A friend of mine asked Ben and I when the babies were around 5 months old what the most surprising thing was about parenthood. We laughed at first and said “how much you talk about poop,” because honestly…that is all we talk about sometimes. But after we thought about it for a minute longer, we both mentioned how life-changing it is to your sense of self. Everyone knows that having a baby (or babies) is life-changing. You know things will never be the same. But until it happens, and time passes, you don’t truly understand how your life is not your own, and will never be the same as it was again. That being said, we don’t want to go back to the way it was without the dudes. We wouldn’t change anything. And we are not unhappy in any way. You just can’t grasp the change until it happens, and even then, it is hard to grasp.
So with this in mind, for the past couple of months we have had numerous talks about being intentional with our time…intentional about our time as a family, couple, and as individuals. And this in itself is hard. Most of the time, time, is fleeting. But as the babies have gotten a little older, there have been two things I have started to reclaim for myself…myself as in Angela…not momma. And to be honest, taking some time back for me, overall makes me Angela, a better momma. So the two things? Trust me, they are no earth-shattering, but they are important.
1. Reading books. I love to read. I could (and have) spend a whole day engrossed in a book. But after the babies were born, it felt like I was wasting my time. I mean, there were babies to take care of, and a house to keep clean, and of course…sleep to be had. But after I gave up the mid-night pump, I realized that I could stay up about 30 minutes after the babies went to bed and still get a full nights sleep. I started off familiar with the Harry Potter series, followed by more popular fiction Gone Girl and Cuckoo’s Calling (apparently I was in a J.K. Rowling mood), and am now back to random stuff from the library and suggestions from friends. It’s only a couple of chapters a night, but it feels good to be reading once again.
2. Running. Hands down, the most important and helpful choice I have made. It wasn’t easy to start again. The only real reason I started was because Miss Jordan and I decided to do the Portland 1/2 marathon (way back in February?) and one doesn’t enter into that distance lightly. It took months of sporadic runs to get back into it…because I was TIRED, and in new motherhood with the running versus nap scenario, nap ALWAYS wins. But as the race drew nearer, and I started to sleep more, AND Jordan started training, Abby-girl and I started hitting the pavement more frequently. Although many days it was (and is) hard to get out the door, running helps me get back in shape (and Abby too), gives me a mental/emotional/physical outlet, lets me have some “Angela-time (no I do not push the babies)” allows me to enjoy the beautiful outdoors, and again, gives me a sense of self. Miss Jordan and I crossed the finish line on Sunday exactly 9 months to the day the babies were born. I am so very proud of my friend who had never run before she started training, and equally, I am happy to have been able to do it with her.
There are still things that I don’t do very often that I used to, such as watch movies, but all things will happen in time. Right now, I am just enjoying my two things…and of course…my family and our new life.