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Mother’s Day come-down

I’m suffering from Mother’s Day come-down.  In the old partying days of my youth, Tuesday was always the day you’d feel the effects of a heavy weekend.  It was the day reality returned and glumness with it.
However in these freakishly fit marathon training days of mine, today’s come-down isn’t to do with alcohol.  And it’s not that I’m missing being fed, watered and treated like a princess and banned from clearing up, emptying the dishwasher, or putting the washing on.  The come-down is to do with the realization of what a fairly rubbish mother I am most of the time.

If only it was always like it was on Sunday.  If only every day was a Mothering Sunday.

I awoke to a bunch of home-made tissue and straw flowers, crayoned cards emblazoned with tear-jerkingly gorgeous messages, as well as well as plate full of heart-shaped toast.  I had been planning on my longest marathon training run yet, an 18-miler along the coast, but as the sun shone in through the window bathing three blonde heads in halos of gold, I yawned and took a rain check. I’d run another day, I announced, to cheers of approval.

I decided there and then to give one hundred percent of my attention to my kids.  For the whole day.

It was surprisingly hard.

Quite quickly I realized how often I tell them I’ll read to them, or play with them, then go off and do something else.  How often I check my Blackberry.  How little time I make to kick a ball around, or pull them on their scooters.  How I get into their bedrooms intending to get involved in their latest arty glue-and-paper project and start putting socks away instead.  And if that wasn’t enough, I’ve now thrown my marathon training into their free-time/mummy-time mix.

But on Sunday, as I sat in the sunshine having a fry-up and letting the kids play with my camera, I realized how happy everyone was now that they were getting my full and undivided attention.  And how happy I was too.  I looked at every person running past and thought, ‘but it’s Mother’s Day.  Thank God.  I’m not running.’

Just as an aside here, I have to say, for the record, that there are absolutely no discernible benefits of training to run a marathon.  If you were thinking of doing it, don’t.

OK, so I don’t get so out of breath in the last-minute pre-school dash up the stairs for the forgotten hairband/nappywipes/school-book. But at the same time, I haven’t lost any weight.  Not so much as a pound.  You’d have thought I’d look like Kylie by now, but alas, no.

And everywhere I turn people have their own marathon advice – or warnings.  At the school gates, a lovely nutritionist Mummy mate checked that I was taking a very strong anti-oxidant?  Anti what?  I asked.  She looked genuinely concerned.  Didn’t I know that running produces superannuating free-radicals?  I was grateful for the warning, but alarmed that I’ll have aged 20 years by April.

However, one great bit of advice I heard on Sunday, as I was sharing a giant ice-cream with the little one.  ‘To run a marathon you have to be slightly under-trained and slightly over-weight.’

Marvelous.  My work here is done.

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