Pre-baby life and post-baby life sometimes look vastly different for me.

Pre-baby I did things like: curled my hair, had organized closets, made dinner, showered regularly.

Post-baby I do things like: compare the safety ratings of car seats, run out of dry shampoo and laundry detergent more often, shop for the baby instead of myself, and play and laugh more than ever.

Sometimes my pre-baby life feels like a lifetime ago, and in some ways, it is. But this new version of my life and myself has so much more to offer, creating something even better than before.

I used to be a runner. I loved to run. Running and group exercise classes are my top two favorite forms of exercise.

But I have an 8 month old baby and I just now got a jogging stroller. I have no idea what took me so long to make this happen. Sometimes you're so in something that you can't really see clearly, you know?

I think the first bit of motherhood was like this for me. But now, at 8 months postpartum, in the middle of winter in the northwest, I have a jogging stroller. The timing seems simultaneously odd and perfect.

Because there are some things from my pre-baby life that are too good to leave behind. Things like self-care, exercise, and endorphins. These are the kinds of things I want to bring with me into this new self that I'm becoming, as I begin to merge my old life with the new.

Running is one of those things that feels like it's at the core of who I am. I ran my first 5k at age 12 and have ran many races since, including three half marathons, (which is the longest distance I will likely ever desire to run thankyouverymuch) but it's enough and so much more for me.

I feel like myself when I run, and as a new mom, sometimes I just need that little reminder. That even though I have this new identity as a mom, at the core of it I'm still me. The me who loves to run and read and write and design. The me who is all those things and a mom. Not one or the other.

Babies demand a lot, and it's a good thing to give into that, giving up sleep and time and priorities for now, but it's also good to hold onto a few things that are non-negotiables. For me that looks like taking care of myself so that I can best take care of my baby. I can only pour out all my love, time, patience and attention when I'm filled up first. Running is one way that I'm trying to do more of that.

Stroller pictured is by Thule (too-lee), the trusted outdoor gear brand, and this post is shared in partnership with them.  Originally I chose this stroller because of the Baby Gear Lab jogging stroller review here, and while I absolutely love it for running, I was surprised at how great it also performed as a day-to-day stroller. It's lighter than the Bob or Nuna, the straps click in much more easily, and the three wheel design instead of four is a game changer in terms of maneuverability (and as a bonus it's the least expensive compared to the other two by a landslide). If I was doing it all over again I would just have this stroller as my main one, plus the car seat attachment for the first few months. Truly a great buy.