Today's guest post is by Ariana of Lightning Bug Literacy. ___
Let me ask you: do you remember life before kids? I sure can’t. I do know that as soon as my little girl was placed into my arms for the very first time, my life changed instantly and I willingly gave up nearly everything I had known before, and have never looked back.
However, I have hung onto one very special part of my life that has allowed me to keep my sanity. Chocolate? Oh yeah. That, too! No no. Somehow, in this very busy life called motherhood, I’ve managed to make running a priority. Yes – I know, running doesn’t sound very enjoyable, but when you can no longer even shower or use the bathroom without a child by your side, anything goes!
The other day, when it was too hot for cactus to grow, I found myself chugging along in a “hills” workout on the treadmill. Before long, I was trapped and quite amused in a string of thoughts running through my mind, as I was discovering the many ways that motherhood was like a race … I'm thankful my feet weren’t following my thoughts. From planning and preparing, proper nutrition, and race day … all the way to the finish line and receiving your finisher’s medal. My love/hate relationship with running became strangely intertwined with my feelings toward motherhood.
Let’s skip to the good stuff and jump straight into the race; or as mother’s know the big event, Labor Day”. The training, preparation, special diet, and so much more… is over, the time is now. Your heart is pounding, the contractions are coming! At first, when the gunshot starts the race or you hear your baby’s first cry, it’s exhilarating. Adrenaline kicks in and despite the fact that you probably didn’t sleep the night before, whether it be for excitement over the race or, uh, labor, you are somehow on fire! Life is perfect and you can go on and on and on forever.
Until you reach that first hill. When the adrenaline of that precious newborn wears off and he stops sleeping at night. Then it’s not so fun, and you’re not sure you’re gonna make it. And then you do! Life is good now … all smiles as you continue to cruise along and realize that the hill you just mastered was merely a small pebble to step over to train you for the much larger hill just up ahead. It seems those “hills” just keep getting bigger and bigger, or maybe you’re just getting more fatigued. Either way, you would gladly go back and redo the hill you just ran instead of that monster that’s coming up, because that one that seemed like it was tough before, now seems like a walk in the park.
In motherhood, these hills might be a nasty cold, temper tantrums, a child learning “no!”, potty training, or many, many other situations that any mom is almost guaranteed to encounter.
As mothers, and more importantly, as daughters of God, we are called to “run with endurance the race God has set out before you” (Heb 12:1). What an exciting thought! We are given a purpose to fulfill; that of motherhood, which at its highest calls us to “run in such a way as to get the prize”(1 Cor 9:24). As a mother and/or as a runner… there will always be another hill just up ahead. Some are visible and you can somewhat prepare for them, but some are hidden around the corner and smack you in the face unexpectedly. These hills are put in our way for a reason. To grow us as mothers, to grow our children, and to strengthen our endurance and physical/emotional/spiritual strength. The great thing about hills is that though they really stink to go up, they always have a descent.
What I’ve learned through both of my children, especially my “absolute-two” year old, is that though hills may appear to be scary and are definitely uncomfortable, the only way to get through them is one step at a time, one foot in front of the other. Sometimes you need to stop, stretch, take a breath of refreshing air or a sip of water to re-energize (meaning make a mom’s night out a priority), but eventually, you will succeed and make it to the top. Then you can turn around, look back down at the hill you just conquered, flex that muscle and know that you. are. mommy.
Slip on your mommy shoes, and know that God is on your side. Every step of the way, whether it’s smooth sailing, a steep hill, or slippery slopes … He is with us always, holding us up and most importantly, will meet us at the finish line.
Ariana Hall is a former elementary school teacher, turned stay at home mom of a vivacious and energetic toddler and a brand new baby boy who joined their family in August of 2010. Ariana has worked with children of ages newborn through elementary school since 1998, all the while earning a B.A. in Elementary Education and completing all coursework for an M.S. in Elementary Education, specializing in Reading and Mathematics Education. Currently Ariana is enjoying a quiet life with her husband, 2 little people, and 2 dogs in Broomfield, Colorado, occasionally serving as a birth doula, natural living and childbirth educator, and baby sign language instructor. Ariana loves to run, journal and spend time with her family enjoying the beauty of Colorado.
You can find her at Lightning Bug Literacy