29 May 2010
JUST a mom.
After my super Zoo day last weekend, I've been thinking that I'm pretty good at this whole mom thing. But, is that even anything I should be proud of? I'm JUST a stay at home mom after all. Hell yes it is something I should be proud of! I might not have any other influence on the world. I might not provide a steady added income to my household. I don't get up every day and head off to do something that makes a difference in the lives of others. It's an accomplishment if I am even out of my pajamas by 1 pm. But, really I am happy and proud to be what I am. Why must some people talk down to me about "what I do" like I am worthless? What I do, and what countless other stay at home moms do is hard work and has more of an influence on future generations than a lot of people think! No offense to any veterans out there, but I get more joy out of being a mom than I did the whole time I was in the Air Force.
I woke up today at 5:30 am, left the kids in bed at Amanda's, and ran nine miles to train for a half marathon that has motivated me to raise $750 for a great cause! That is a huge accomplishment for me. It's not just the running or the fund raising, but it's a big deal for me to even get out of bed that early on a day in which I don't have to wake up with four kids! It's not that I need praise for what I'm doing, but I would appreciate it if people wouldn't make me feel badly about it! After training this morning, I was met with the dissatisfaction of another runner who has just started to train for the Nike Women's marathon in San Fransisco this fall.
I don't even know her name, she didn't introduce herself directly to me before she asked me why I wasn't going to do the Nike marathon. I told her that I had barely been able to make the practices for this training season due to the kids, Brad's schedule, and TNT's rules against training with a stroller. I added that it would be hard for me to fund raise the amount required to do that race with Team In Training because the fund raising minimum is much higher due to the required travel. She asked me what I did. I told her I was a mom. She said, "So, you're just a mom? You don't do anything?" She said it in a way that made me VERY defensive. She said it like she couldn't understand how some unemployed homebody couldn't find time to fund raise or train. I think I wanted to be mad, but instead I was embarrassed. I was sitting right next to an almost 80 year old man who has completed countless marathons and other races with TNT because he lost his daughter to Hodgkin's Lymphoma when she was 18. I felt like complete crap for saying, "I can't fund raise that much," and "It's hard to train with my schedule," right in front of him. But honestly, it WAS hard to raise $750 this time around...and without a job I don't even have coworkers to solicit donations from!!! And, it HAS been hard to train having four kids eleven hours a day, and a husband that is forced to work a disgusting schedule! I am PROUD of what I HAVE done, but she took that all away and my pride just disappeared.
In my embarrassment, I started spouting out justifications.
"Well, I've been watching my sister's kids too."
"My husband's schedule barely allows me to train, much less travel for a race."
"Half of the required fund raising for that race is just to cover air fare and lodging anyway, when I could fly there and stay there for free."
I didn't even bother mentioning that I have NO desire to run 26 miles EVER. I felt like an idiot, because none of what I was saying sound like a valid reason to not raise more money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Then, this woman said, "So your husband is in the military? Can't he help you raise money?" You know, since he has a job and has so much more worth than me this was a totally valid question (gag me). I explained to her that it is against the rules to solicit for donations in his work place, due to the rank structure (lower ranking folks would feel pressured into it by the higher ranking folks and what not). She then took on a weird tone of voice and said, "Well, the military ought to do something for this. They are not exempt from these diseases, you know." I thought that was a very awkward thing to say. Duh! No one is exempt from these diseases! And half the people involved with Team In Training are affiliated with the military, so I don't know what her deal was. If any one of those people thought that they were exempt or even didn't care, they would not have been there! I was there! How could she make me feel like I didn't care when I was there? She was there too, so she can't be all bad. But, I don't think running marathons for charity is something someone should do if they are just going to make other people feel like crap for not doing it. I'm sure she had some good intentions, and maybe she was just using some strange technique to try to motivate me, but I felt very judged and left with zero desire to follow in her footsteps.
Everyone else I have met through Team In Training has been amazing. Even if they think I am annoying and that I talk too much, they pretend like they like me anyway. They have made me feel welcome even though sometimes I don't exactly feel like part of the team due to my absences. They make me feel like they appreciate what I have accomplished (even if it doesn't amount to much, it amounts to something). There has been no guilt or pressure to sign up to train for another race with them. This one random woman was able to make me feel so guilty with her small judgments. I should have just been able to brush them off, but instead I tried to defend myself to her. That failed. I'm pretty sure that when I was done trying to defend myself she thought even less of me. Ugh.
Oh, well. Besides Brad's schedule, the fund raising, the travel, the distance and my busy or not-so-busy mom life, I now have another reason to NOT train with TNT for the Nike Women's Marathon. And, I don't even know her name.
I can still donate my garage sale proceeds to LLS and make difference without begging all my face book friends for money for the next 6 months!
By the way, it's not too late to donate for the Hibiscus Half Marathon! :D