The Guilt of a Mom

I’ve been a mom for almost nine and a half years. Over those years I have changed SO MUCH. As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I wasn’t very good at balancing life when my boys were little. I pretty much let being their mom consume me. Part of that was because I loved them more than words could even express, and I truly wanted to spend every second with them that I could. I wanted to be there to see them smile, and to watch them sleep, and to make sure they were eating what they should, and to make sure they were safe and happy. And part of that was because I felt guilty when I wasn’t with them. 

Here I am, nine years later, and I still feel guilt when I choose myself over my boys. But, I have come to learn that taking the time to be who I am, makes me a better mom when I’m with them. 

This is a snapshot from the book “Mile Markers” by Kristin Armstrong. I love it. It is so true and so important! We need to put the guilt aside and realize that what we love to do is important to who we are. And our kids need to see that person! They need to know that we are more than just “their mom”. 

On Sunday, I had some of those feelings of guilt. My husband had planned to take the boys walleye fishing after church, and I had to decide if I should go with them or have an afternoon to myself. I NEVER have an afternoon to myself, and I really wanted to go for a mountain bike ride, so I opted to stay behind. But I felt super guilty about it, especially when both boys told me it would be more fun if I went along. I weighed this heavily, then remembered how short my patience had been with them over the last week while my husband was out of town, and knew that the best thing for all of us was for me to take the mountain bike ride. 

After my ride, Liam was texting me (from Dad’s phone) and telling me about the fish they had caught.


And I text him back with pictures from my ride.


I felt like a pretty cool mom, showing my boys that while they were out doing what they love, I was also out doing what I love. 

And even though I still felt a little guilty, I knew that I had definitely made the right choice.

To all of you moms out there, don’t forget to take time to be your wonderfully, awesome self.

Sparkle.Pounce.Be You.

-Kendra


Slow.It.Down.

It has officially arrived.

Spring. Otherwise known as that time of year when my family’s schedule becomes jam-packed with juggling two kids in sports, plus the normal busyness of life. And of course, with spring comes the endless planning of summer adventures!

This is soooooo exciting, and yet, today I have found myself already stressing about my schedule being overbooked. Beginning Memorial Day weekend, I don’t have a single unplanned weekend until July 18. WHAT?!?! How did that happen?!

Lately, I’ve been getting better at saying “no” when I’m invited to social events. It just seems that I’m not good at casually managing a tight schedule that doesn’t leave room for down time with my family. Instead, I get anxious and stressed out over the fact that I’m gone too much and don’t have time to get the things done that I need to…ya know…laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping, cuddling on the couch with my boys….


But, on the other hand, I just recently had a friend my age diagnosed with leukemia. She was literally at work one day, and the next moment she was being admitted to the hospital to immediately begin chemotherapy. With this, I had a bit of a “I need to take adventures! I need to live life to the fullest every single second because it can throw you a curve ball at any moment!” mentality. I wanted to plan trips and start checking items off my Bucket List ASAP.

So, I’m left with the continual inner battle of managing how to juggle “living life to the fullest” and not packing my schedule so tight that I can’t even enjoy the things I’m doing. 

For me, the best way to do this is to stop looking SO FAR ahead on my calendar. Sometimes I get caught up in looking at all of those things I have planned way down the road that I can’t even see how many “free” days are right in front of me. I need to get better at that. I need to just slow it down and take it one day at a time. 


I can do this. I will live in the moment, but plan many more moments to enjoy.

Sparkle.Pounce.Slow.It.Down.

-Kendra

How To Be Awesome

I’ve been doing some observing lately, trying to get to the bottom of what really makes someone awesome. I definitely don’t have it completely figured out, but I’ve learned a few things for sure:

1. If you say you’re going to do something. Do it. 
    If you say you’re going to be somewhere. Show up.

This is a quality that makes someone awesome! We all have those friends that are habitual offenders when it comes to this. They say they’re going to be somewhere, and then the night before, or an hour before, we get a text explaining why they can’t be there. Don’t be that person. It’s not awesome. Actually, it sucks. Instead, if you make a commitment, stick to it! It’s one way to be awesome!

2. Be honest.

Social media has an amazing way of making it pretty easy to just show the good stuff in our lives. We post all of our pictures of wonderful family vacations, our new homes, our child’s first lost tooth, celebrating our first 5K… Everything is sooooo perfect! And, I admit, I definitely fall into this habit sometimes as well. But, you know what people like to see every once in a while?…that other people have struggles too. 

Last week I posted some super duper beautiful pictures of an adventure that my boys and I took to Seven Ponds Nature Center. I shared how fantastic the day was and how much we LOVED it. There were a few “likes” on my post.




Then, later that day I posted this: “Man. I love these two and all of our adventures! But…there’s a chance I just locked them outside for a second of peace and quiet. #thetruth.”  That post, admitting my struggle, got about five times as many “likes” as the first one. 

