Last week I had the good fortune to attend several workshops at the University of Denver during the DU Women’s Conference.
One of those workshops was designed for working moms, led by three working mothers at DU. Let’s just say that the circulating boxes of tissues were vital to this conversation. I sat there with my own tears of guilt and sadness and listened to the stories of so many women who are hurting in the process of finding their balance. Just like me.
The common feelings included fatigue, guilt, loss of self, feelings of alienation, regret that hobbies, housework or self-care fall behind in the priorities of daily life. These feelings are also common among my friends who are stay-at-home moms.
As moms, we often put others first, sometimes at the cost of our own well-being. I know that I do the same, moving through the daily routines until I crash, exhausted and with nothing else to give, night after night, only to go through it all again the next day.
I decided this weekend to interrupt that cycle by inserting a goal (or two) into my life. Although I don’t consider myself an athlete anymore, in another decade before children I ran a marathon. Since the kiddos have been around, I rarely exercise. In my earlier post At 20 or 40, tired is tired, I let you in on the secret that I am going to climb a Colorado fourteener (a mountain of at least 14,000 ft).
I would never do such a thing alone, so I proposed this goal to a neighbor a while back, and she accepted the challenge. This weekend after a 6-mile walk in beautiful Cherry Creek State Park (pictured below), we made the plan. We named our mountain. We will hike Mt. Bierstadt in late summer. Naming the goal has made it more concrete, and I plan to go stare it down in the near future.
My neighbor, unlike me, is a stay-at-home mom, but in our few weeks of training we have realized the impact of working with another mom for a goal that is outside of our family’s needs. To some, that may sound selfish. To me, I think it has everything to do with helping my family. Because it is healing me.
Not only is our regular walking routine improving my mental health through physical exercise, but the return of my confidence and sense of accomplishment is a nice bonus. My family will hopefully be able to see the journey to the summit as proof of what we as individuals can accomplish. I hope that my sons will carry with them the knowledge that women are strong, and that they will treat the women in their lives with respect and maybe a little awe.
Not a person to set just one ridiculous goal, I have been tempted by another friend who threw out an even more outlandish idea last week- what if we trained (in our respective states) for the 2016 Rock and Roll half marathon in Las Vegas in November?
Stay tuned to see if I accept. For now, I am working on hiking and cardio at altitude.
If you do not find running or hiking to be fun and rewarding, the point of this self-involved narrative is that goal-setting is important, but to achieve a goal with a fellow mom doubles the impact. You don’t have to start an organization or swim the English Channel to make a difference in the world or to feel accomplished. Make a difference for yourself and another mom by doing something together and celebrating it.
I’d love to hear what you and your mom friends achieve! Leave a comment if you wish to return later and share.