pretty faithful to no dairy. I’d never felt more energized or healthy in my life.

Then I got pregnant and literally only wanted cheese, so that was the end of veganism. I literally inhaled half a deep dish pizza three days before I found out I was pregnant. #noregrets

This is where I’ll get A LITTLE preachy. The book Eating Animals was an eye opener for me in terms of how the meat industry is regulated and how the conditions that most of these animals endure. It’s not just about my taste preferences. After finishing that book, I knew – with certainty – that I will never eat meat again.

Raising meat for food consumption is an enormous environmental drain. It takes almost 20 times less land to feed someone on a plant-based diet than it does to feed a meat-eater. It takes 10 pounds of grain to produce one pound of meat. The returns just don’t seem worth it to me.

Again, while I would love if more of our world embraced a vegetarian diet, I understand there are family and cultural traditions where meat plays a role. Life is short and people should be able to enjoy food and experiences that they enjoy. I just don’t enjoy meat, therefore I don’t eat it.

People ask me if the smell of bacon makes me want to eat bacon. It doesn’t. It isn’t something that is appealing to me. People ask me if I miss meat or fish. I never, ever crave red meat or poultry. I do miss fish on occasion. We had a sea bass at our wedding that if I had the opportunity to eat again, I would probably go back and forth on eating it. Joe’s Stone Crab was one of my favorite places, but I don’t make it a point to go there anymore – and if I did – I’d have a fleeting, “oh that looks good” thought and then would get the veggie choice.

I am by no means a perfect vegetarian.I could eat cleaner. I eat way more cheese and bread than I should and not enough greens. I eat a lot of pre-packaged snacks and don’t prepare my own meals enough. I eat way more sugar than any healthy person should. I graze, I don’t savor my food. That said, I feel 100% confident that I’m making the right decision for my own health and well-being.

And I promise that will be my only preaching on the topic (maybe).

Day 17 – A Trip Down Memory Lane

I was racking my brain for a post tonight when I started browsing through my “random” photo folder in Dropbox, which features – tellingly – random and embarrassing photos through the years. I thought it would be fun to post some (in chronological order) of them with present-day annotations.

Let’s start with my bat mitzvah, shall we? There are many fun things about this picture. We could start with the cheesy staged photos, the amazing 90s wallpaper, how about the hairdo that at the time I thought was the shit, but looks like a grandma’s from the 60s. Don’t even get me started on those heels.

Look at the mid 90s decor

When I was a senior in high school, I thought I was the shit driving around the city with my friends. We were so cool, that we often videotaped us having amazing and enlightened conversations as I drove around the city. You can tell this is 1999-2000 by the blue sunglasses and the frosted lips. Don’t worry. I’ve posted two of these for your viewing pleasure.

Who didn’t want blue sunglasses?

Just hanging around at a playground, as one does in high school.

Fast forward to college, where naturally there is a plethora of embarrassing pics. First, I share a picture before a fraternity formal my senior year of college. This seems innocuous enough, until you see the upper ear piercing.

The blond hair and purple eyeshadow really make this look

What college experience is complete without an 80s party? Here, I bring you the peak of embarrassment with my costume at the Sigma Chi 80s party. I think I was trying to be Jennifer Beals…

No witty caption will do this justice

Now we enter post-college life with a photo from my hashing days. Hashing is when you run and drink beer – sometimes simultaneously. There are many ceremonies and traditions in each hash club, but one is for new members of the hash to be the drink bitch. This is me pouring shots in a questionable apron. I have a word to pick with anyone who thought the blond hair was acceptable.

Paying my dues by pouring drinks to drunk runners

Hi! Welcome to my 25th birthday. I had recently started dating my future husband and still liked to be social for my birthday. Later that night, I tripped over a curb while carrying a jumbo slice and bruised my leg in a ridiculous fashion. I still have a dent there…

We were oh so young.

It was worth it for the jumbo slice

Here is an unflattering photo from my wedding! Anyone who has been to a Jewish wedding knows that the bride and groom go up into a chair. It’s a big thing. It’s also scary as hell and you are implicitly trusting drunk people to hoist you up, keep the chair even and not drop you. You can tell I’m totally chill about this.

My husband had way more people wanting to carry his chair than mine.

