Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Keeping Your Eye on What is Important

I have to admit...I really don't know quite where I'm heading with this post but it is one of those nights that I'm just feeling the need to clear my head and refocus.  I've found that usually it is the times that I really listen to my heart and write when I'm feeling this way, some kind of truth comes out and I'm able to clear my head and refocus on what is important. This is for me.  But sometimes, as I've seen in the past with this blog, when I am really writing from my heart and writing to process my thoughts, things come out that others might need to hear too.

This isn't a blog to talk about some trendy topic in the running world or a post intended to inspire mothers with some parenting idea that is relevant to most moms out there.  I'm not here to ask you for your vote or to get you to share your advice on what kind of shirt I should race in on Saturday.  I'm just here to process.

The past few days have been really odd for me.  As far as running goes, I've been feeling spot on!  I've felt excited and optimistic about my marathon on Saturday.  And even though I'm getting a cold and not sleeping the best, I'm still feeling positive and eager to race. But something is missing.  My mind has been elsewhere...

I've been absent as a mom.  Giving only half my attention and wasting the rest of it on things of little importance in the big picture of life. I've been a lousy wife when it comes to being thoughtful and giving my time and attention and I've found myself obsessing and spending way too much time thinking about something so very very silly.  I can't believe I'm even writing about this really because once I snapped out of it tonight and realized just how silly I've been being, I was instantly embarrassed.  But the reason I am sharing and making myself vulnerable to you, is because I can bet that I'm certainly not the only person out there who can
         OBSESSIVE about things!
       the things we are obsessing about

Obsessive thinking, dwelling on things or getting caught up or fixated on one thing (tunnel vision) has been something I've found myself struggle with at many times in my life.  Not always. But if I'm not careful, something can start small with me and grow into something

This can relate to being obsessive about my running, my weight (in my college days), thinking about what others think of me, dwelling on something someone said or replaying a conversation in my head that might have caused me to feel hurt or offended. Even a race that I didn't run well in or a race that I ran well but then thought of all the things I could have done differently. After all of my births, it took me days to stop replaying everything I could have done differently so that my birth experience was more of what I had envisioned or hoped for.

And here I have been obsessing or spending way to much time checking in on a contest that started out serious to me and turned out to be more of a joke
nothing more than a website's way to get people to their site by banking on the fact that people naturally want to self promote.
And even after I admitted to myself how silly it really was and how it really didn't mean much more than getting exposure for my blog, I still found myself checking in many times a day and asking my friends and blog followers for their daily votes. Yes, I am referring to this Circle of Moms thing.  But no longer asking for votes or making fun of it and then still asking for votes.  Ha!

Here's the deal.  This contest has been fun.  It has been cool to see how many of my friends have been rallying to support me. It has been cool to receive so many great comments and e-mails from my non-blog friends telling me how they were voting and sharing.  I've also gained many new readers and I've found some new blogs that I enjoy reading and that add to my life. I've enjoyed this part and this makes it worth it.

But what is not worth it is the fact that I've thought more about this silly thing than I'd like to admit.  But I am admitting it because that's what this post is all about...being real and raw and vulnerable.  Instead of mentioning maybe once here and there that I'm in this contest and I'd love your votes, I've found myself thinking about it A LOT!  Even after I realized what a joke it was becoming and how it was really just a glorified extension of a high school popularity contest where the class president isn't necessarily the person who is best for the job but the the person who could get the most votes.  Isn't this true with many things in life.  So, even after I realized the silliness of it and started having fun with it (the Rocks), I still have been finding myself checking in on my votes WAY TOO OFTEN, annoying the heck out of my friends with my hundredth facebook status asking for votes (even if I tried to be more creative about it than just saying "vote"),  and finding myself genuinely annoyed at hearing that there were even more "voting tricks" that I didn't know about.  So Silly, I know!  But I still got sucked in and I'm admitting it to you.  All of this in itself is one thing but what has caused me to just need to process tonight is the fact that because of all this silliness....

I've been Missing out on what is really IMPORTANT:
The Life Around Me (off the computer)
My Children---eating breakfast with them, reading stories, playing in the yard....(without stopping to check the damn computer every 10 minutes to see "the campaign stats" I know pathetic!  See, I told you I can get obsessive about things.  Reminds we of when I was trying to defeat the game Tetris and I couldn't stop playing it for days! I even dreamed Tetris!  Okay, so I wasn't that bad with this but bad enough that I MISSED OUT!

