This Runner's Trials

Giving up the excuses

Somehow today is Ash Wednesday. Didn't February just start? Seriously, how are we approaching March so quickly?

For Lent, I think it's important to make sacrifices. I usually give up some kind of treat and try to be nicer to others. Chocolate, baked goods, soda, and gum have made a steady rotation on my give-up-for-Lent-list since I was a child. But this year, I need to try something new.

Since becoming a mommy nearly 3 (!) months ago, I've gotten into a horrible habit. I make excuses for everything.

Issue: My house is a mess.

Excuse: It's OK because I have no time during the day to clean.

Issue: I rarely cook dinner.

Excuse: It's OK because I can't cook while holding a baby, and he doesn't have a predictable bed time. So I'll continue to live off of peanut butter sandwiches.

Issue: I'm barely following my half marathon training plan.

Excuse: It's OK to not do my Smartcoach-prescribed workouts because I have no one to watch baby while I run.

Issue: I do my freelance work in the middle of the night.

Excuse: It's OK because I went without much sleep for 9 weeks, so surely it's fine if I only clock 4-5 hours each night now.

Issue: My jeans are no where close to fitting.

Excuse: It's OK because I just had a baby. How long can you say you "just" had a baby anyway?

Issue: I'm eating way too many sweets.

Excuse: It's OK because I'm breastfeeding.

Issue: I am drinking a ridiculous amount of coffee.

Exactly: It's OK because I need to be alert to care for my baby.

It's time for the excuses to stop. I'm giving up using the baby/ my role as a mom as an excuse. Most other new moms accomplish way more than I do during the day. Is it because they have perfect little angel babies? Nope, their babies are no different than mine. They just have better attitudes and don't make lame excuses.

So it's settled. When Wyatt naps, I need to actually put him down and clean. I can bring his bouncy seat into the kitchen so I can cook dinner. I can get a babysitter so I can get my freelance projects done during the daylight hours. I can follow my training plan fairly easily if I leave him in the (gasp!) germ-infested gym childcare. Cutting back on the sweets will help me fit into my jeans. And switching to decaf for my third (and fourth...) cups of coffee certainly won't jeopardize my ability to care for Wyatt.

Of course, my excuses aren't all going to stop overnight. Small changes are best for lasting behavior changes after all. And I'd like my excuse-free living to last way more than 40 days. I'm going to make sure I avoid one excuse each day though.

Just for good measure, I'm also giving up Coffeemate. I usually only have it when the gingerbread flavor is available, but I've been downing the French vanilla lately.

I'll report back after Easter! :)

Comments (15) Trackbacks (1)
  1. Great post,Jen! I think you ought to be giving yourself a liiiittle more credit though :) love your positive attitude outlook- it’s inspiring me!

  2. Emerging from lurkdom to say that I don’t think that your “excuses” are unreasonable at all. I’m not yet a mom, but I think that all of your “habits” are totally justified. Personally, I am not looking forward to the messy house/lack of workouts/poor diet situation at all, but from what I’ve read about what you’ve experienced in the past three months, I am guessing you are doing just about the best you can. It is great to try to get better, but don’t beat yourself up. You’re awesome!

    • Thank you! Maybe I should give myself a bit of a break. But seriously, I’m using my baby as an excuse way too much. You should see my mess of a house ;)

  3. I use the same excuses! And then get frustrated when I can’t get things done. Hopefully I can eliminate some of my excuses as well!

  4. It sounds like what you really want to do is find a way to move out of survival mode and into a groove — adjusting more long-term to your new life. I agree with Cat above that your excuses are probably oftentimes totally reasonable — and not really “excuses” at all! But overall, though, it’s good to start to find ways to be able to get past doing the bare minimum, and it’ll become easier with time. Just remember to cut yourself some slack — you’re adjusting to a MAJOR life change here, and that doesn’t happen overnight (or, for that matter, in 3 months). :)

  5. i bet you deserve way more credit than you are giving yourself! sending <3 and good vibes! PS: wyatt looks like he is growing up SO FAST!!!!

  6. I get that you are using the upcoming Spring to make some positive changes in your life, but please don’t put it under the category of “Lent”. What you have described has nothing to do with Lent.

    I know religion is very different for everyone, but you said yourself that Lent means making some sacrifices. These seem like positive adjustments, not sacrifices you make to remind you of Christ’s suffering.

    • I understand what you mean. I agree that religion is different for everyone.

      I’m Catholic and I know the idea of giving something up for Lent may sound silly and ridiculous to some people. I don’t see how giving up excuses is any different than giving up chocolate, for example. Both would be hard for me to do! Of course they’re not sacrifices like Jesus made (I mean what can I do that is?). But making these “sacrifices” during Lent reminds me that anything I go through is nothing compared to what Jesus went through. And that’s the reason I continue to give things up for Lent, because I keep His sacrifices in mind whenever I feel weak and want to give in. I know I should think like this each day though!

      • I’m also Catholic (and a new mom as of Dec. 6th) and I don’t see anything wrong with your lenten plan if you are doing it with God in mind!


    Thought you might find this article interesting… maybe time to switch all your coffees to decaf?

    • Thanks for passing that along! I actually only drink half-caff, and my lactation consultant said you can have 500mg of caffeine daily without affecting baby.

  8. I found your post very inspiring. There are too many people in this world that complain about how hard their lives are, and constantly talk about how they want to change (be more organized, be less stressed, lose weight, etc). You know the type. I love that you when methodically through each of the things that you want to change and came up with a solution to each one and committed to sticking to it. Thats half the battle right there. Good for you for taking a step forward.

  9. My house is a mess, too! I finally decided to hire someone to clean. Sometimes I can keep up with it, but other times it is impossible. Totally depends on the baby and how well she is sleeping. Anyway, that’s all — just wanted to empathize (I’m with you on the jeans not fitting yet, too!).

  10. I understand what you are saying but I think you should also be easy on yourself! I have a 9 month old and I think I got my groove around 6-7 months. Once my baby started sitting up and reaching for things, play time got easier and more fun. I also felt comfortable leaving her with my gym’s daycare (otherwise she’d just sit in a swing and watch TV at the gym which I felt weird about). Her routine got more predictable — 3 naps and a 7PM bedtime 6AM wake up — this has allowed me to cook, clean, run errands, take on projects, etc. BF’ing also got easier because we introduced solids (my 2 cents, skip purees and go to mushy/chunky soft foods — it’s easier and less transition and hassle). We went from nursing constantly to 3x a day (before naps) and a few times at night (we co-sleep so it’s random). Less nursing made it easier to eat less, exercise more, etc. without fear of my milk supply dropping. My boobs are also less heavy so it’s easier to do more high impact stuff.

    I applaud your commitment to getting back to normal BUT I think as parents we need to find a new normal and flow with that. Life is hard with a baby and it can be draining. I truly had the easiest baby in comparison but still rocked my existence. Give it a few more months before you find a rhythm that works for you and your home.

  11. I don’t know how you do it all, I think you are doing a great job! I loved flavored creamer…that would be hard.

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