More than just a mom.

Aug 18, 2017

3 years and 11 months ago, I met my first beautiful daughter. From that day forward, every waking hour would be dedicated to catering to her, and 21 months later, her younger sister. I'm not complaining. Being a mom is more fulfilling than anything I've ever experienced, but there isn't much room for "me time". 
Occasionally, we'd get a babysitter.  Ryan and I would go out for dinner, and it would be great... but he was never as excited about a kid free meal as I was. He goes for lunch with his coworkers on a regular basis. He spends 8 hours a day in an office surrounded by grownups who have real conversations that are never interrupted by demands for more milk.  
Again, I am not complaining. My husband works very hard to support out family. I chose to be a stay at home mom and I am grateful for the opportunity to spend my days with my daughters.  But, like any mom who spends all day, every day with small children, I longed for some time to myself. I felt like my entire identity was "Aaralee and Briley's mom". While that was a dream come true in itself, I missed my busy, adventurous, and somewhat interesting former self.  I wanted to be more than "just a mom", but I felt too guilty to ever say it out loud.  
Sure, I'd have some time alone. I'd go to the grocery store solo to pick up diapers. I'd walk to the mailbox when Ryan came home from work.  Sometimes, Ryan would take the girls to Costco and I'd have the entire house to myself.  
Still, I longed for something more. I wanted to do something for myself.  I needed adventure, challenge, and an outlet for my creativity. So this year, I vowed to do more for myself. I'd still put my kids first, but I needed to be happy too.  
It all started with signing up for a half marathon. Up until last year, I hated running. It was exhausting, boring, and one form of exercise I'd never understand. That was, until I tried running alone.  With nothing but the sound of my feet hitting the pavement, I felt free. I was all alone, if only for half an hour. I ran a few 5k races last year, and discovered my competitive nature. I never thought I'd run any further, until I managed to snag a spot for the incredible Seawheeze half marathon. Running a half marathon was one of those bucket list items that I just expected to never check off.  But for the past 4 months, I've dedicated many mornings and every weekend to training for a distance that seemed impossible.  Some days I felt like giving up, but most days I loved it. I'd wake up before Ryan left for work and start my days with a bit of alone time.  I felt so much better on run days... I had more energy and more patience.  It was quite possible that running was making me a better mother.  On the days that Aaralee was awake when I left, she'd see me getting dressed and tell me to "have a good run!" Last weekend I traveled to Vancouver for the race, and ran 21.1 kilometres in 1 hour, 59 minutes.  Me, the girl who hated running. I just ran a half marathon.  I hope that I've inspired my girls to set big goals and to work hard to achieve them.  

This summer I've also put more effort into doing things that I enjoy doing with friends. I've had pedicures, shopping trips, dinner dates and crafting nights with some of my best friends.  Meanwhile, my girls get some much appreciated time with their daddy.  Why is it that once we have kids, we stop doing the things that we used to love? I love being a mom and wife, but my goodness, I've missed being a friend.  

Last but not least, this year I've focused more on taking photos and less on comparing myself to all of my incredibly talented photographer friends... including my husband. We all start somewhere, and I was letting my lack of confidence stop me from learning to be better. I vowed to learn to shoot in full manual mode, finally figure out how to edit photos, and to take candid photos of my kids on a regular basis. As soon as I stopped caring so much about what everyone else thought, I got better. I enjoyed taking photos again. Strangers even started asking me to photograph their families. I have a long way to go, with so many amazing photographers to inspire and motivate me I only want to keep learning. Living with 2 of the cutest models is certainly helpful. 

I'm no longer Krysta, the flight attendant, world traveler, or even blogger. It has taken some time to embrace the end of that era, but I'm finally there. These days I'm Krysta, the runner, photographer, and most importantly, Krysta the mommy, friend, and wife.  I feel like the luckiest girl in the world.