And thank Goodness I snapped out of it tonight because I've been missing out on really savoring this last week before my marathon and making sure I'm doing all the great mental work to stay focused on what has been important for the past 24 weeks....

This Marathon!

  The truth is, I get into these ruts of obsessive thought often enough to where I need to be aware of it.  For the most part I am and realize that I can think things too far!  So, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that this contest doesn't have its perks and isn't a good way to give some of these great blogs some recognition.  In fact, I think there are many great blogs out there on that "List" that deserve your votes.  Not because they are "popular" or because they can beg, plead, and be the most convincing but because they are really GOOD blogs that have some inspirational, motivational, humorous, fun material that you like to read.  What I am saying is that I have taken this too far.  I've thought about it too much and I've let it take over my thinking.  And for this I'm embarrassed.  And happy to admit and process because I'm feeling
MYSELF again!

Four Sleeps until my marathon.  Two sleeps until we leave for the beach house and have a fun family getaway with our close friends!  These things are important.  So Bring That!

I'm not expecting tons of comments on this long and personal ramble.  In fact, I'll probably delete it before the end of the night.  It has already served its purpose and that was to help me process and get control of my thinking and focus on what is IMPORTANT!


  1. I'm so glad you brought this up. Your not alone. Recently my priorities have shifted. I've become obsessed with working out :/ When I am at home. It's all I think about. When I should be cleaning or spending time with my kids I'm consistently online reading articles about working out or running. Or instead of spending quality time with my husband after the kids go to bed. I go to sleep early to so I can wake up for my early morning run. What would life be like w/o electronics? I'd be spending time with those who matter most. So I'm going to get off this computer now and get my priorities straight! No Facebooking from my Iphone either! lol

  2. I'm proud of you - for your honesty. I love this post. I too have been checking it and Im not even in it, just interested I guess. It is so so crazy how we do get sucked in.. all of us. Because truth is we all really love each other and enjoy all the blogs and posts that are written. Well.... at least I do. Good Luck on your marathon this weekend. You are awesome.

  3. Lisa, it is sooo easy to do! We are not alone. It just feels this way sometimes. This is what this contest has brought out in me and made worse...always checking the computer, phone, facebook. It is time to UNPLUG for me...or try! Balance...life is all about balance. I was just coming to delete this post but then I saw your comment and realize that maybe this isn't the most well written post or well thought out, it has provoked thought for someone else. :) So thanks for your comment. I still might delete it. ha! My real post tonight should be called UNPLUG but then I wouldn't be unplugging. ;)

  4. And already another comment...gee, here I thought that nobody would say a word. But I've heard from two people I hardly ever hear from. Thank you Lisa and Cari!

  5. I think a lot of us get that way, especially bloggers, bc what is a blog besides a new way to obsess over one's topic(s) of choice? You're clearly an amazing mom with a true gift for making life magical for your kids. So maybe this past week you were a little less so than you like to be. You caught it. Call it a little parenting taper, now you're ready to come back strong.

  6. I think this is awesome, Amanda. I think most of us would be lying if we said we didn't obsess about something. Facebook became such a huge distraction/addiction (obsession?) HA! to me that I had to cut it out of my life. I think it has been over 4 months now and it was the best thing for me to do. Not sure if I'll go back to it or not someday but for now, it was a boundary I needed to set for myself. Thanks again for your honesty and vulnerability.

  7. How did you crawl into my brain? I've been thinking pretty much the exact same thing for a while now. And why didn't I write this post? Because I'm about to drop out of the top 10 and didn't want to sound all sour grapes about it. And really? Pretty sure it doesn't matter if I'm in the top 10 or just in the top 25. Yeah, obsess much? And my obsession is the reason I'm writing client training plans at midnight. Funny how something that started so simple could become such a time suck. I admit I'll be thrilled when it's over tomorrow. It took way too much of my mental energy this month...

