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Title of this photo is "The Chauvinist Mystique" and I love it, but hate that it has to exist. Photo by Flickr user girl_onthe_les (Creative Commons license).

Title of this photo is “The Chauvinist Mystique” and I love it, but hate that it has to exist. Photo by Flickr user girl_onthe_les (Creative Commons license).

I’ve been waiting for it, but it’s just not there–that feeling of euphoria, of pushing through a block, of being in the zone…

…ok, now I’m just relying on cliches because I don’t run. As I have proclaimed in the past, so shall I proclaim again: I only run if I’m being chased. Hiking, climbing, biking, swimming? Love them. Running and jogging? I see no appeal.

Of course, I’m talking about the physical act of running when what I really mean is, running errands. And other than getting to fall asleep having crossed everything off my to-do list–which is a small pleasure, mind you–there is no euphoria.

I posted about overdoing it a few weeks ago. Nothing has really changed except oh wait, I work full-time hours now at Juniata College. And while I have a month off from teaching at the Center, I’m working with a student one-on-one, and editing poetry manuscripts through Blood Lotus, and both Jax and I had surgery in the same month (him: ear tubes, me: wisdom teeth), and someone stole my bank account info and temporarily took my checking account down to $30, and my antibiotics had less-than-desirable side effects, I haven’t grocery shopped much in three weeks because I couldn’t chew, and I could keep going but I’m surely late for something.

All of these things require getting in the car to go somewhere. Usually more than once. The appointments and extra trips to the bank and store rearrange days that are already packed with work and toddler time. Sometimes my entire day can be rearranged by hitting every red light. I have to plan to leave work 15 mins early in two weeks to get a haircut.

A few days ago, I picked Jax up at daycare, ran home, ran around the kitchen whipping up a quick lunch for us both, and if the food could’ve run itself down my throat, I wouldn’t made that happen, too. While chewing my last bite, I looked at the clock and saw I had 10 minutes before I had to get Jax down for a nap and head right back to work for the afternoon (love my dad for being home in the afternoons, and my son for still wanting his naps. Kid still takes BOSS naps. Really, that fact alone negates the need for this entire post, right? I’ll remind myself that the next time I’m sitting at a red light cursing all of time.).

Anyway. Ten minutes. I put antibiotic drops in punkin’s ears, changed his diaper, and curled up with him on a pile of pillows on the floor of his room to read two of his favorite books. I even told that nagging, rushing voice in my head to STFU for a minute. Books on the floor with my boy, who wants to snuggle. Who has heard these books so many times that HE is starting to read them to ME, which is the absolute best. We read them, and he put his thumb in his mouth and nuzzled me, and I kissed his curls and put him down for his nap.

And ran to my car, and raced back to work, and blazed through my afternoon.

Take the quiet, snuggling moments, yes. Never be too busy for them, yes. But. What do you do when the running feels like it’s running you over? Work is one thing; I love my jobs, and there’s no way around my needing them (so my loving them is equally vital and great). But all the extras. When you have an already packed day, how do you not completely break down at the thought of a stop at the grocery store, and oh wait there’s no money because thieves, and now you have to go to the bank today, too, and lunch-on-the-go is no option if all you can eat is soup and mashed potatoes, and seriously if that light turns red, you will miss an important meeting.

I’m not the first single mom, or even busy person, to feel this way. Run run run is making me rundown. I get alternately angry and sad about having to do it by myself. I get mad at society, because I look around and see lots of women running their asses off like this–and lots of them have husbands. I don’t have a husband, and sometimes I think that’s sad, that maybe I’d have more help if I did. More often, though, I think: how much more running would I be doing if I DID have a husband? I get mad for my stepmom, my best friends, my colleagues, even a woman at the grocery store, corralling two kids in the checkout line while the man with her flips through a magazine and looks bored. I don’t want to generalize against men, but dang. Maybe I’m just tired. I try to sleep more, and can’t. My feet and mind run even when I’m horizontal.

Run run run. Stop and read a book and give a hug. Run some more. It is the single mom way. It is the way of women, really. Sorry guys. I’ll check my misandric leanings another day. Gotta run.