Spitting in the Parking Lot

So far, it’s been that kind of week: Running caused me a minor Achilles strain and I read that exercise causes orgasms (as if). Uh, if you’re having an orgasm by yourself, it’s not called “exercise.” In a similar vein of wild incongruence, it’s also been a week that found me spitting on the parking lot outside my gym because I forgot I’d only been cross-training and wasn’t actually in the middle of a run. As soon as I spat and before it even hit the ground, I thought, “What the hell am I doing?!” That’s the mother-runner schizoid personality for you. I have no qualms about spitting while running, but it’s gross and gauche to spit under any other circumstances (other than tooth brushing).

Sometimes the brash, devil-may-care runner pops into non-running life and catches me off guard. Then I find myself doing things like making cookies and giving Henry extra extra extra hugs and kisses to feel properly maternal. This reactivity was helped enormously when he fell off a rock and screamed bloody murder on Monday. He came running into the house with a bloody, bruised, and swollen hand and wailed, “I’m going to bed!”

He walked straight to my bed and climbed in.

Be still my Mommy heart.

He was a-okay.

We spent a couple hours with an xray tech and a nurse cleaning dirt from his wound, and while of course I don’t want my baby to hurt, I kind of maybe a little bit savored that intensive triage time with my boy. Of course I took the opportunity to have him tell the doctor about his hill-running science experiment, which, incidentally, was chosen for the town-wide science fair (!!!). To hell with modesty and propriety, I was going to immerse myself in being a no-holds-barred, full-time mommy of megapride.

If I might speak for a whole heap of diverse women, mothers spend so much damn time managing the guilt of how we balance work, family, and self, and therefore, in the moments when I can throw myself into caring for him by saying “to hell with all the rest,” I feel completely whole and right.

His hand wasn’t broken, and we went for his primo treat–Starbucks vanilla milk and a piece of banana chocolate chip cake–to wrap up the medical adventure. Those 3 hours of waiting rooms, tweezers, and a lead vest were such a luxury of time.

Surely this is a split of self and child that all mothers work with–regardless of whether you’re earning an income or not. Personally, I need and want training, employed work, and quality attention to the little blonde love of my life. When you’re doing any one thing, you’re sacrificing the others, which is why mothers kick ass at multitasking. When there’s crossover and you realize you don’t have every domain of life packaged and labeled tidily in it’s box–a la spitting in the parking lot–it can be sort of unsettling. What, you mean I don’t have my shit together? I just spit in the parking lot.

This is when I find it useful to check in with one’s touchstones: Best child in the whole universe; Work that I love; Someone who has my back 24/7; Strong quads; Cookies; Pandora (the station, not the jeweler).

And so, then, one must come around to ask what’s so fundamentally wrong with letting the runner in you spit in a parking lot? If I’d been jogging at a 15-minute pace, I wouldn’t have felt ashamed at all. Not that I’m going to start spitting everywhere, but maybe it’s a sign that I forgot I wasn’t running because running is a security blanket. It’s a sort of home base for me, when I’m not at home base.

So if I have to have lactic acid torture instead of an orgasm when I’m working out (I mean, come on, if that were true, there wouldn’t be an obesity epidemic), I think it’s kinda awesome that my athletic self would make an appearance when I’m just walking to my car. But I’ll try to clean up my act and be a proper lady anyway.

3 responses

  1. Good post. I always am in awe with what the modern mothers can accomplish. Most of my friends are working moms. It always amazes how great they are with multitasking – and still stay sane…well, more sane than me :)

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