    On the other hand - I've found some blogs I really enjoy reading, yours among them. So I guess there is a bright side to the whole thing. ;o)

  8. And this is why I hesitate to dwell on my blog at all somedays. The reason I enter no competitions and don't go crazy over giveaways and products at all. Because I get OBSESSIVE. I love blogging but I'm not competitive so I avoid those types of scenarios. I'm so prone to this type of behavior! I have dreamed in Tetris MANY MANY times. No joke. I loved that game and wanted to be the BEST. Then it was minesweeper. Then sodoku. :)

  9. No worries! We *ALL* do it. I do it by frequently comparing myself to you awesomely speedy running goddess bloggers (you, Skinny Runner, EMZ, Jenn, Hungry Runner, Rose Runner, etc.). And not only are you girls FAST, people actually read your blogs!

    You are awesome and are going to rock your marathon this weekend. Good luck!!!

  10. You are so not alone! First I think it's perfectly normal to have marathon brain! Now yes it's a bit selfish but the race will pass and you will position things more in order. We fall of kilter but we do come back. I know I waste HOURS of my life that if I never had a computer or an iphone or a blog.. I'd be reading to my kids or baking who knows! In my heart I know when I'm out of balance. God speaks to us.. He knows where our hearts are and that life.. well it's full of crap and distractions. Go LOVE YOUR RACE.. every moment of it! You've worked hard. Relish in the moms blogs because you inspire and touch many.. then go hug your kids. :)

  11. You always know just what to say... and when to say it :)

    And that's why we all love you!

  12. I think running circles have more than their share of obsessive people. We obsess over everything - how far, how often, how fast, what we ate, how much sleep we get. Then for me it's my weight, my kids, my work. I'll get started on one track of thought then won't be able to sleep at night. I don't know if there's a cure. I've just accepted that that's who I am.

  13. Voting trick?? LOL!! I Was BLESSED to be out of town WITH my family detached from the internet and able to give 100% to them it was AMAZING and just what I needed to get away from obsessing about running, contests, etc.. Thanks for your honesty

  14. I had to cancel my Facebook account because I became obsessed with some stupid game - it became more important than my family.

    I have been Facebook sober for over 12 months now :) It was seriously like an addiction - you are definitely not alone.

  15. Good vent. Just finished having a similar discussion actually. I came to the end of a road one day and I don't want to turn around and walk back down it..... Thanks for being so open and honest.

    I'm guessing you're leaving Thursday for the beach house. I'm a very timely organized friend???? so I mailed you a card that was supposed to get there on Thursday. If you don't get it in time, my heart was in the right place. the current story of my life)

    Get some rest these last few days! Maybe this contest thing was a bit of a blessing as although you may have been obsessing about it, it provided a bit of a distraction from obsessing about the marathon which could prove to benefit you. Everything happens for a reason right?

  16. Amanda, so honest! Now, let's see you rock the marathon.

  17. I totally get the obsessed thing. That is my M.O....but sometimes it easy to get caught up in little things and letting them become big things. The contest has been fun, I have had fun voting and reading new blogs:)
    Good luck this weekend. I know that you are going to rock that marathon...now get off the computer and go hang out with your kiddos. xoxoxo!!!

  18. I (and many others it seems) know just what you mean. Every time I look at my blog, I check to see if I've got any new followers or comments. Hanging out with my kids happens every day, so I take it for granted and savour the time I have to myself, when of course they will not be young forever,and I should be savouring the time with them. I'm sure many Mums feel the same way - especially those trying to fit running in!

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  20. Wow, I should have written this post myself. It REALLY doesn't matter AT ALL, but we will both finish in the top 25 so who really cares if it's in 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 25th (or if we didnt' finish in the top 25 at all). I've had so many of the same thoughts as you have. Let's tip our hats to Circle of Moms because really this is for them... getting people to their site, and you're right they knew EXACTLY what they were doing. Preying on the weak... I mean the competitive. I can't wait until the contest is over, but I did find YOUR blog (and others) through the process and for that I'm thankful.

  21. I can be really obsessive about silly and ultimately unimportant things too. Sometimes I will get fixated on my blog stats and feel really depressed that only a few people comment on my blog posts. Then I'll snap out of it and wonder why I'm so desperate for validation from people who I don't actually know and am not spending more time focusing on my real life and the people who are in it.

    I have dreamed about tetris before too from playing it for long hours.

    Thanks for a very honest post!

