Montreal Runner Mom

Mommy. Runner. Blogger. Writer


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Race to find TIME

Okay parents, let’s be real. Many of us feel like we can’t take the time we need for ourselves because of our spouses, children, parents, home, work, business and 5 million other commitments. I have had this mentality my whole life but it became much more prominent once I became a mom.

I did try to make it all work but more often than not I failed. I would make a plan for my day or my week that included special scheduled “me time”. For me that meant, exercise, meditation, reading, writing and occasionally when the kids were babies…sometimes it even meant a nap (!) More often than not though, despite my good intentions I would cancel “me time” because I felt I had other bigger more pressing commitments to attend to. Then after I didn’t follow my own plans, I would berate myself and become more and more frustrated with the lack of TIME.

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I always blamed TIME. There was never enough time to work out for an hour, then shower AND wash my hair! That meant at least 1.5 to 2 hrs of TIME! Read for fun? Yes this used to be one of my favorite things to do when I was younger but now? There was definitely not enough time for that unless I was on vacation maybe and even then! Now I had to get the kids ready and off to school, clean the house, do the laundry, visit extended family, put in hours and hours a week on managing our family business, prepare for and teach multiple classes a week, maintain friendships, attend school plays and shows, do homework with my oldest, play with my youngest,Β the list goes on. Not to mention feeling guilty about not making scrapbooks and scouring Pinterest for hours designing little mementos that will document each moment of my precious little ones lives. Hmmm…and what about spending some quality time with the husband?

Then I realized this needed to stop. One of the first times that it dawned on me that my priorities needed to change was when I realized that my day was being spent dictated to me by other people. I would make a plan for my day and it would all go to waste when I would open my email. I have multiple email accounts: the main company email, my personal business email and my personal/family email. Each one would be filled with anywhere from 10-50 emails and at least 80% were marked URGENT by the sender. Everyone wanted an answer and a solution to their questions and problems. Then there were the phone calls and voicemails…..

Needless to say I never got anything done for myself and I would always cross everything that I had planned to do off my list because of other people’s priorities. Now this doesn’t mean that I condone not maintaining or following up on your responsibilities. However I have finally after much trial and error come up with methods that works for me and hopefully can help out those of you who feel like you are also struggling to manage it all.

I did a lot of research, read a lot about self-development and drew from the teachings of people like Tony Robbins, Tim Feriss and Jim Rohn. I say I drew from their teaching because the reality is that they give lots of great advice but they are not living their daily lives as a busy working mom of young kids. So I had to adapt and try out different techniques to see what worked and what didn’t.

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Here are some of the concepts that I have applied to my daily life

PERSONAL

I no longer come last. Yes I said it. I come first. That’s hard to say as a mom, I know. Reason being is that if I do not have my “me time” I am just not the best mother and wife that I can be. I must spend time outside. I must run. I must write. I must read. Notice that these are not SHOULD’S but MUST’S.

However I’ve also learned that I can’t do it all each day. So now I made a schedule and I alternate. Running & stretching one day, yoga & meditation the next. Some days I nix both and just read or write. In a perfect world I could spend the first 4 hours of my morning doing all these activities but that’s not reality. So I pick one of my MUSTS each day and do just one BUT I make sure to be deeply grateful for it.

  • Choose 5 minutes a day to turn off all distractions and be grateful
  • Find at least 30 minutes a day to do one of your MUSTS -maybe that 30 minutes is in the morning before everyone else gets up or maybe it’s late at night. Find your time, it’s there waiting for you if you look. Make YOU a priority. I guarantee no one will self-combust because of it πŸ˜‰

FAMILY

I used to be distracted all the time and never really focused on being in the moment. I have learned that putting my phone on silent and focusing on finger painting with my little one, or encouraging the kids to talk about their day at the dinner table has changed everything. Sometimes putting a hold on the rushing around and letting the kids play outside just a little longer or stay up just a little later is not just okay but amazing and beautiful. Making the effort to get a babysitter and go out with my hubby or meet up with friends even when I am tired and would rather just go to sleep is so very worth it. You can change your state of mind or state of being in an instant.

  • Instead of asking myself “Do I really want to go/do etc…?” I ask myself “What if I couldn’t?” What if I was incapable of even considering these options due to sickness, old age or worse? After pondering that thought, the answer is always YES! Let’s GO!

