Weekly Workouts in Parenting
My weekly schedule for running typically includes a long, slow distance run, a speed or tempo run, and a middle-distance, middle-speed day. I’m a routine-oriented person, so it’s pretty reliable that these days fall on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, each week, barring any major changes in my son’s preschool schedule, or my own work routine.
The parenting routine is a little less predictable. It does, however, parallel the run workouts in a few ways. Each week contains some mix of the following:
The Speed Workout: Get up and get dressed, we’re going to be late to school! How fast can I make this PB & J sandwich for his lunch while encouraging him to hurry up and finish his oatmeal? Get your shoes on, get in the car! Drop him off at school, grab a latte, then rapid-fire grocery shopping, workout, school pickup and a haircut for kiddo. Drop off overdue books at library, head to Tae Kwon Do, then throw together something like a healthy meal for dinner; cleanup, bedtime…And I’m spent.
Middle Distance Day: Not so many errands to run, just a steady diet of housework, helping the kiddo with homework, etc. (Seriously? Homework at the preschool level? Yep, it’s true!) Hubby’s home on time, so making dinner is a little less rushed (and he puts kiddo to bed!) Pleasantly tired but not exhausted by the end of the day.
The Long, Slow Distance Day: Husband gets up early and heads out for a full day of work; a dinner meeting that night means I won’t see him until after the kiddo’s asleep. No school today…What will we do to entertain ourselves? A trip to the park, a stop off at the grocery store…Back home for lunch, and the kiddo’s afternoon whining corresponds with my afternoon fatigue; a little “quiet time” in his room and a little TV time for me restore us slightly, and we spend the rest of the afternoon coloring, playing with Legos, and passing the time until dinner. The pre-dinner hour brings another bout of the whinies, which I do my best to ignore, though eventually they result in a timeout and some tears. Dinner improves the little guy’s temper, and pretty soon it’s time to get ready for bed. The stall tactics and foot-dragging bring me to the brink of losing my temper, but eventually he’s in his pajamas. Story time, and then he’s tucked into bed…And tucked in again, 10 minutes later. Finally, all is quiet. I collapse on the couch in exhaustion.
Comparing the challenge of running to the challenge of parenting is no contest; parenting taxes me emotionally and physically, and often leaves me feeling worn out, as opposed to running, which generally leaves me either energized or pleasantly fatigued. But there is one major similarity: all this hard work is going to pay off eventually…Isn’t it?