The Big Leap

When I got pregnant, I thought, this is great, I will have so much to write about!  But as you can see, I haven’t posted a damn thing anywhere.  I’ve thought about it many times, and I’ve written drafts. But to be honest, I was afraid.  Pregnancy and parenting blogging seemed to present a gauntlet of potential judgment and mis-steps.  I was afraid to post my opinions on things for fear of insulting or appalling other moms and mom-to-bes.  Writing about mountain biking is one thing: I have a fairly limited audience, and a limited number of people I can offend.  Not to mention that most of what I’m writing is pretty unoffensive in general.  I’m writing about experiences more so than opinions, and the people reading what I write are mostly like-minded individuals with the same passion for riding bikes that I have.

Motherhood however, is a much more broadly experienced part of life.  I know people of all walks of life that are moms or would like to be moms, and almost all of them have different styles and thoughts on how best to raise their kids – some of whom I agree with, some of whom I don’t.  With such a wide range of opinions, no matter what I write, someone is bound to disagree, possibly vehemently.  I also know women that wouldn’t dream of being moms, or maybe just have no real desire to do so, and I also fear judgement of my choices from them.  Am I perceived to be giving up on my ambitions by having a baby?  The audience that could potentially relate to my writing goes up tenfold with this new topic, and so, in turn, do the number of people lurking in the online ether waiting to place judgment on my thoughts and opinions.  It’s a scary world out there for a blogging mom to be.

So here I am, only 6 days remaining until my due date, and I’m writing, and maybe this time, I’ll let the world see.  I think I’m ready to tiptoe carefully into this world and see what people think.  Maybe it starts with linking life before to life now by talking about how I’ve kept my sanity through pregnancy using a bike.  And maybe that leads me to a pet peeve I have with many parents, and maybe that gets me in trouble right out of the gate.  I guess with this new adventure looming; with a small life form about to tip me headfirst into an abyss of complete unknown, survival has started to seem like the more pressing issue, rather than the opinions of others.  Maybe I want to find out if there are others out there who are like me.  Surely there are.  Maybe I’m feeling the need to connect.

I should start at the beginning.

Deciding to have a baby was not an easy decision for my husband and I.  I thought it would be, but it wasn’t.  If you had asked me at 25 if I wanted to be a mom, I would have said “Of Course!”. But then life happened, and babies didn’t, and I was having a lot of fun, and I became pretty comfortable with the life I had.  I had a career, and an amazing husband, I was achieving goals, and experiencing the world, following my athletic dreams,  why on earth would I want that to change?  Well, I’ll tell you what happened: All of a sudden, I’m 32 and I realize, shit… I’ve been following this one dream… but I forgot about that other dream I used to have, where I have a kid to share all of this amazing stuff with.  Crap, my brain says, can’t I have both?

Common sense says yes, but public opinion seems to say no.  The overwhelming majority of what I hear from other parents, is that “life as you know it is over” once you have kids .  Well, I have to be honest, I really don’t want this to be the end of life as I know it.  I fully expect change, and I’m ready to embrace it, but the end of life as I know it?  Doesn’t sound so great to me. Tip number one for parents: try telling people considering having a baby the good parts up front, not exclusively the bad parts.  You’ll never sleep, you’ll never have enough money, you’ll never get to ride anymore, travel will be impossible.  All of these statements from others, while meant to be perceived lightly and jokingly for the most part, weighed heavily on my mind, like boulders blocking the tunnel back to the time when I was sure having kids was right for me.  So it took some thinking.  It took a year of exploring, a year of sopping up all the experiences I could, and pondering whether this was enough, or if that dream I held of being a mom was still pinned back there, behind those rocks, at the back of my mind, waiting to resurface, maybe too late.  It would have been an easier decision if my husband was firmly in one camp or another, but he was in the same boat as me, having always imagined having kids, but a bit scared of the reality of actually doing it.  We both needed some time to figure it out, together. So we took it – traveling together, having lots of long conversations over meals and on chairlifts in different parts of the world, thoroughly appreciating what we had and carefully observing what our friends with kids had, in order to figure out what we wanted.

Based on the fact that I just told you I’m 6 days away from my due date, you can probably guess the route that this self reflection took us down.  It still doesn’t feel quite real, but here we are.  While I’m still nervous about being a good mom, and unsure how I’m going to handle the initial sleep deprivation and the constant dependency our little one will have on us, I’m also excited.  Excited to meet the little munchkin we created and watch them grow. Excited to learn about being a parent, and see how that changes or doesn’t change us as people and as a couple.  Excited to try to merge Margaret the mountain biker with Margaret the Mom and prove that it is possible to be both.  And maybe most of all, excited to introduce this new human being to this wonderful albeit sometimes frightening world.  We are ready for a new adventure, and this certainly seems like the beginning of a  good one.

