Brighton beach at sunset with pier in background

Why I am no longer taking complaints or requests (or running marathons)

There comes a time as a parent when you realise that everything you do is about the children. Get up, make lunches, try to persuade them to get ready for school, fail and drop them off late. Pick them up from school and drive them to swimming, dancing, singing, horse riding or piano lessons (delete as appropriate). Cook dinner, begin the bedtime battle. Collapse onto the nearest bed/sofa as soon as they settle down. Nod off until it’s time to do it all again. In between there’s work and a vague and useless attempt at keeping fit enough to run around after the children. But as the saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup. So, with the Brighton Marathon finally behind me, it’s time to take back control. Or at least try to.

Brighton Marathon Medal 2021
Brighton Marathon medal

Why I am no longer taking complaints or requests

I realised recently that my children rarely speak to me unless they want to ask for something or complain about something. “Can I have, will you buy me, can I do, can we go to…” Or, “I don’t like the school lunches, you didn’t give me what I wanted in my packed lunch, my sister is being mean to me…” and so on ad infinitum.

The thing is, my children are actually quite good company when they’re not complaining or asking for things. They’re keen to learn, have lots of knowledge to share and we do have a laugh together. So, I’ve made a new rule in our house. If you want something or you have a complaint, write it down. We’ll talk about your list once a week. But first, you need to read through it yourself and see if all those things still bother you with the benefit of thinking time and hindsight.

I think this is a great way for the girls to learn to sort out their own problems. When they’ve slept on them, nothing will seem so bad. Plus, when they do bring problems and requests to me, it will be at the right time. A time I’ve dedicated to listening and sorting out what I can. Hopefully, it will make them feel more valued than when I’m trying to deal with it while cooking dinner or working.

Two girls sitting on a bench on a boat in Loch Ness with water and mountains in background
Children on a boat on Loch Ness

Making time for me

For the past couple of years, I have been running every day. With the marathon behind me, I did briefly consider stopping this. But actually, now is the time when I can enjoy it. I no longer have to run long distances or worry about whether I’ll complete the race or not. Instead, I want to work on running faster. Next year if I enter a race, it will be a 10k, aquathlon or triathlon. Or maybe all of the above. Something short and fast.

So with long runs out of the equation, I can fit other things in. Next week when my body has recovered from the marathon and I’ve caught up on all the work I missed, I’ll start pool swimming a couple of times a week. I might try to fit in some cycling. Wild swimming and running every day will always be my passions, but it’s time to do something more. Perhaps I’ll finally get around to learning the piano properly.

Brighton beach at sunset with pier in background
Brighton beach

Why I’m no longer running marathons

Whilst I always quite enjoy the run itself, training for a marathon is incredibly tough. And for now, it’s not something I can fit into my life. If I was to do a long race again, I think I’d go for another ultra marathon. I like not having to keep up a particular pace or aim for a personal best because every course is different.

For now though, it’s time to start picking up some speed. I’d love to try running a faster 10k than I did before having children. I think I could do quite well at an aquathlon too if I got back into swimming. Plus, I’ve agreed to coach at the children’s swimming club twice a week. You didn’t think I’d really manage to make more time for myself did you?

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    1. Thank you Joy. It’s going ok actually! It’s mainly Libby that asks for things all the time and she has started to write things down so that we can go through her list once a week. Not asking at other times is a work in progress but hopefully we’ll get there!