petroglyph family

Running Toward Motherhood

I’m going to be a mom.

Today, I’m in week 22 of what BabyCenter and The Bump and my doctor say should be a 39-week journey, and I’m excited.

Okay. Actually, I’m terrified.

I married my high school sweetheart in 2006. For 12 years, I’ve been perfectly happy working full-time in marketing, hiking remote trails in Utah slot canyons and Washington rainforests whenever I feel like getting on a plane (and can afford it), dashing off to run out-of-town races and working by the glow of my laptop at all hours of the night. Writing a book. Scheduling tweets. Running a charity on the side. I’ve made time for my family, but I’ve never had time for kids.

Then, I turned 35. And a little voice in my head whispered, “What if?” What if I wanted to have kids later and couldn’t? Would I regret it? I’d certainly have enough to stay busy. But would I feel whole? Could I leave a real mark on the world without contributing my DNA?

I think I told my husband I could do this the same day I realized I’d never know the answers to those questions, regardless of whether or not I took the leap.

I don’t regret jumping. But I’m still scared.

I don’t want to struggle to find real balance for the next 20 years.

I don’t want to suffer from mommy guilt if I miss a Kodak moment because I went for a run.

I don’t want to have to always choose between reading a bedtime story or writing my next book.

I don’t want to leave all of the squeeze-through-slot-canyons and hang-from-the-side-of-a-mountain and run-another-half-marathon-blindfolded adventures on my bucket list unchecked.

I don’t want to forget who I am or who I was before I became a mom.

But I also don’t want to miss an opportunity to share this amazing world of ours with my son. To teach him to love the sunlight on his face and the ground beneath his feet. To watch him grow into first a boy, then a man, with his own hopes and dreams and loves and fears.

That’s why I’m scared but excited, too. Why I already call him by the name that we chose for him. Why I wasn’t upset when I ran a half marathon last weekend and took almost 30 minutes longer than normal to reach the finish line. Why I started Pinterest boards to collect cute nursery ideas (I went with a woodlands theme to symbolize his parents’ shared love for hiking) and miniature boy clothes and encouraging quotes.

I don’t think I’ll ever find real balance (a mother friend recently told me that balance is bullshit). I hear myself tell friends that within eight weeks of my due date, I’ll launch a book and run 13.1 miles blindfolded and go back to work, and I know I sound crazy. But here, at 22 weeks, I’m starting to realize that I’m okay with that.

Because I know that no matter how crazy it gets, it will still be the greatest adventure of all.

8 thoughts on “Running Toward Motherhood

  1. Carin Siegfried

    My brother flew on his first international flight at 3 weeks old and visited about 30 countries before he was 5. Hike! Go to slot canyons! Travel! You can take the kid. Don’t let having a child stop you. It’ll all be a terrific experience for him,

    • I love this. When we went out west in February (I was seven weeks pregnant, and we were the only ones who knew), we saw a young couple with their toddler hiking in Buckskin Gulch. It gave me hope. I want my son to see and experience as much as he can. Thanks for the encouragement!

  2. The great thing is that, even though there are sacrifices, you get to choose which ones you make. My choice was to work less after I had kids, leaving time for me to keep my morning runs and run in the grocery store during preschool. Vacations may not have been exotic for a couple of years, but we learned to combine adventure travel with work trips. My kids have flown a bunch and love an adventure as much as we do. As they grow and we learn to share responsibilities, I’m planning to work more and contribute to our shared income more than I have for the last few years. It’s your journey and your responsibility to enjoy it. While I’ve not always known the next step I should take, I don’t regret a day of figuring it all out as a mom.

    • I’ve loved hearing stories from real moms since sharing my own excitement (and trepidation) about having my first child. You’ve helped me believe and understand that life’s adventures won’t come to a screeching halt – they’ll just be different! Best to you as you continue on your own journey.

  3. You’ll figure it out and I suspect you’ll be doing many of the things you currently do, only with a baby strapped on your or your husband’s chest/back. You’ll also have the wonderful added benefit of looking at the world through your son’s eyes and that will entirely change the view into something even more miraculous!

    • That’s the plan! At almost 30 weeks, I’m getting more excited about meeting this little guy and, as you said, seeing the world through his eyes. Thanks so much for the vote of confidence and for reading.

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