There are times I do not enjoy being a parent.
These times are pretty easy to break down:
1. When they are sick - No one likes seeing their kids suffer, and no one likes cleaning up their sheets after they puke all over them, and no one (especially me) enjoys getting sick after they are sick. I used to never get sick. I got sick maybe once in five years. This year, thanks to the little germ generators and the fact that marathon training wears down your immune system, I have been sick, I think, around 96 times this year. Last week I had strep throat. Right now, thanks to yet another little cold my kids brought home, I'm coughing like a coal miner.
2. When they are tired - There is NOTHING worse than a 2-year-old who can't function. I'd rather listen to a Britney Fox album than one of the girls' tantrums when they're overtired. It's usually about the most mind-numbing, stupidest stuff, too, like Allie got a pink cup instead of orange. Oh, the horror!
3. When they are in their Miss Independent stage (and Mr.) - This is when they don't listen, when they want "Mommy to do it," when they want to do it themselves (even complicated things like washing their hair, which NEVER works and they get soap in their eyes and then they scream at you for that), when they want food you have or a piece of candy or more cookies or a bite of the dog or a sip of your beer (don't tempt me kids) or when they don't want to go to bed despite the fact that they are overtired. They are in this stage approximately 97 percent of the time.
The other times are great.
Lately I'm a little fascinated at how alike parenting is to distance running. That's mostly because my LIFE is distance running. Seriously I have no good stories to tell in bars any longer, unless they want to hear about the time I got up at 5:30 a.m. Tuesday to run in a park and saw a fox (the actual animal, not the 1976 term for a pretty lady). Which, honestly, nobody sober wants to hear.
But it is, and the reason for it is when you're parenting, you sort of enjoy the bad moments, even if you're not enjoying them in the moment. Distance running (and mountain climbing too) is much the same way. I didn't necessarily ENJOY getting up at 4 a.m. and running through that same park in the dark on my way to a 19-mile run, but I look back on that time with a certain fondness.
You love running even when you don't at the time, and your kids are the same way. I smile now when I think about last night's tantrum, about how Allie's face turned a new shade of red - I think I'm going to call it Temperta - even though I wanted to flush her down the toilet at the time.
There are times I love being a parent in the moment as there are times I love running in the moment.
I can only hope as they get older, the two will begin to mesh more.