Respect gives a positive feeling of esteem or deference for a person or other entity(such as a nation or a religion), and also specific actions and conduct representative of that esteem. (Wikipedia def).
Conduct representative of that esteem. Hmmm. So making judgement, perhaps? Specifically, the judgement of others and of your own self. Let’s start with the first- judging others. Have you ever been in line at the grocery store only to catch a glimpse of the toddler in the aisle next to you screaming, “I want this mommyyyyy.” The flustered mother then gives the aforementioned child the prize. You immediately and without reservations think, “Weak.”
About 2 years, and 4 months ago, me and my large belly and even more sizeable notions of parenthood would absolutely have fallen into the trap. What did I know about discipline, wild toddler emotions, exhaustion? Absolutely nada. I was so naive and in love with the ideal situation. I would sing to my child, decorate her nursery and dream of how lovely life would be. Falling down the slippery slope…not dreaming, but idealizing. The greatest thing happened when my world got rocked by a 30 hour labor, pre-pregnancy jeans that didn’t fit for weeks, a 10 mile run 6 weeks after giving birth that hurt more than my first hundred miler, and boobs that inflated and deflated like Lance Armstrong’s ego. Then, I got it. I fully respected and appreciated the life of a parent. All eye rolls came to a halt. At least eye rolls of others. Then, my judgement took a personal direction. I began to doubt myself.
The internal judgement has always been somewhat of a personal trait. The A-type kid in school, never knowing thy own limits, a people pleaser at the expense of myself. Then, came the bout of “you are not good enough.” Where did all my self respect go? I watched other mothers around me stay at home, make homemade Halloween costumes and attend school fundraisers. I participated in all of those things with my child, but was no stranger to buying tinkerbell wings at Target or having Eva make cupcakes that came out of a box. I had guilt for working, for running and again for running. My extended family judged me for trying to run, be a wife, mother and professional. They would tell me to give it up. My husband did not. He supported me, and Eva loved me despite the gluten free boxed treats and actually our little, crazy adventurous life was working pretty well. So why the guilt? Because our life does not reflect most. We don’t fit into a box that comes with a pretty little label. I recognized that would be the case from early on. But it still bothered me. I found myself making justifications. Why? Who cares? Then one day, just this year actually, I had the revelation. Your child doesn’t need the perfect parent. Just a parent that is good enough.
Eva is loved, supported and is flourishing. She’s knows what GU chompies are, and has mud filled shoes from our hikes and adventures and aid station based time-outs, but that is what will make her independent and unique. So wait, I’m not a bad parent after all? I guess I can say, no. I am working on letting my idealist ways go by the way side and chilling out. This is a daily battle for me. But I am getting there. To learn to tune out your own negative thoughts and the judgement of others is so freeing.
What about the runner in me? Why I have doubted her for so long? In the same vein as a parent with self doubt, comes the self doubt as a runner. I have taken my time as an ultrarunner. I ran for 5-6 years with absolutely no agenda, no schedule, sometimes no training and just had fun bathing myself in a supportive, lively community. Ultimately, in ultrarunning, the lack of judgement and feeling of respect is what drew me in right from the go. So what happened? FEAR. I realized there was more in me than I had ever given myself credit for. I was scared. I didn’t think I belonged in the front of the race- I doubted me and I let it put me where I thought I should be. I respected other runners but didn’t respect myself. I also didn’t respect that I deserved to do well. PRESSURE. I let the pressure of needing to prove something,mostly to myself, ruin more than one race. Its a huge transition to go from casual runner to competitive runner. It took time and I respect that process. I’ve also said that in prior posts, I must stay flexible with my expectations. As one continuum of a linked existence, I must realize many nights are sleepless, training can come and go, and the A type girl in me must let go. OVER IT. Now, that little devil sitting on my left shoulder gets flipped the bird quite often. I tell it to shut the hell up and let the flow of the day, of my legs, of my breath take over. You can do well, but only if you allow yourself to. You can quite literally derail all of your training if you don’t believe in yourself and respect your ability. I am my own worse critic. Always have been, always will be. But becoming a mom, has allowed me to step back and learn that you only need to be good enough. And to laugh at what life throws at me. And that deserves some respect.
There are some other amazing blogs to go check out: