Moms Should Never Be Underestimated

One of my favorite runners is Kara Goucher. I’ve been following her career for a really long time, and even held onto a copy of Runner’s World when she was interviewed about running while pregnant, which I still have. At the time it was for future reference, then when I was pregnant with Odin, I probably read the interview a few hundred times.

If you follow Kara on social media, you know how much running means to her, but you also know how much family and being a mom means – something that really hits home with me. Earlier this week, the trailer for Flotrack’s Driven was released, with Kara as the main subject. There are so, so many things I love about those 2.5 minutes. Kara is so real and honest, and she comes across as someone you could meet in real life and be friends with immediately.You can watch the video here:

http://www.flotrack.org/embed/OTkyNzUxNjA2?related=1&autoplay=false

Watch more videos on Flotrack

In the trailer, Kara makes reference to a stereotype that many people think you aren’t serious about something if/when you have a baby. Like Kara, I feel like these people are so wrong. For many moms that decide to work outside of the home, they encounter similar criticism or assumptions (they won’t focus on work because their mind will be at home, home priorities will interfere with work ones – those types of things).

Since having Odin, I feel like I care more and am more serious about a lot of things. My goals still matter and I’m still driven. I want to be the best mom to my son, and at the same time I’m also serious about my job, my family and about running, among other things. The way I structure my life is different than it use to be. For example, I’m done my morning run before my son and husband are even out of bed. I plan ahead and multitask like never before in order to get things done. When I started running again, I blew through my pre-baby pace times and am running faster than ever before. I want to run a full marathon someday, and eventually Boston. Being a mom isn’t going to hold me back from any of that – it just means I need to be a little creative to make it all happen 🙂

Thank you Kara for showing the world that women and moms shouldn’t be underestimated.
PS: Kara – you aren’t crazy or old. You are awesome.

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Toddlers, Sleep and Big Boy Beds

When Odin was a baby,  he stayed in our room in a bassinet for awhile, and then in a crib in his own room which is next to ours. He was definitely not one of those babies that had a sleep schedule or times each day where I could count on him to nap. I was ok with this. I believed that if he wanted to sleep, he would sleep. Most of his naps occurred in the jogging stroller, which I was also ok with, as it meant I could run and he would sleep – win win combination!

Odin would fall asleep most nights between 8:30-10:30pm, which is much later than most of the other babies we knew. Like most people with a baby/toddler, we rode the roller coaster of changing sleep patterns, periods of more predictable, consistent stretches of sleep, and then weeks on end of wondering why my child feels that sleep isn’t necessary (and when I also discovered that coffee should be available in IV drips – or Starbucks should deliver 😉 )

Now, Odin is just shy of being 21 months old. We had a couple of months where he was falling asleep at a reasonable time and napping regularly – heaven! Then all of a sudden he had a two-three week period where he would stay up until 11:30pm or so, no matter what we tried (crying it out isn’t something we were comfortable with – we would let him cry for a few minutes, but after that, we would move on to a different method, as he clearly wasn’t self-soothing). When Odin was a baby, I never really thought that we would co-sleep, but it was periods of time like this where co-sleeping was the only way for anyone to get any sleep. So we went with it.

Recently, to get him to fall asleep at an earlier time, we started getting ready for bed together and I would lay with him in our bed until he fell asleep, then move him into his crib. Most of the time, he would fall asleep in 15 minutes or less. More often than not, he would wake up immediately after I’d move him into the crib, regardless of how long I let him sleep in our bed for. Some nights I’d fall asleep and he would end up staying in our bed the entire night. However, for the most part, he was sleeping through the entire night. He was well rested and we were all getting a solid nights sleep.

Odin has been fascinated with our bed and the bed in the spare room in the basement. He has even been playing with his toys downstairs, and climbed into the bed in the spare room and fallen asleep. These signs – and the fact that he has never really liked his crib and sleeps better in a bed – make me wonder if it’s Odin’s way of letting us know he’s ready for a big boy bed. Part of me thinks a toddler bed with rails might be the solution.  This way I can put him in his room, in his bed, and help him fall asleep there.

It wouldn’t surprise me if this does the trick, as Odin went straight from boob to sippy cup and skipped bottles. Perhaps bassinet to bed may be his transition, spending minimal time in a crib.

When did you move your toddler into a bed? Were there any sleep tactics that worked best for you?

Busy Body Boys

I grew up with a sister. My mom also grew up with a sister. My grandmother, their mother, grew up as one of five girls. Needless to say, there are a lot of girls in my family.

When I was pregnant with Odin, we did not find out the gender until he was born. And even when he was born, I had to wait a couple of minutes for someone to finally tell me if the baby I just pushed out of my body was a boy or a girl. Given the number of girls in my family, a lot of people thought that I was going to have a girl. I never had “that feeling” about what I was having, I knew I was having a baby and all I wanted was for he or she to be healthy. I had very detailed dreams during my pregnancy, in which a toddler boy was following me everywhere, peeking out from behind walls. Then one night I had a dream about having a baby and was introducing the baby by the full boy name that we had picked out should the baby be a boy – Odin Edward Khan.