So, should you be a whiner and complainer all the time? Absolutely not! But, every once in a while it’s okay to admit that life is hard. Because, it REALLY is! 

3. Build people up.

Is everyone awesome? Nope. If they were, I wouldn’t even consider writing a blog called “How To Be Awesome”! But, I know that one thing that makes people better, is when they feel good about themselves. 

So, you can be awesome by looking for the good in people and then pointing it out to them and others. This is something that might not come easy for you, but, you can do it! 


4. Love yourself.

This is sooooo important! If you want to be awesome, you need to know that you’re awesome! Do the things that make you happy. Surround yourself with positive people. Work hard to be the best version of you. Talk about your hopes and dreams, and actively work towards them. 

Doing all of these things will make your awesome self shine through!

Sparkle.Pounce.Be Awesome.

-Kendra


My First Marathon

I ran my first marathon in 2002 in Anchorage, Alaska. That race almost pushed me away from running FOR-EV-ER. It ranks right up there with the most dreadful race experiences of all times. Seriously. It. Was. Awful.

During my senior year of college, my roommate talked me into signing up for a program to train for a 1/2 marathon. I had never run more than about 4 miles (during high school soccer training while my coach was driving along side me yelling at me to keep moving…AHEM…not motivational but I forgive you Coach!), so the idea of a 1/2 marathon was CRAZY talk. But, I really missed sports and this kind of felt like the same thing, so I agreed, and signed up. We were given a training plan and a group of people met every Saturday to do the long runs together. I LOVED it. 

From there, I just felt like I couldn’t stop. I mean, really, if you’re training for a half marathon, you might as well keep going for the full! I decided I needed to do just that, and I signed up for Humpy’s Marathon in Anchorage, Alaska. I must be pretty convincing because I also got my little sister and two of my best friends to sign up with me. Yup. There were four of us training for a marathon IN ALASKA. 

This was going to be the best trip ever!…(Man, we were young and clueless…)

Two nights before the race, we (my sister, her boyfriend-now husband!, and my two girlfriends) spent the night at our friend’s house. We woke up the morning before the race, and were headed into town to meet our parents, when our friend’s car got a flat tire. He lived MILES up a mountain and our only way to get to our parents was to walk down the mountain road. If you’ve ever walked miles down a steep mountain, you know that it destroys your legs. So, the day before our first marathon, we fried our quads.

Carbo-loading dinner the night before the race.

The next morning, we showed up at the start line of our first full marathon stiff and sore. 

Because of an injury, one of my friends couldn’t race, but she still made the trip to cheer for us, and so did her parents. Altogether, we had three runners and six spectators (my parents, Kelly and her parents, and my sister’s boyfriend) together in Alaska. Our cheerleaders were determined to find us along the course as many times as possible to give us the encouragement we needed. I knew that just having them there along the route would get me through those 26.2 miles.

So, you can imagine my disappointment when we saw them around the four mile mark, and then we didn’t see them again for what felt like forever. 

The course (which we hadn’t researched even a tiny bit) was along the coast, on a wooded path, with zero road crossings or spectator access. In addition, the miles were NOT marked and none of us had any gear to tell us how far we had gone. It was an out and back run, so all we had were the really faster racers coming back towards us, telling us that we were “almost to the turn around!” That was great to hear the first few times. Then, it became this lie that just made me angry. I didn’t want anyone else to tell me I was almost there. I couldn’t take it anymore. I just wanted to quit. I just wanted to see my parents. I just wanted to pee. I just wanted it to be over! 

At that point, I had a mini-meltdown. My sister and friend, Sara, were ready to ditch me, as my attitude was less than pleasant. Luckily, shortly after the meltdown, we did get to the turnaround and our wonderful cheerleaders were there waiting for us! It was so nice to see them for a brief moment and get some encouragement. 

From there, my sister decided she was going to take off on her own. I really couldn’t blame her. Sara and I stuck together for a while, but her knee was really hurting her and she was having to walk a lot. So, we all ended up on our own for the last part of the race. I can’t even explain how great it was to finish that marathon. My goal was to come in under 5 hours, and I did it.

Rondi, Kendra, and Sara post-race!


As happy as I was to have accomplished that feat, I couldn’t get over just how miserable the experience had been. It took me 8 YEARS to work up the courage to run another full marathon. And when I finally did it, I was terrified. But, luckily, I was much more prepared, physically and mentally, and it was an amazing experience. 


Last night I decided that I need a redo on running Humpy’s Marathon. That race got the best of me. It beat me down and took my confidence. And, it stole the adventure from my only trip to Alaska. I was too sore after the race to go exploring, and too scared before the race that I would get “tired” and not be prepared. I totally messed up that entire trip!

My Bucket List just got a little longer.

Because I love adventures, and I love redos. 

Sparkle.Pounce.Do What You Are Afraid To Do.

-Kendra