WORK

I no longer work harder and longer but I do work smarter. I prioritize according to MY description of what is urgent not other people’s. The reality is that some issues are time sensitive but many other are not. Turns out that people can wait and will not explode if they fail to receive an answer in 2 hours or less! In fact as long as you are clear about your response time turn around, most people can wait up to 48 hours or more.

I no longer check my email first thing in the morning, late at night or constantly throughout the day. Email is a fabulous tool but it can also be a nightmare that sucks up all your time without you even realizing until it’s too late. I schedule specific times and I limit the time spent answering. If I can make a phone call instead of email, I will. It’s faster and provides a much better source for communication.

What have been some the consequences of these new additions in my life?Β 

  • I no longer let high maintenance people, social media and tv waste my valuable time.
  • I go to sleep earlier
  • I am actively pursuing my MUSTS each day
  • I feel calm, relaxed and more appreciative of each moment of my day
  • I have less stress and less feelings of not being “enough”
  • I have more self-confidence and happiness and enjoy sharing it with others
  • I feel like I am in a constant state or learning and growth
  • I have discovered a sense of wonder in everyday moments

My self development journey has many facets to it. Running and writing are some of the bigger ones for sure but by far the most important one is the realization was that TIME didn’t need to be found. It was always there waiting for me. I just needed to know where to look.Β 

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#GoRunnerGo Β πŸ™‚


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Cross Training for Parents 101

This past weekend we finally had some “mild” weather….

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Dressed for “mild” weather

With this lovely weekend forecast, hubby and I decided to take the kids sledding on the mountain. It has been such a cold winter that we really haven’t had the opportunity to enjoy many outdoor activities. So when given this opportunity, we went for it! We anticipated a lovely day of sledding on the mountain with a few hot chocolate breaks in between.

We definitely got what we wanted….and as always with kids, we got more….much more!! Β πŸ˜‰

Mistake #1

Walking from the car to the mountain was equivalent to marathon distance for a 3 and 6 year old waddling in snow gear.

Kids: Are we there yet? Are we there yet?

Us: Yes!! This is it guys, we are here!!

Kids: Then why are we still walking??

Mistake #2

It did not occur to us to put a rope through the sleigh in order to pull them back up the mountain.

As we passed other families pulling their smiling little ones on sleighs, our kids just stared at them and then gave us the evil eye as they exclaimed…Mommy! Daddy! Look at THOSE kids!!! Look what THEIR parents did!

Mistake #3

Picking Chloe up the first time meant picking her up EVERY TIME. If we did not comply she promptly fell face down into the snow…possibly on purpose?? And once she was down, Zach followed…before we knew it we were all down….

Chloe: Mommy?!Β Mama?! Daddy?! UP!!!!

Zach: Me too?? Pleeeeeeeeease!!!!

Us: No. Let’s all lie down and nap.

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No one wants to get up so maybe we should just make snow angels?

Mistake #4

Leaving the snacks in the car.

Within 5 minutes of getting to the top, both kids announce they are hungry and want a snack.Whaaat??? Seriously guys? No joke, they had eaten nonstop during the entire 20 minute car ride it took to get to the mountain.

Unexpected Bonus: Cross Training!!

Fabulous full body workout trekking up the mountain carrying 35lbs of little girl πŸ˜‰

(Minor) Drawback

I carried Chloe a few times, then like a good wife passed the duty on my husband. He was NOT impressed!

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Cross Training for Parents 101

Despite the craziness and a few difficulties, we really did have a great time. We got in some unexpected workouts (!) and we were all 1000% EXHAUSTED by the end.

And there’s nothing better than enhancing exhaustion with a massive hot chocolate sugar overload….

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Awesome Parenting Tip #25: Exhausted kids? Give them a cup of sugar and let the fun begin πŸ˜‰

Only one thought remains….we have done our duty as parents and encouraged our children to enjoy the great Canadian outdoors. Skating was checked off the list and now sledding too. Yay!

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So can SPRING hurry up already????? I am sick of this winter wonderland!!

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#GoRunnerGo Β πŸ™‚


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Valentine’s Day

What does Valentine’s Day mean to you? Is it chocolate and flowers? A romantic dinner for two? DIY Valentine’s cards that took 2 hours to make for your child’s school friends? Or just a random warm and fuzzy commercial reason to help us get through the most arctic month of the year?

