Rejecting “Good” For “Best”

It is nearly Christmas. But even the soft white glow of tree lights and snow falling softly is not helping me settle. I am wound tight. The stress in my shoulders pounding. My nerves nearly bursting.

“What are you so stressed about?” Chris asks.

Out comes the flood. Last minute gifts! Christmas dinner! Balancing family! Not to mention the articles I’ve promised two different venues! And three gear reviews that need to be done before the New Year!

There were so many “good” things I had committed to doing, now stealing all my joy for the season. Some thing was going to have to change in the new year…

santa on a ski lift

That was four months ago. Today I was asked how managing my stress was going.  “Great!,” I said, “Well, I have sort of ignored the blog for a bit…” At first I felt guilty, then I remembered that I was putting a little more distance between myself and my writing in order to enjoy a better thing – my kids.

Days away from embarking on his second marathon (26.2 miles for running newbies), Chris will tell anyone that training is far more difficult than running the day of the race. Not that race day is easy…My husband learned early in his life as a runner how to ask the right questions. It isn’t, “Have you run a marathon?” The right question is, “Have you trained for a marathon.”

In fact, nearly all of the people I talk to that are embarking on their first triathlon or half marathon journey willingly admit to skipping a large portion of the training runs/rides or swims! Yet they go on to finish, even if they aren’t fast. In a way, a person can fake it. And make it.

And really there isn’t anything wrong with this. (I just don’t get it… I am too insecure in my athletic prowess or too competitive with myself to skip the training part.)

But we can fake a lot of things, can’t we? We can fake it through hard work days, dinner with friends, a trip to the store. We can fake it through spin class, on Facebook, and in front of our in-laws.

But you can’t fake your way through being a parent.

Can't faking parentinghood

Balancing motherhood, home school, and the writing/photographing necessary to run this blog is a hard act. Not to mention my athletic goals which might include a Half Ironman in the next year or two… I’ve received many questions lately on just HOW I manage it all! If you’ve noticed a lack of new and inspiring content, well.. so have I.

It’s on purpose.

There are only so many things I can do well. And (ironic though it is) when life piles up and I am over-committed the first thing that takes a hit is my family. – Whether through my lack of time or my lack of patience. – Last Christmas I decided it was time to change that.

Everyday I have to settle a few issues in my own heart:

1. I cannot do everything.
2. There is nothing wrong with that.
3. I need to keep my priorities in place and let everything else slide off the proverbial table.

I cannot imagine a reality where I look back on 2014 and think, “Well, I had a ton of fun with my kids, watch one discover reading, and another learn to mountain bike. But… I really regret not writing that post that upped my page views by 200 people.”

One of the hardest things about being a parent is learning to say “no”, to ourselves.

Have you ever watching someone train for a marathon? I’ve sat through a few conversations where people quizzed my husband on his daily training. Often they kick back a sly comment, “Oh,  I could do that. I could do an 8 mile run at that pace.”

Yes. But can you do it again tomorrow? And the next day? How about when you haven’t slept? What about 6 days a week, week after week? How about waking hours before the sun comes up, just so your running won’t steal time from your family? What then?

I look at the three sets of big blue eyes peering at me at think, “I can do this.” But how about tomorrow? And the next day? How about when I haven’t slept? What about 7 days a week, week after week? How about when I have to say “no”? Can I do it with joy and without resentment?

Every time I say “no” to something good in exchange for the best, I consider it one more successful ‘run’ logged in my life book. So that hopefully I can execute this parenting marathon in a way I can be proud of.

I cannot fake my way through this one. And I cannot afford to fail.

And there are so many good things to do! But too many good things only steal from the best things. Let us remember what is best. And may we have the wisdom to tell the difference.

Balancing time for parenting

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