There are some days I run this marathon and cross the finish line like a champ. Cue champagne, confetti and cheering. There are other days that I limp across, bruised and blistered (cue a cold beer and a look at my husband that clearly states ‘not tonight sweetheart!) and still other days where I’m carried across that finish line on a stretcher (cue tears, chocolate and more tears).
Lately that seems to be the case. I have a busy toddler and a newborn and feel like most days I’m either limping across that finish line or being carried across. If you ask any runner what the hardest part of the marathon is, they’ll say ‘Mile 20’. Which is odd to me, a non runner. I mean, you’ve run 20 miles already and “only” have 6 more to go. But it was explained to me that the human body can really only run 20 miles without having to stop and refuel – hence why the 20th mile is the hardest. Because runners have to dig deep and just keep moving. Kinda like motherhood.
Right now, I’m in my 20th mile. I’m tired because I have a 6 week old, I’m breastfeeding and have a dog with diarrhea. I’ve just gotten over strep throat, my toddler had an infection in his finger and also had a stomach flu. We’ve had a LONG month.
I’m not going to lie, I hate running, and you probably won’t see me in any marathon. Probably because I’d quit around that 20th mile but quitting on being a mom hasn’t occurred to me. Sure, like most sane women, I’ve fantasizes about going away to a place where I have a king size bed to myself, a handsome well oiled man who will massage me and not ask for sex, unlimited Netflix, a good book and my favorite food just a call away. It’d be great…for a day to two….then I’d miss my babies and want to come home.
You see, that is the curse of this motherhood marathon. From the moment I saw those 2 lines on the pregnancy test it was Ready? Set? HA! It doesn’t matter – GO! And I’ve been running ever since because there was no other option. You can’t quit at mothering.
Being a mother isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s exhausting, painful, messy and exhilarating all at the same time. Many times, I’m pushed to the edge where I throw my hands up and beg for the gurney to carry me to the end of the day. But much like a runner in training, I get up and do it all over again the next day. So on days when life is just so, so hard I remind myself that this is a marathon. I remind myself that this is one day of a long, long run. I remind myself it will get better.
I remind myself that things will get easier as the kids get older. I remind myself to take a deep breath and realize that one day my kids will (please, please)make dinner for me and probably sooner than I want, I’ll reminisce about this 20th Mile.