After this, there is a considerable gap between my next overtly embarrassing photo (though I imagine people coming out of the woodwork to tell me I’m wrong). I leave you with this. Taken a week before moving from Austin back to Chicago in 2014. A bunch of us rented a boat, took it to a cove, where we drank and floated in intertubes. I won’t delve into the state I was in, but suffice to say it looked like it was a great time.

This looked like it was fun!

I hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane with me! Tomorrow, stay tuned for more insightful and interesting content.

Day 16 – Brain Swirl and Insomnia

I wouldn’t say I have chronic insomnia, but sleep is not something that comes naturally for me. For one, I hate the quiet. I’m not the most talkative person, but I like noise. I constantly have headphones when I’m in my office – either listening to podcasts or Spotify – because I hate the silence. I always have the TV on in the background when I’m not home, even if I’m not paying attention to it. If the TV isn’t on, then music is.

It’s for that reason, I developed the nasty habit of falling asleep to the TV. I break every rule that people who struggle with sleep aren’t supposed to do. I read on a Kindle Paperwhite and/or play on my phone, while falling asleep to the TV (praise whoever invented the sleep timer). If it’s silent, I’m left to deal with my own thoughts, which in and of itself is an abyss of neverending swirl. That’s what happened last night and the only thing I could do was open my computer to get more work done (as I mentioned it’s a busy time) so I could silence the voice telling me every single thing I had to get done or think about or navigate. Anyone who saw me at work today knows I only got five hours of sleep without even asking.

It comes and goes in waves. I’ll have weeks where I can fall asleep within five minutes, and weeks where it takes me forever. Melatonin helps sometimes, but not every time. Often, I’ll go several weeks on a minimal amount of sleep to function – because I still like to wake up early for exercise – and then will have several days in a row when I’m passed out at 8pm. If I take a nap in the middle of the day, I won’t be able to fall asleep until after midnight. If I happen to wake up for some reason around 4am, that’s it. I’m up for the day and won’t fall back asleep. Brain is already churning. I would say I get a full night’s sleep without waking at some point maybe once a week.

This doesn’t even take into account that I’m a light sleeper. I’ll wake up to any movement or sound, which isn’t ideal when you are partnered up. My long-suffering husband is used to me literally screaming in frustration for him to stop snoring or to get over to his side. I turn into the devil when I’m in a “can’t sleep” phase and I’m woken up this way. He’s a trooper. He also can fall asleep anywhere, anytime.

When our son was a newborn and still sleeping in our room. My lovely partner would get up in the middle of the night to get the baby and bring him to me so I could feed him, and then would return him when he was done because he could easily fall back asleep. I had tried getting up when my son needed me, but moving around aroused my senses and alertness too much that I could never fall asleep after he was done eating. Multiply that by 3 times a night and you have even more of a zombie than the usual new mom.

I know I’m not the only person with sleep issues, and mine are probably mild compared to people who suffer from chronic insomnia. I know I’ll get back to “easier” sleep. I always sleep better the more I run, and the upcoming training season will help with this.

Right now, it’s 8:45 p.m. I’m going to go get ready for bed at 9pm. Wish me luck that I’m asleep by 10pm.

Day 15 – Halfway Done

I feel like I wasted a lot of writing mojo on my post yesterday. So I’m just going to tell you what I’m excited about this week:

  • First race of the season. Shamrock Shuffle 8K. I PRed my last 8K (42:47) at the Turkey Trot and I’m looking forward to kicking off the running season with a bang!
  • Celebrating the Hubs birthday. It’s the night before the race, so I’ll be sticking to a one-drink limit, but hopefully we’ll have a nice meal! Any suggestions?
  • Monday vacay. Technically not until next week, but I need to get through this week first to do it. I’m taking the day off on Monday because I’ve worked three 60 hour weeks in a row and I need a day in front of the TV with my Kindle.
  • Saturday morning bagels. It’s a tradition with my kid that’s about three years running and I look forward to it every week.

Is it sad that I’m only looking forward to four things? Or is that an appropriate amount? Who knows…

Day 14 – What I Did Today

I’m not feeling very inspired to write anything interesting today, so I’ll just recap my day for you fine folks! It’s not often I have a full day of 1-on-1 time with the little guy, so it was different and special enough for me anyway.

6:45amI wake up to the sound of an almost five-year-old screaming “ANYONE!” This is my son’s standard morning greeting. He typically says it when he thinks we’re working out downstairs. I had warned him last night that I might be on the treadmill when he woke up, so to check downstairs if I wasn’t in my room. Spoiler alert: I was not on the treadmill when he woke up. I was in my bed. He usually knocks ominously three times before barging in when he’s awake. I can’t decide which form of waking up I prefer.