When he was a baby, he wasn’t much for napping. He was extremely observant and was constantly aware of what was going on around him. People would always tell me “you just wait a few more months, he’s going to be a busy one!”. My go-to response was “I run 80-100km a week, I think I can handle it,” and then I’d laugh a little. When he was 9 months old he started to walk – then roughly two weeks later, he was running everywhere. That’s when we knew we were in trouble – and by trouble, I mean constantly on toddler tornado watch.

Someone's been watching me...

Someone’s been watching me…

Fast forward to today – Odin is just a few days shy of being 20 months old. That’s 4 months away from turning 2 (insert panic attack here), and as everyone so graciously informed me months ago, he is busy! He is constantly on the go and doesn’t want to miss out on anything. He is fiercely independent, knows exactly what he wants and pays unusual attention to detail for a kid his age. When I try to challenge him with different activities such as sorting shapes, building with blocks and wooden peg puzzles, he masters then after a couple of tries. Sure, he gets frustrated and throws fits when he can’t figure something out at first, but he applauds and is so proud of himself once he has mastered something new. He keeps us on our toes, and rarely goes to bed before 9:30pm, but to be honest, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I see so much of Ryan and myself in Odin and watching him learn all of these new skills has got to be the most rewarding experience we’ve ever had.

At the rate he is going, he will be joining me on my daily runs by the time he is 4 😉

Odin at the San Francisco Zoo

Odin at the San Francisco Zoo

A Typical Week in the Khan Home

Since returning to work, my life is a juggling act – and I know many parents can relate with me on that! Being the organized individual that I am, I rely on planning ahead and a lot of lists to help me keep it all together. I feel terrible if I forget something or let certain household chores go for too long. I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that there will always be cat hair in tumbleweeds on my floors and Goldfish crackers jammed in the couch cushions – and I’m ok with that (now).

I have a few tricks up my sleeve that help our days run smoothly, and most of my tips revolve around food.

1. Pre-packing my lunches and Odin’s snacks

Every Sunday night I pre-pack my lunches for the week. This means cutting up fruit and putting it in individual containers and packing whatever other items I can in advance (crackers, cheese, and other snacks). I also take this time to get a few things together for Odin to take to daycare with him. They provide snacks, but I also send along a few things each week, which I send with him every Monday morning.

2. Writing out dinner menus a week in advance

Over the weekend, my husband and I will take a look at the week ahead, see what the weather is supposed to be like and if there are nights we have activities/commitments outside the house. We take these into consideration when planning out our dinners for the week. Doing this in advance helps us remember what food needs to be taken out to thaw each day and makes it easier to start cooking right away, rather than wasting time debating what we should have for dinner (because I can waste a lot of time making a decision).

3. Getting things ready the night before

Every night I get my clothes and bag ready for the next day. This reduces the amount of time it takes me to get ready in the morning because I just put on what it sitting on my dresser. I also refill items in Odin’s diaper bag and pack his spare clothes the night before so that I can pick him up and go each morning. We save a lot of our housework for the weekend, simply to give us more time to devote to Odin during the evening.

4. Making the most of my lunch hour

We live out of town, so my husband and I make the most of our lunch hours by getting all of our errands done on our lunch breaks. My office is located close to everything I could possibly need in Ottawa, which makes picking up groceries, going to the bank, picking up prescriptions and other errands run smoothly – and allows me to do a lot in a short period of time.

5. Running… at 4:30am

If I didn’t get up extra early to run, I would barely ever get out to run. By the time I get home, pick Odin up from daycare, get dinner ready, walk the dog, give Odin a bath, etc., it would be pitch black before I fit in a run. I also want to have evenings to spend with my family, so it’s just easier for me to run when everyone else is still asleep. We live in the country, so having a treadmill is necessary, and makes it possible to run at 4:30 am without worrying about the types of animals I may encounter if I were running outside in the dark (we only have one street light on our road).

With all of that said, the balancing act that is work and home is not rocket science, it’s simply time management. Once we figured out a routine that worked best for us, things got much easier. It also got easier once our marathon winter in Ottawa ended and we didn’t spend 5-10 minutes getting bundled up before heading out the door each morning.

Mommy Lessons (So Far…)

There are all kinds of things that we learn when we become parents for the first time.

Odin in the hospital

Everyone’s experience is different. If one of my girlfriends were to ask me what the biggest lessons I’ve learned so are, here are the ones that would make my top 5 list:

1. Time truly flies by: It’s super cliche and everyone says it, but it’s true. Soak up every moment with your little one. The dishes and vacuuming can wait.

2. You see the world differently: I love watching my son learn. Seeing the world through his eyes makes me appreciate the small things and reminds me how amazing the world is. My son has changed my perspective on life, love and everything in between.

3. The motherly instincts kicked in fast:  I hadn’t had much experience with babies and was afraid that I wouldn’t have a clue what to do when my baby was born. Within hours of my little guy’s birth, I felt like we had known each other forever. It didn’t take long to figure out the different sounds he would make based on what he needed and we quickly found our groove.

4. People give you advice (whether you ask for it or not):  This is probably the most frustrating thing I have encountered as a new mom. Some people need to be reminded that there are as many ways to parent as there are babies on this planet. I’ve learned to do what works for my son and me, and not what others think is best. Go with your gut. No one knows your kid like you do.

5. Cuddles cure everything: This one is self explanatory 🙂 Cupcakes (for mom!) also help!

What are some of the lessons you learned when you became a parent?