For my family it’s definitely all of the above but also a little more…. Yes, the hubby and I will go out for a nice romantic dinner. Yes, our little ones for weeks now, have eagerly been anticipating a chocolate, heart and teddy bear filled day. And yes, it is a super commercial excuse to buy junk we don’t need. Doesn’t mean we won’t participate a little though…after all it is also just plain old fun πŸ™‚

Despite all this, I would also like to propose a little more. Maybe this year in addition to the typical Valentine’s celebrations, we could actually take a moment to teach our children that it’s more than just chocolate and flowers.

This is a great opportunity to show our kids that love comes in many forms. Family love, friendship love, romantic love, love for the activities and ideas we are passionate about, love of nature and so much more!

So this year, I will encourage my little family to do the following:

  • Tell a friend why they love and appreciate them
  • Call a grandparent and let them know they are loved
  • Remember and acknowledge the love they had for someone who is no longer in our daily lives.
  • Identify the things they love most about themselves and about the world around them.
  • Remember to love with their words and their actions all year long, not just on this cinnamon heart filled weekend πŸ˜‰
  • Look for unconventional sources of love in our community and around the world. It is important to teach children that all love is beautiful even when it is different from our own.

No matter how many things differentiate us from one another, the one thing that binds every single human being on this planet together is love. We all want to love and be loved. Even though we are bombarded daily with news stories and images of atrocities world wide, each and every person wants the same thing. Love.

So from my little corner of the world to yours…Happy Valentine’s Day! May you be surrounded by the ones you love and pass on some love to others too.

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#GoRunnerGoΒ  πŸ™‚


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Kids and Competitive Sports

A topic that comes up a lot in my life is kids and competition. There seems to be two camps and I see both within my job as a dance studio owner and also as a mom. There are the ultra competitive families who are in it to win at all costs and there are those who just want their kids to have fun. That second group often wants to compete as well but they want to do it for fun…sometimes I even wonder if it’s just for the prestige of saying they or their children are competitive athletes….

Competition just for fun? Sure it’s fun but I believe there has to be more to it than that.

When I started running, I knew instantly that I would race. It wasn’t even a question in my mind. The major reason I enter races is because I need to feel that I am in a constant competitive state with myself in order to improve. Every race has as a goal to beat a previous race time. Nothing else. Yes it’s fun, yes it’s exciting but there is a purpose. The purpose is become a better runner with every step I take. Running is a competition against myself but without the competitive environment of a racing, I believe it would be so much harder for me to improve.

In terms of my dance students I believe it should be the same. If you are going to be in any competitive sport, dance or otherwise, it should be because you have as a goal to achieve your absolute best. And that takes WORK. Serious hard core work. Work means sacrifice and sacrifice is not always fun. However the results are πŸ™‚

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I once had a client who told me that when her children were young she felt that they weren’t naturally competitive enough. They didn’t seem to strive to be the best they could be in anything. Knowing the best way to lead is by example, she took matters into her own hands. She signed up for a triathlon. Just like that. A triathlon. She had been athletic in high school but now she was a regular mom with a job and 3 kids. She began the training and had her kids watch as much as possible as she ran around her neighborhood, swam laps in her pool and biked everywhere. She even found the previous year’s winner online and showed her kids the winning time to beat.The kids timed her, encouraged her and were there at the finish line cheering her on. She was so determined that she even made the podium at the race. She wanted to show her kids that as much as anything is possible, it also takes a serious amount of hard work to achieve something big.

My client told me this story backstage at a dance competition moments before her daughter was to go onstage. Her daughter was by far one of the most naturally competitive kids I have ever taught. This lovely little girl also had a brother who was a competitive hockey player and a sister who was a competitive swimmer. All three kids were academically competitive and successful as well. It was amazing to see how the experience of watching their mom train and compete in a triathlon years before had really shaped their outlook on life.

This is what it comes down to….hoping and wishing for good luck do not bring success. Incredibly hard work and pushing yourself to your limits do. Competition is a good thing for everyone because it pushes you to be the best you can be. I really believe that if children learn to be competitive in sports at an early age, they will carry that through into their adult lives and careers. However they also need to be taught that being competitive is not always going to be fun and games and actually that is the most important part of the lesson.

I found my client’s story to be incredibly inspirational. It is the reason I want my kids to see me run and be there at every finish line that I cross. I want them to know that it takes hard work but that the rewards of being competitive in sports or anything else are what give you the results and ultimately the life you want. When my children are a little older and they find something they love to do, I will wholeheartedly encourage them to pursue it competitively in order for them to learn what I believe to be are some very valuable life lessons.

What’s your take on kids and competition?Β 

#GoRunnerGoΒ Β πŸ™‚