7-9:30am. Breakfast, TV and tantrum time. Waffles and bialies for breakfast this morning. For a hot second my Keurig wasn’t working and I was stressing big time how I was going to get caffeine in. If I don’t have it by 9:30, headaches and The Hulk come to play. We watched some PBS Kids and CBS Sunday Morning like cultured people. Then it was time to get ready for swimming. As much as I prepped him for this yesterday, the inevitable freak out ensued. He is terrified of swimming and hates his swimming lessons. We’re trying to get him to at least tolerate the water before camp this summer, but it’s been a struggle. Spoiler alert: We did not make it to swimming.

10am. We leave to walk to Julius Meinl, one of the best places in Chicago to meet some people for brunch. While only 4 blocks away, it will take about 20 minutes because there’s lots to see. We spent five minutes observing a worm in a puddle. The kid asks if he can bring it to school to show his teachers. I tell him that he cannot. We settle on a picture/video. On the walk, we talk about going for a run in the jogging stroller in the afternoon. He seems game.

10:30am. Brunch and more coffee. I get the baked eggs with basil, onions and goat cheese, with sourdough toast and the best coffee. Coop gets a blueberry poppyseed scone with peach jelly. We are very cultured. We also both take way more of our friend’s french toast than is socially acceptable because we are animals.

Books

I posted these on my Instagram story first… Thus the captions.

 

 

12pm. We head on over to visit the recently opened Amazon Books! If I’m buying a hard copy, I try to buy from an independent bookstore, but I also do buy a lot on my Kindle so I was curious to see what the fuss was about. It was pretty neat! Good selection of books, good presentation, decent kids section. You can pay by scanning a bar code and showing it to the cashier, allowing you to basically pay with your online Amazon account and get your Prime discounts. I was into it. There were some weird and obnoxious book selections though…

1pm. After a leasurely walk home, we decided to tackle the afternoon. I change really fast and get the jogging stroller set up for a run outside. HA! Just kidding, that obviously didn’t happen. Do you know what did happen? We read books. Real talk: it’s probably one of my favorite things to do with him. If reading to him now sets him up to be a lifelong reader and lover of books, I’ll consider this parenting thing a job well done.

2pm. I can tell he’s a little beat so I turn something on TV that will most certainly knock him out. Chicago By Boat, hosted by Geoffrey Baer on the PBS app on Apple TV. You guys want to put an almost five year old to sleep? Put on a Chicago architecture program hosted by Geoffrey Baer. It literally works every time.

2-3pm. With Coop knocked out I read and get some work done. I keep the Chicago show on because these programs are incredibly watchable and I regularly say “huh!” aloud when I learn something new. We love these shows so much that we donated $300 to PBS so The Hubs and I can go on an architecture boat tour with Geoffrey Baer this summer. As my kid would say “I’m not kidding!”

3-5:30pm. I’m hitting my stride with some work I need to get done when he wakes up, so I throw him on the computer for some PBS Kids games. He asks if we can keep the Chicago show on (it’s 2 hours). I say “Obviously.” After about 30 minutes the computer game goes off with some protest. He asks to do a Lego dump. A Lego dump is when we roll out a rug and literally dump his entire box of thousands of Lego pieces on to it so he can make an infinite amount of fighter killer bad guy people. I say fine, as long as he plays upstairs by himself for a bit while I finish up my work. He says “Yup! I can do that!” He lasts 20 minutes before coming down. I consider this a win. We talk as I multitask to wrap things up.

5:30pm. I MADE MYSELF DINNER TONIGHT! After ordering way too much pizza last night, I made myself a healthy bowl of farro (made on the stove), broccoli (steamed in the microwave), mixed with beans, salt, pepper and salsa. It was delicious! I made my kid a hummus sandwich with some brocolli on the side. I also give him some farro to try. I tell him that he can have some Trader Joe’s gummies if he tries the farro. #Parenting. I get him to eat it by feeding it to him with the airplane method like a baby. He tries more than I expect him to.

6:30pmWe’re hanging on the couch listening to some music on Spotify. I refuse to listen to kids music if I can help it. As a result, my kid’s favorite songs are I Can’t Feel My Face by The Weeknd, Boom Clap by CharliXCX and Alexander Hamilton from the musical. I feel totally okay about this.

