It's been a long time since I have updated my blog. Don't get me wrong, I haven't lost my passion for sharing my journey, and it's certainly not because life has quietened down over the last few weeks.
A year ago if you had asked me would I find time each week to go running, go to the gym, do personal training sessions, update social media, be interviewed for the BBC and blog, I'd have laughed. My life was totally full and I was happy with where I found myself. Between working full time, being a mum of two lovely (but pretty challenging young ladies), being wife to my gorgeous husband and not being a domestic goddess in my dearly loved home, there was very little time for me. I wear so many hats, each with their own name and identity, none of which was 'Dawn'. Yet here I am a year on doing all of those things and so in love with my new life. Much of the time has been carved out of where I was doing too much for others. Many mums will find themselves in the position of doing too much for our fledging children. They are perfectly capable of doing more for themselves and contributing more to the household and family life, we just continue to do more for them because we will feel guilty if don't.
The battle I have waged over the last few months was parking that 'smother mother' approach to 'let them find their wings'. Believe me there have been teenage strops along the way when the favourite cereal was not in the cupboard and children were asked to nip to the shop to pick up a bottle of milk - "that's your job mum, why do I have to go to the shop - what do you do all day?" and my favourite "Why are my black jeans not washed and dry?" (9am). I put them in the washing basket last night (10pm). "What's the point of me putting my jeans in the washing basket if you're not going to wash them?"
I think my family looked at my 'running' as a bit of a fad, and ever so slightly annoying and disrupting to their ever-so-comfy status quo. Yet I truly have found something I love, something for me. I was chatting to someone today in advance of an interview next week, and they asked me "do your children come along and share your love of running?". Cue me feeling like a totally poo mum. I tried, honest to goodness I tried.
I took my 15 year old daughter to parkrun once (once was enough). She set off looking beautiful and graceful (totally not like her mum who resembles one of the huffing and puffing rhinos in the football match in Bedknobs and Broomsticks) leaving her mum for dust. 20 minutes later she was sat on a park bench saying how bored she was and never finished. She did not appreciate my comment that if I could do it as an overweight 41 yr old woman then she certainly could. I also took my 8 year old to parkrun once. That day I was tail runner, a role I take very seriously due to the support I have been offered via these individuals over the past year. After about 1.5km she sat in the middle of the path shouting "I hate this. I never want to run again" and refused to move. Being tail runner (and obviously a responsible mother) I explained I couldn't leave her or give up being tail runner. That was the longest 56 minutes ever as I tried to coax her and even carry her around the remainder of the course.
So in response to your question - no. My running is for me and only me. I am totally happy to share it with other mums, friends, new runners, nervous first time parkrunners, but please never ask me to share it with my children again. As a mum I am mostly selfless - but ask me to compromise my running for my kids and I may very well swear at you.
So for me, I know I am a happier person, a better person and certainly a better mum for having carved out that time to allow me to wear my 'Dawn' hat.
I even carved out time to do a 7km run up the most killer of hills this last weekend with my amazing friend. I flew the flag for being last as usual, but as I crossed the finish line of my first ever chipped race, the life affirming feeling that I can do that now was immense. I was proud of me for being me and what I had achieved. And waiting at the finish line were my gorgeous girls and my hubby, cheering for what I had achieved, happy that I had gone out and done that, not spent an hour in the supermarket stocking up on their favourite cereal and washing their jeans.
So if I have one piece of advice to offer to anyone, find your bliss, find your you and never compromise it for anyone else.
Thanks for reading