with Karli Larson
The transition from stay-at-home mom to divorced-and-working-full-time mom can be challenging, and sometimes very lonely. Throw in a few cats, an ancient dog and one very brave boyfriend, and life gets downright crazy. Join me as I talk through my thoughts and struggles, my miscalculations and my triumphs. We're in this together, you and I.
When I'm not writing here you can find me over at work on the TisBest Philanthropy blog.
This is perhaps the oddest thing about single parenting: when your kids return from your co-parent’s house two inches taller and needing equipment for a sport you have never before heard them mention.
Lacrosse? I ask. I gulp. I am still adjusting to her playing field hockey with howling banshees twice her size.
She shrugs. I decided to give it a try.
Alrighty then, I say. I admire her willingness to run with sticks.
At the sporting goods store, she hunts for mouthguards while I browse running shoes for my upcoming muddy, wet 5K. I always feel like an imposter in the running shoes section. I hate running. I mean, I really, really, really hate running. And I get the feeling the sport hates me for pretending to be a runner. We are leery of each other, me and running.
I “run” three times a week on a good week. I have to use quote marks around “run” because whatever it is I am doing bears no resemblance to other runners I see on the roads. I roll-lurch-trip-gasp-wheeze-jog, a sweating boob-alicious female troll. I jog, slowly. I am jogged. I am an unnatural athlete.
I have been “running” regularly again since January 1st, with my best friend (who lives in Philly and will be doing the PA run with me). We bemoan the fact that it is now April, and instead of tight buns and awesome calves and massive weight loss we have only the same jiggle and new owies like minor shin splints and wimpy stress fractures to show for it.
The race is 17 days away, and I have not quite achieved Sporty Spice Single Mama Gold Status with my kids or my neighbors. People continue to look vaguely surprised when they see me chugging and drooling my way through the ‘hood in running gear. Still, I press on, although I have already stretched two unfortunate sports bras beyond repair and gone through three asthma inhalers.
I don’t like those, says Sophie, pointing at the white and pink shoes I am trying on. The blue are much cuter.
This is about SPORT. This is about PRONATION, I say, throwing a fancy runner’s term at her.
It’s ALWAYS about fashion, she says, handing me a lilac mouthguard that is decidedly fashion-forward.
Oh, hush up, I say, trying on the blue shoes.
Everything fine here? the saleslady wants to know.
Yes, thanks, I’m just embarrassing my daughter, that’s all.
We head over to the running tights and shorts. My arse has nearly blown out one pair of tights.
What are you DOING? Soph wants to know, aghast at my selection.
I like to layer the running shorts over the tights. I like to keep my jiggle to myself, thankyouverymuch.
She looks HORRIFIED. That’s awful, she says. Get the turquoise, at least.
Color pops, I say. I do not want my butt POPPING from across the street. So much for modeling healthy body image. Nice, Jenn.
Sophie rolls her eyes at me.
We get home. I try on my new running tights, shorts and shoes and walk into the living room. See? I say.
She drops her spoon into her bowl of ice cream. Her eyes grow wide and glassy.
Seriously? THAT bad? THAT BAD. Come on, I say.
My willowy athlete nods.
This is what all the cool runner moms are wearing, I protest.
I look at her face. I go back upstairs, and jump up and down in front of a mirror, watching my tush bounce, suddenly feeling terribly old and foolish.
That kid can eat a lilac mouthguard for dinner, as far as I’m concerned. Stinker.
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