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March 8, 2012

On Running and Motherhood

On Running and Motherhood

In honor of the fact that the fabulous women at Another Mother Runner asked to profile me, I thought I would dedicate this post to my kids.

I have been called a lot of things in my life:

Jackie, Jacquie, Jacqueline, Jac, JJ (oh, please no…), Dr J (laughable given that I am all of 5 feet), Dr Jacques.

Friend, Girlfriend, Sister, Wife, Ex-Wife.

Student, Teacher, Author, Expert.

I am sure I have been called a number of less savory things too…but maybe we’ll go there another day.

There is no title I am more proud of than Mommy.

I have two boys, 10 and 12. And like most any other moms I think they are the most amazing perfect wonderful people ever born unto this Earth. (Except for when they aren’t)

I almost forgot Perfectionist. Probably no one else has called me this, but inside, there is part of me always pushing for perfect, and she is loud. I fight a regular battle against this part of me. It is mostly an internal contest of sorts that quietly rages against that super-undefeatable opponent called Real Life. The Perfectionist more and more often throws up her hands and forfeits. She almost always loses, but she keep trying.

I have been able to forfeit the perfection game much more easily in almost every part of my life than in motherhood. I have had to do this to keep my sanity. Back when I was young, it was ok to take the time to arrange my books by size and color, to spend a whole day planning and preparing a meal, to clean every nook and cranny of my house in a way that might make Martha Stewart happy. I used to iron my sheets.

But somewhere along the road life got busy. I went to medical school, I got married, I got divorced, I started a career, I helped to start a successful business. And in there I had 2 babies and I wanted – more than anything – to the THE PERFECT MOM.

And because I am only one person, I sort of failed at that every day – at least in my heart.

Let me put it this way: I realized one day that maybe I would actually be a better mom if I stopped trying to be a perfect one.

Sara Bowen Shea asked me a couple of direct questions about how I manage my life as a single mom. I guess the best answer I have these day is this:

I remember to always love my kids first. I make every effort to be there when I can and to make sure they are well-cared for when I am not. I try to be fully present in all the moments when I am present – to cheer at the games, to make breakfast and pack lunches, listen when they talk, to hold them when it hurts, to hug and kiss them goodnight. I don’t let guilt over my busy career drive my decisions and I hope that at the end of the day even when I am imposing the rules and I have tears and someone says they hate me that they feel all the love I have for them and that that thing – that Love that is bigger than everything else and wants to be the perfect mom in every moment – is what they feel.

Kids, of course, notice everything, They know what games you were at and which ones you missed. They remember every time I didn’t call at bedtime because I was in a late meeting. They know that I am the mom who almost never gets to a parent meeting, doesn’t chaperone, and sometimes misses the school play. They remember, and because they are amazing people, they forgive me.

So trust me here, like every crazy-busy single working mom out there, I weigh every minute. When I decided to start running I definitely had the thought “how can I take even 10 more minutes away from my kids?” And then I thought:

Part of my job as a mom is to show them how to care for themselves by setting a good example. We eat well, we have enforced bedtimes, we don’t watch too much TV – we live a really healthy lifestyle. But in fitness – well – for a lot of years, by boys were setting the example for me.

In some way, there is part of me that is running to show my boys that I can.

This happened the other day: I went to buy new running shoes and my 12 year old asked if he could buy some too. Are you going to start running? I asked him. I might run with you, he said. Sold. He may never run with me (mostly I think he wanted then because they are bright blue with a neon orange swoosh…), but hearing him say it broke my heart a little.

This also happened: I dropped my boys at school the other morning, and after the car doors were shut and I was preparing to drive away, suddenly my ten year old was banging on the window. I opened it.

What’s up Buddy? I asked

I just really needed an extra hug and kiss, he says.

So I give one and I get one and he runs off with a smile.

And I cry. You have to be doing something right to get that.

So whatever I get called in this life, the title I choose is Mommy.

I might take on new titles – maybe even Runner – one day.

But for today, this is enough.

Jacqueline

(Also today – for those of you following along, I am off to Italy and Austria. Maybe some pictures coming of running in Venice or the Alps….)

 

 

 

6 Comments

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  1. Ronda H.
    March 8, 2012 at 2:48 pm #

    As a fellow working mother of a 10-year-old son, as well as a 17-year-old daughter, I thank you for this post. It was just what I needed this morning. Enjoy your trip abroad!

    • Jacqueline Jacques
      March 8, 2012 at 7:08 pm #

      Hi Rhonda,
      Thank you for visiting the blog and for your comments.
      All of us busy moms occasionally need a reminder that good enough is sometimes good enough. My 10 year old read the post this AM and said “oh mommy, you are too hard on yourself – you’re a great mom. I love you so much!” Best reminder in the world.
      Jacqueline

  2. nordictk
    March 8, 2012 at 7:00 pm #

    This even made a Dad’s eyes become a little moist….

  3. Dawn
    March 9, 2012 at 1:14 am #

    Isn’t it just the best feeling when your kids say thank you and let you know that they appreciate all you do for them? :-). It makes up for all the other times we feel taken for granted…I get so caught up in ‘doing life’ that I guess I sometimes take them for granted too… LUUUURRRRRRVE my kids…(all 4 of them)
    Have a great trip, I would LOVE to go to Italy. 🙂

    Dawn

    • Jacqueline Jacques
      March 9, 2012 at 9:40 am #

      Thanks Dawn!
      Just landed in Frankfurt…getting close

  4. Nancy
    March 11, 2012 at 5:05 pm #

    i am so incredibly proud of you in every way, but MOST of all I am proud of the mommy you are to your boys. I love you, mom