7pm. I tell him its time to go upstairs. He does so with minimal complaint, which is surprising because we’re way under the normal ratio of freakouts for the day. When I tell him its time to clean up his Lego dump, he predictably loses it and meets his freakout quota for the day. I set a five minute timer. It doesn’t work. We negotiate. He really just doesn’t want to totally put everything away so he can play with the Legos in the morning. The only reason I agree to this is because I need something to distract him when I get ready for work tomorrow morning since I’m still on my own. I foresee a freakout when I tell him its time to go to school and to step away from the Legos. This is tomorrow morning’s problem.

7:15pm. Teeth are brushed. PJs are on. We skip bath tonight because he had a really good one last night and I’m all about not trying to ruin this good thing we have going on today. Reading a Magic School Bus chapter book about whales. I agree to read a second chapter because the first one was only two pages. This makes me feel like mom of the year. I mentally prepare myself to run on the treadmill after he’s asleep.

7:30-7:40pm. The “I’m scared, kiss and hug, cuddle, did you know that [insert fun fact here]” dance commences. It was relatively minor tonight as I agreed to hang and cuddle for a few. People say to enjoy these moments because they don’t last forever, and I totally get that. But I also really really like when my kid goes to sleep.

7:40-8pm. Lounge in bed checking shit on my phone. Mentally preparing to run on the treadmill. Spoiler alert: I did not run on the treadmill. I am already hungry because sometimes healthy food is not filling. I eat a PB&J bar from TJs.

8pm-now. Pour myself a glass of wine, throw my kid’s laundry in, put some food away, laugh at the dishes in the sink and the likelihood I’ll actually do them, write this post.

Now-10pm or so. Read, watch reruns of 2 Broke Girls and the start of Seinfeld. Mentally prepare to run on the treadmill in the morning. THIS TIME IT WILL HAPPEN.

So that was my day. And it was awesome.

Day 13 – The Secondary Parent

I bring a lot of strengths to the table as a parent. I’m organized, I read all the books on the importance of sleep and behavioral changes and implement its teachings in our house. I register baseball and swim lessons and other things on time (mostly). I put things in the calendar and am usually good for the 1.5-2 hours I see my son a day (during the week at least).

I am not the primary parent. Even the most equitable of households typically have a primary parent. The parent that spends a bit more time with the kid, is generally a more patient person and isn’t overwhelmed at the thought of a day alone with an almost five year old. You’d think I’d have five years to that, and yet, here we are.

To be honest, The Hubs and I spend fairly equal amounts of time with our kid. He takes the mornings while I work out and leave for work (usually by 7:30). He drops him off at school by 8:30. He picks him up too, but when I get home, it’s my time to shine and he’s my responsibility until bedtime, while The Hubs either works out or naps (sometimes simultaneously!). Weekends are more of the same where we switch off Saturday/Sunday mornings for our designated activities, and the rest is family time. He’s usually good with us individually, and sweet as hell to me when it’s just the two of us. But when we’re all together, it’s no secret who he views as the primary parent. And this doesn’t bother me – usually – because he is the fun one.

The Hubs doesn’t blink an eye at a weekend alone with our kid. I’ve gone on a few girls trips, marched for women’s equality, and it’s literally no sweat. My husband left today for a wedding and comes back on Monday night. My usual reinforcements are unavailable (people either traveling or with lives that don’t revolve around my inability to entertain my child for 12 straight hours).

I don’t usually complain about not having enough time together. I’m adamant that quality time is more important than quantity time. Of course I welcome this opportunity for a good weekend together. In April, I’m taking a full week off work to hang out with him over spring break, which is something I haven’t done since I was on maternity leave. Even that isn’t completely accurate, since my husband was home with me for 85% of my maternity leave, so I was like REALLY spoiled. I am freaking out about this because… WHAT THE FUCK AM I GOING TO DO WITH HIM FOR A WHOLE WEEK.

We have a 50-50 partnership that sometimes skews a bit in one direction or the other depending on the week. I love that The Hubs is such a natural parent. 99% of the time I do not harbor any insecurities or regret over the fact that I’m the type to take my kid to a movie, rather than create some sort of magical activity at home.

All this to say, there are many different kinds of parents and many different kinds of families. Oh, and if you want to hang out with me the week of April 10 or have any tips/ideas, I will do it. I will do it so hard.