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14 thoughts on “The Big Leap

  1. Jeana and I are so happy for you guys. I’ll say, that this little bundle of joy is the best thing that has ever happened to us.

    I was in the same boat as you and Russell, wondering what if, and how this is going to effect us.

    I think that the initial reaction that other people have about having kids, automatically turn to the, “you’ll never sleep,” “you’ll never ride your bike again.” But no one ever talks about the good stuff.
    Yes we don’t get a “solid” 8 hours of sleep. And yes, I haven’t been on the bike since Madison was born. But I know that I will. And as she gets older, it’s something that I can share with her as well. But let me tell you, I can’t wait to get off of work to come home to my baby girl. She has made Jeana’s and I, relationship even stronger. And every single smile or funny face that is made, makes all the dirty diapers, intermittent power naps, and burp spit ups all over the place, well worth it.

    You two are gonna do great!

  2. Margaret you are going to be a great mom! Life will change, but it is not over. You have many great moms that you are surrounded with that you can reach out to at any time. I’m not saying there will never be tough times, but that’s life in general, parent or not. Best wishes for you and the new little one about to come into your life! 🙂

    • Thanks Heather! I always love seeing the adventures you and your family go on. We’re certainly lucky to have a number of role model moms and dads to remind us that with the hard, comes the awesome 🙂

  3. I agree people should tell you the good, because there is so much. I like to say that we’ve just added another partner to our adventures. We need to pack another bag (or two or three) but she’s with us every step of the way 🙂

    • Love this Carrie, thanks for the response 🙂 Can’t wait to meet your little one one of these days! I think parents just forget that the rest of us don’t know about all the amazing parts yet. I’ve started to think of it like a secret club 😉

  4. Oh goodness, Margaret, I had no idea that you were mostly receiving negatives and people weren’t telling you about the good. It’s mostly all good! Look at us now, with two teen boys sharing their dad’s love of MTB and taking it places that weren’t available to him when he was young. We just got back from MTB camp and Nats! Sure, maybe you get less sleep, but that is just at first, and honestly, if you make sleep a priority and sleep when you can then it isn’t so bad. We won’t give you “how to help the baby sleep ideas” because everyone has different ideas and you have to do what works for you. My biggest sleep mistake the first month was prioritizing laundry and dishes over my getting sleep, so don’t do that! As for riding, it was still easy for Mike to get out when the boys were babies; it’s when they are 3+ that it changes because they want to go, and you find yourself managing your time on the bike with their time on the bike, but it still all works out. Putting in the bike time with them when they are young gives you riding partners for life (in addition to Russell, of course). We travelled more when the boys were younger than we do now, maybe not international travel, but they’ve been all over California and the other western states. Babies and children need the basics of food, shelter, clothing, and love — all things that are just as easy to give when traveling as they are at home. Maybe young children slow you down, but hiking with a 2YO helps *you* to see all the little things you might have missed. There was a whole world at my feet that I had ceased to see once I became an adult, and my boys brought that back to me. They slowed me down and reminded me that a creek is more than something to cross, it is a place to stop for at least an hour, to explore, to splash in, and to have a snack by. It’s truly all going to be amazing, Margaret!

    • Thanks so much for the reply Kim and the positive insights into parenting!! It’s not so much that I received only negativity, it’s just that that’s what people always seem to lead with. When I press them, the positive comments always come out, which is why in part, we didn’t run screaming from the idea 🙂 I think parents feel ok making those types of comments in joking ways because they have this knowledge that it’s all worth it and the goods outweigh the hardships, but sometimes they forget that the rest of us non parents don’t know that yet. We have been fortunate to have lots of good examples to see how much fun and light kids can bring to life, just when we were trying to decide what to do, it was challenging to see past the hard parts that people always talk about. Challenge is what makes the greatest adventures though 🙂

  5. Please, please write more!! My desire to be a mother is so strong and my love of mountain biking is also so strong! Like you, I see a lot of examples of one or the other. You are amazing and I appreciate your view into this stage of life! Thank you for being open with us. I wish you the very best in your delivery and getting to know your new baby!

  6. Last weekend we had a great crafton ride with Addie in the ibert. Thinking about tomorrow too, yay. It’s soo fun to do family rides. I am sorry for complaining to you about my rusty bike a time or two… The slow down has been mentally challenging for me, but I know it’s just going to get better! I totally agree biking kept me sane during my pregnancy😀
    I was joking with Jeff about trying to ride on the trainer thru contractions, that would have been interesting. Can’t wait to hear more about your journey.

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