Running, smoking… parenting

I feel like being a parent is like running. Or quitting smoking. I try and try and fail, and then one day (hopefully) I succeed. What this success looks like changes day to day. Yesterday it was that nice firm poop that made my day a success. Today it was being able to cuddle Master X for over ten minutes after a very long day at childcare. I still haven’t gone for my run today though, couldn’t find the motivation plus my lactose-free stomach was in pain after consuming a caramello koala at about 4pm. Sometimes it is a wonder that we get anything else done besides being a parent. In fact I would say that my headspace has been all up in the parent zone for the past two days while my body has attended work. By work I mean that which I get paid to do, rather than the two work days I spend with my son for which I don’t get paid.

So I’ve been thinking a lot about this running and quitting smoking analogy a lot lately. Mainly because I have indeed started to run again, beyond the type of running where I dash to get Master X before he damages himself or something, or the mad tripping over my feet as I try to get the house tidied before Mr. A returns home after work. Also it stems far beyond the running I do in my head as my brain spins itself through experiences of anxiety, tearing worn tracks that groove and weave like a snake into a burrow. It has been a hard slog, these last two weeks of running. Amping myself up to even just leave the house as we now knock on Winter’s door in Canberra. I do not listen to music when I run, just get lost in the breath and let my brain cycle amok with thoughts and cycles. I see this as my best therapy, but also my hardest.

And I try to keep going the next day.

But then days like today, I am faced with my brain and body ailments winning. Like quitting smoking. There would be days on my journey to quitting where I would excuse myself and allow myself… just a drag. I’ll just have a drag and then I’ve done it, the craving will still be there, but I’ve placated my yearning. I’ve let myself have a toke on the sweet breathe of death (sorry to any current smokers here). And it does nothing to stop the yearning, in fact it makes it worse. In the same way, missing my run does not make me feel better, in fact it makes the thought of needing to go for my running therapy even stronger. More prominent in my thought patterns.

Stop making excuses.

As a parent there are times where I think ‘opt out. You don’t have to give 100%’ and then I turn the television on. All the hype around not letting kids have too much screen time then blares in my thoughts and I have guilt.

Even when you have it or do it, listen to that negative voice, it does not quieten the ‘should be…’ voice. It is like they are at war. And the pull is endless.


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