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Mud, Miles, and Munchkins: Dirty Laundry

lmcgarraughartSomeone back in the 80s or 90s told women “they can have it all”.

I almost think it was a man who said it as a dare, but as most of us are finding out having it all is next to impossible. There are a lot of women who do a great job balancing everything and I envy those women who look like they have it together, but we all know something has got to give. Being a mom, wife and an ultra-marathoner in training, I knew I was going to have to put something on the back burner. Something in my life was not going to get the attention it needed. My priorities changed. I have a lot of “dirty laundry” figuratively and literally.

First thing to go was my social life. Outside of my running friends I really do not have any adults I see on a regular basis. I no longer go to happy hour or girl’s night out. I do not belong to a Bunco group or just go shopping with girlfriends. When I do go out, I can’t have a couple of beers or stay out past 11:00PM because I have to get up the next morning and run.

My television watching has decreased dramatically. My husband and I used to watch something every night of the week. Now we are lucky if we get an hour of uninterrupted TV. I am lucky if I can stay up to watch TMZ.

I am the mom who drops off her preschooler in running clothes, running hat and no makeup. It is a good day if I actually put makeup on or take a shower (you don’t sweat as much in the winter). My three year old went to school with store bought paper valentines instead of fancy bags of candy from Pinterest. When did store bought valentines become so “not cool”. I completely missed that mom memo.

I no longer get pedicures…not because I don’t want to, but because I only have four toenails. I used to have really pretty feet now I wonder if I will ever have them again.

Finally, my house is a disaster. I have never been one to clean. I have hated it since I was a child and it carried through adulthood. I am lucky my husband is understanding, doesn’t mind blocks on the floor or laundry half put away and he has hired a cleaning lady to come twice a month. I do make it a priority to load and unload the dishwasher every day, but that is about it.

Many people need the cleanliness to function properly or to relax and I may sleep better at night if my house was clean, but my kids are the priority. I have two children who are loved, played with, entertained, bathed, and fed. Are they going to remember that mom wasn’t a good housekeeper? Probably. Do you think they are going to care? Hopefully not. I hope they remember all the fun times we had cutting up paper, building blocks and making blanket tents.

My husband bought me the neatest running shirt and it said “Running won’t solve all your problems, but then again neither will housework.” I wear it with pride.


Some skeptics may read this and say, “Stop running and you can have all those things back”.

Well, then I wouldn’t be me. I wouldn’t be a happy, healthy, strong mom and role model for my kids. I wouldn’t be a happy wife. I may find some other hobby that may not be as good for me. For those reasons I am willing to give up pretty feet, nice clothes, TV, a lot of beer and my Saturday mornings.

– Liz McGarraugh

About the author

Liz McGarraugh Liz McGarraugh began her ultra running journey as a bet with Jason when Milena was four months old. Jason told her they could talk about having a third child after she completed a 50 mile race. In October of 2013, she completed Palo Duro and decided, for the moment, ultra running will be her third baby. Liz’s journey has taken her from pounding out the miles and building her base, to learning and understanding the finer points of training, health and technique. As all Mother Runners know, life does not always abide by your training schedule.

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