There are days when I reckon motherhood could be likened to a marathon, a marathon where you have to battle through wet concrete to merely arrive at the starting line, only to look down and realise that you somehow managed to pull on a pair of thongs, instead of your trainers.
The starting gun sounds and you give yourself a pat on the back for managing to show up, even if you are poorly equipped for the kilometres ahead as, like motherhood, you realise that really, the only way is forward. Blisters and trodden toes be damned. There is no option to turn around and politely decline in favour of a latte and maybe a bliss ball at your local café. The crowd is surging around you, whether you like it or not and to avoid losing your footing and risking death by crazed marathon runner, you allow yourself to be chivvied along.
In my motherhood race, that boisterous, sometimes unrelenting, crowd is my 2-year-old and though I’ve been in the game for 24 months plus now, there are days, weeks sometimes when I feel less than match fit. There is a chance that seasoned marathon runners and my son speak a similar language, generally not understood by yours truly. If birth throws you in the deep end, parenting a toddler is the proverbial diving pool of depth.
While some days I feel confident enough to pin drop off the 10m and paddle over to the edge, there are other days when I have to be coerced to set foot onto the 2-metre board. I generally seem to sit somewhere in the middle, reassured that I’ve put some of the hard yards in, read the books, started a blog, yet there are days when I still wind-up at the beginning of the race, without my shoes and wondering how I managed to get there in the first place.
It’s on those days - when the 17th piece of outdoor drawing chalk has been snapped and there’s a meltdown over my insistence that the dishwasher draw stay IN the dishwasher itself and not be ridden around the house - that I realise that I’m faced with two options: I can be pushed and pulled along at the whim of the crowd, never quite regaining an even footing and feeling kind of murderous about the whole thing - or I can run.
I can choose to put my head down, and run that race in my own way, in my own time. It may not be especially pretty but I can choose the path that I take, carefully navigating around the obstacles in front of me, accepting the challenges for what they are and dealing with them as they appear. I can experience the rush that comes from the rising-up and making the choice to run my own race.
When it comes to motherhood, choosing to show up and make the race your own can make all the difference in the world.
It helps shift your perspective towards the positive. Knowing that you choose to go forward, that whatever happens is based on a conscious decision is somehow reassuring and empowering at the same time.
I choose to run.