(Due to a trip to the ER with the little man last night we are a day late for #MotivationalMom Monday)
This week we are featuring Judy Dixon as our #MotivationalMom. Judy is a forty-six year old (although she looks, feels and acts like 30) mother of two teenage children – Gabi and Noah.
When you talk about a “busy” mom, Judy fits the bill to a T. Not only does she run her household, manage the schedules of two busy kids but she is also a Special Education Paraprofessional. In addition she works as a Pre-School Summer Camp Director, Parent/Child Playgroup Facilitator (Me and My Dad; Tots & Tales; Talking About Touching Personal Safety) and a Mighty Mites Coach! I’m tired just thinking of what her days look like!
One of the things Judy always finds a way to make time for is her health and fitness. She is an avid runner who has completed a handful of 5ks, a 5-miler, a couple of 10ks, a 10-miler, two half-marathons, and one full marathon (in October 2013, at 45!) She’ll tell you she’s either passionately running or passionately avoiding running! What runner isn’t like this? While she claims that she doesn’t love races she does admit that they keep her on track and focused on her fitness! One thing Judy does during her races is to make sure she doesn’t STOP RUNNING. No matter her pace she refuses to walk – except through water stations!
This past fall after completing her first marathon Judy started experiencing hip pain that she couldn’t shake. She tried everything from running and walking through it, stretching at home and through yoga, using the always hated foam roller and even tried resting it – all to no avail. She began to think perhaps her running days were over. But being the incredibly tenacious woman that she is, Judy joined a group of colleagues at work who were following the Couch to 5k plan. Part of that program involves regular weight training. Amazingly Judy discovered that by adding in gentle and slow strength training she was able to “fix” her problem. A lot of runners, especially newer ones, tend to ignore weight training, but it’s an important part of a good running routine. What could have ended Judy’s love for running ended up being something that ultimately will make her runs easier and longer!
In addition to running and now weight training, Judy is also a Yoga-lover and a cyclist. During the time when her hip was bothering her the most, she frequently rode her bike to work as a two-fer. She hoped it might heal her ache but it also kept her physically fit during her injury!
One of the things that Judy kept in her mind as she was working to fix her hip was “You might fall off the wagon now and then. Just don’t let the horse run away with it!” (You’ve always got to chase that wagon down and climb back on.) She knew that if she gave up that she’d never get back to the sport she loves the most. So she kept climbing back on the wagon and eventually she persevered.
When I asked Judy what personal achievements she’s most proud of she answered me openly and honestly. Her words were too personal for me to try to paraphrase:
What Personal Achievements are you most proud of and why?: Wow! Tough one. I really hope this doesn’t come off like a cop out or as a judgment of others. It is neither of those things. I am really proud that I have been able to scale my work life back in order to live a balanced life in support of my family. I am not a person who juggles too many things gracefully. Perfection is my middle name in terms of achievement. So when I was teaching full time in the inner city with a baby at home, I was constantly anxious, truly tortured, by the reality of not being able to be all things to all people at work AND at home. I have been fortunate to find several positions over the years, from part-time to full-time, that have allowed me to feel professionally fulfilled and to be available to my family in a way that feels manageable. But I do not carry a job title that is commensurate with my experience or my commitment. For a high achiever like me, it has been personally challenging for me to work at positions for which I may be technically over qualified. (It was emotionally charged for me to even answer the occupation question of this interview!) However, it is in my more subordinate service roles that I have learned the most about myself, about others and about the various organizations I have been affiliated with. And my life has had a balance that would not have been possible for me otherwise. I have been able to be a “yes” mom: “Yes, I can pick you up.” “Yes, we can run to the store to look for that.” “Yes, I can help you with that homework.” Of course, it must be acknowledged that I certainly have had to accept a lower income as a function of my lifestyle. I am privileged to parent in a full partnership with a husband who provides more than his share of the household income load. Together we are lucky to have what we need and some extras too, but there are certainly luxuries that families around us can enjoy that we have to decline. Life is about choices, and I have to accept the drawbacks of mine. I do not judge those of you who balance full careers and life with children. I am amazed by you, and a part of me always pokes, “Why can’t I do that?” Accepting that that is not the healthiest scenario for me has been a huge undertaking, one that I continue to work on.
A “perfect” week in the Dixon household is one where Judy eats week, doesn’t binge on sugar and processed carbs, completes the weight training circuit at her gym twice, gets in three or four runs and completes a non-impact cardio workout. Then add in a few hours of fulfilling work with inspired colleagues and magical students who, in spite of significant special needs and obstacles, never fail to teach her about living a life that matters. She would sprinkle in a few happy moments with her kids, teens that can occasionally offer a casual comment that sends her over the moon–“Thanks, Mom. You do too much for me.” “No way, Mom! Mrs. So-and-so canNOT be younger than you!” “My brother plays soccer, and my mom is a runner.” And of course she would cap it off with Saturday date night with her awesome husband of almost 23 years for cosmos and candlelight! Dinner conversation would center on how much they have to be grateful for and what their next adventures might be.
With August coming to an end and Judy’s kids going back to school I asked her to think about her personal and fitness goals for the next year. Being the overachiever that she is her list is not a short one!
Just a few of the things she wants to accomplish are, living a balanced life, eat consistently well, work out consistently, learn new skills that enrich my work and personal life, maybe write a book, find a volunteer role, openly express joy, appreciation of others and gratitude daily. Her number one fitness goal is to run three half-marathons in three consecutive months–September, October, November. With a plan to finish a half in under 2 hours.
Judy’s zest for life and the love she has for her family inspires me daily. She is a woman worth knowing, even just casually. I am so lucky to have her in my life in such a significant role. (I hope she knows how much I love her! J) If you are interested in getting to “know” Judy more you can check her out on Instagram at Judith_dixon or as she says:
“If you REALLY want to follow me, meet me at the town common next Sunday and jog really slow.”