  22. loved this,thanks for sharing :)

    (and sidenote:I'm happy you said that about the contest.I never threw my hat into the ring for it, because I just didnt 'get it'.Whats the point?It doesnt necessarily show the blogs with the best content, all it shows is who can get the most people to vote for them,who is willing to put in the time to beg for votes. Love your blog, love this post. Thanks for the honesty.)

  23. I guess I won't vote for you anymore.

  24. Great post, regardless of the subject of what you are obsessed with, I think your post describes a lot of us runners. I know I definitely have an obsessive personality - how else could I stay focused to train for a marathon? We must be crazy for doing things like this.

    For an example, I can't play any fantasy sports, because I just get too obsessed. I guess I try to keep an eye on myself so I don't go overboard on things. I think one of the main reasons I'm injured right now is that I kind of got obsessed with trying to get in amazing shape prior to tackling my 2011 racing season. I just got too pumped up. It's hard for me to use moderation in things - it's all in, or all out.

    Anyways, this post seemed to resonate with a lot of people, because I think a lot of us runners are obsessed style personalities.

  25. Voting tricks? Ummm is that code for cheating? Wow I'm dissapointed in my fellow running mom bloggers. Glad this thing is almost OVER

  26. And thank you for being honest :) we all get obsessive over things from time to time. I think itsw the same part of us that drives us to be runners!

  27. "His mercies are new every morning"

    Each day is a 24-hour period where we choose what (or whom) we will serve. On Monday we might serve our children. By Tuesday we're serving ourselves. Determined to do better, we start Wednesday with an attempt to serve God, but by the day's end we're serving the world. Thursday we fall slave to serving consumerism and Friday we're back to serving our own egos.

    Its hard isn't it? Hard to stay balanced without going too far off in one direction or another. And just when we think we've got it, we are quickly humbled by the reality that we dont.

    But you know what? His mercies are new every day. He knows we're just dust. Its so easy for us to get caught up in things that dont matter, and we ALLLLLLL do it.
    We take our eyes off Him for a minute, and the world comes rushing in to distract us even more.

    Pray. Ask Him for right priorities and the courage to pursue them. Your heart will align to what is important and your mind will begin to fixate on Jesus instead.

  28. Don't beat yourself up. It's that same competitiveness with the contest that will see you to the finish line on Saturday.

  29. You are not alone in your obsessive thoughts, we all do this and we all have them. Why the world tells us that we need validation from crazy sources I don't know, but we all fall victim to this.

    But I think that your blog is amazing, and that you are worthy of a mountain of awards for just being you.

    Now that you've cleared your mind, enjoy every last moment before that race because you are going to SMOKE your expectations!

  30. Nice to read..Thanks for sharing such an amazing post.
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  31. Best of luck at your marathon!!! And enjoy the vacation. That will be awesome.

    My priorities have shifted lately too and I think it's a natural progression. I think balance is the key to life!!

  32. Oh Amanda....You speak the feelings of my heart. I TOO would normally be too embarassed to admit (oh even this is hard) that I struggle with obsessive behaviour and thinking. I honestly thought I was alone in this. I have spent many a hours going to sleep at night feeling guilty about lost time with my husband and children b/c of my obsession with running, working, emails, face book etc...STUPID things that should not take first priority. IT is like I get into a circle of thought that I can't get out of and it just goes around and around. My husband tells me he thinks I am OCD and I laugh it off but it seriously needs attention. thanks for this email. love you to bits!

  33. Actually, I did read all 1,374 words in this post. Yes, I copy/pasted into Word and did word count :-) You know how much I like to tease you :-)

    Here's my take. You are too hard on yourself. What happened to you during this contest is just plain normal. You were not the only only "begging" for votes. In fact, not even close. You made it playful and poked fun at yourself. Who doesn't check to see if they have Comments to their new post?

    As far as running and training vs being a Mom/Wife. Of course it's a balance, but being a dedicated marathon runner makes you a better mom and wife. Think of it this way, in an airplane when there is a sudden loss of cabin pressure, we are told to put the yellow mask on ourselves first, before out kids. We need to take care of ourselves and meet our own needs which only makes us better parents. And, great examples.

  34. I was just going to read everyone's most recent blogs because I'm so far behind but I can't skip your posts ever because they always make me think. I too waste too much of my time away from my family - not on the Circle of Moms but definitely on FB and suchlike. Time for a ration!