First Steps in the Parenting Marathon

Every action begins with one of the most indescribly complex things in the universe: making a choice. To quote Yoda, the initial choice for humans is often to “do or do not.” Today is the day I “do” my first blog.

Late last week amid all the messages in my tweetvalanche (www.twitter.com/@JimEMartin) a friend and colleague mentioned that he was bummed about not being able to make his daughter’s Christmas play. John is younger than I am and my oldest child is much older than his kids, all of which led me to respond with this somewhat patronizing, sage comment: “parenting is a marathon and not a sprint”.
 
With that comment I knew I had finally answered a question that has been rolling around in my brain: When would I start writing my parenting blog? I am a short way into what I recognize as the next stage of my parenting marathon. It doesn’t matter that I have only run 5k before and my goal is to do a half marathon before turning 50. It doesn’t matter that I am mangling the marathon metaphor to death.
 
It matters that I have finally found a way to explain my parenting to myself.
 
I am blessed, truly blessed, to be the father of 3 children, a 16 year-old and 5 year-old twins. 2 of my children live with Autism Spectrum Disorder, 1 of them on the severe end of the spectrum.
 
As a recently unpartnered part time father, I have had to start the grieving process for many things in a short period of time: in the last year my mother passed away, my marriage abruptly and unexpectedly came to an end, I no longer wake up and go to sleep in the same house as my children do everyday, my oldest was diagnosed with Aspergers, I’ve moved twice. And my constant companion for the last ten years, my mutt died.
 
My blog is about that part of my life that needs the greatest amount of energy, love and empathy; being a dad. Sure there are challenges and I want to share those and receive wisdom on how to overcome them, because my kids need a dad who is growing as a father.
 
My kids need a dad who is running his own parenting marathon. Care to keep pace with me?

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6 thoughts on “First Steps in the Parenting Marathon

  1. As a runner sharing experiences and best practices makes for a better runner, so kudos to you for putting it out there. That said, we get little or no training to parent. A 1/2 marathon is 21.1km…most of our parenting is finished at 21 years of age, coincidence, I’ m not sure. So, where does that leave us. Well, there is no way we would EVER consider running a marathon (or a 1/2 as it were) without attempting to train, practice and most importantly take care of ourselves. For the most part, we are determined to parent differnt than our parents, even if in the long run, they did an awesome job, considering they entered the race the same way we did – untrained. Both my children have reached 21 years of age and are becoming wonderful adults and I managed to actually run a 1/2 marathon….so it can be done. How? Try not to become so overwhelmed at the distance between birth and 21 years, but celebrate those ‘small’ races that will be won along the way and take care of yourself. Good Luck!

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    • We may not get a manual and a log to track our progress, but we can get feedback from others with experience. Coaching is all around us so that we don’t get overwhelmed by the distance. Thank you for yours and for pointing out that parenting differently from our parents is not necessarily always better. They gave us the values to succeed. My own parents lived through war and the Depression. They had a lot to teach me when I was ready to learn.

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  2. Congratulations on taking the first step in blogging; I think the first one is the toughest! Love some of your descriptive words– tweetvalanche and unpartnered–they evoke emotions I can relate to. I hope to be someone who can gain wisdom and share wisdom while reading, and maybe get an article over on my site once it’s up and running (forgive the running metaphor, had to do it!) Best wishes!

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    • Thank you for your support and encouragement. Being new on this journey, I can use advice on all sorts of practical things like when or how often to post. I guess pace buddy would be the running reference. It would be great to contribute to your site.

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  3. Jim welcome to the blogsphere and congratulations on taking this gigantic leap forward in your marathon. Putting one’s self out there is scary, yet most often so rewarding.

    I am looking forward to reading more and finally meeting up to discuss what will likely be a cornucopia of topics 🙂

    Oh, and regarding something in the post above; you are not a part time father – you are so clearly a full time father, you just don’t see them as much as you did previously. That doesn’t detract from your commitment to parenting your wonderful children. I haven’t met you yet and this I already know. 🙂

    Good luck with the journey. You are in some good company.

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    • Thank you so much, Bonnie. It is a little scary, but then risks with great rewards can be scary.

      I see your point about part time vs. full time. It’s not about the hours with kids, but about the hours devoted to kids. That rounds up closer to 24/7. When we do meet to discuss charities, our special kids and how to engage others I am sure that still counts as parenting.

      Best wishes

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