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Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Emerging from the Mom Cave

Mom Cave - a place of hibernation that a mom goes to for an unforeseen amount of time while raising her small children.

I have emerged from my Mom Cave. I took residence in my Mom Cave for 7 years. There were times that I thought it was time to venture out. I would come creeping out of the shadows, only to realize that the sun was a little too bright and I wasn't brave enough or strong enough to emerge, yet.

But then one day it happened. It was two weeks before my 34th birthday and I knew I was ready. How? My love and passion for things I had before kids started to rise up again. I was a runner in my pre-mom life. I loved the freedom of running. The sound of my feet hitting the pavement. The challenge of pushing myself further and further. The feeling of being out of breath and the sense of accomplishment that came at the end. Where had this woman gone? She'd been holed up in her Mom Cave for far too long and was getting entirely too comfortable.

It started that April with a little run that was miserable and hard and hot. Everything inside of me wanted to stop and I fought the mental battle the whole 2 miles I could muster finishing. Fast forward a few months and I decided that in order to keep my momentum I needed to sign up for a race. I went big and signed up for a half-marathon. I completed that half marathon last month and it was one of the most fun, enjoyable, glorious moments of my life. I had accomplished something for myself...something I had neglected to do for far too long. It felt amazing. I worked hard for it. I was dedicated. I had a goal and finished.

What my emergence from my Mom Cave taught me was that it is vital for mothers to take time for themselves. I knew this and would talk about it among my mommy friends over the years, but sadly I wasn't doing it. We all knew it, but most of us didn't pursue taking the time to do that for ourselves. Since I began my journey back to pursuing my love of running and being active, I have become a better me. Not only for myself, but for my family and friends. I'm a better mom, a better wife, a better friend, a better daughter, a better sister and simply the me that I had let go dormant for so very long.

Something that I did't expect to gain was a sense of community. Through this journey I joined a running group and became a part of a family that encourages, supports, inspires and motivates. It was something I found that I didn't realize I missed and needed again.

Maybe it's not running for you. Maybe it's taking the time to read again and join a book club. Maybe it's reigniting you love of cooking. Maybe it's getting back to playing an instrument you've neglected for far too long. Whatever it is that has been hibernating, I encourage you to bring it back to life and surround yourself with people that share that love and passion, too. Because when you start to sneak back into your Mom Cave, they will help you stay out of it.They will encourage you and support you. You will find that joy again, that glow, that inspiration and spark, and people will notice. When you are your best you, you can do monumental things in your life and the lives of others.

The Mom Cave isn't a bad place to be. It's just a place you find yourself. We get caught up in the day-to-day responsibilities of taking care of these little people. Carting them to doctor appointments and playdates; getting them down for their naps; changing their diapers; wiping their noses; making them snacks; potty training...it gets a little busy.

The Mom Cave was and is a season. Maybe there are some moms that never go into their Mom Cave, but I sure know a lot who have. If you are currently in your Mom Cave and are snuggling a sweet little newborn right now or wiping a peanut butter covered 2-year-old's face, enjoy the hibernation and this season of your life. Seasons change. Children grow. However, remember that there is still room for you to grow, too. And growth needs sunshine. You can't get sunshine in a cave.

What's next for me? Now that my half-marathon is over, I've set my site on triathlons! Another challenge. Another goal. I'm enjoying my growth and the joy it's bringing to me and those around me. I'm thankful. I'm fortunate. I've been given grace. Everyday I wake up and am blessed I am able to do what I do.

It may not sound like much, and it may be silly to some (or even most), but when you grab hold of what propels you and find those people who are propelled by the same thing, it doesn't matter what "most" think. All that matters is you're using your gifts, talents and passions to inspire and bless others and become a better you. When you are a better you, you can help others be better, too.