Badass Mother runner

So this Sunday is Mother’s Day. If you haven’t bought or created your mom a gift, you should do that now and I hope you have two day shipping on Amazon.

Being a mom is hard. I’ve always thought that birthdays should really be a celebration of not just the child but the mother who fought to bring their screaming naked ass into the world.

Mom’s who are also runners are amazing women. Juggling the responsibilities of being a mom and finding time to run is hard. It takes sacrifice, determination, and creativity. I’ve learned a few tricks of the trade over the last few years.

Include your kids in your running. Strollers, bikes, scooters, the younger you can start including them the easier it will be for you in the future to continue to include them. Make it something you do together. They don’t need to go all the time, because mom needs time for herself too. It’s important for them to know you are taking care of yourself so you can be there for them. We put our children before ourselves all the time, but as our kids get older they need to learn that mom has needs just like they do. Taking time, even if it’s only thirty minutes a few times a week, for yourself will make you a better mom.

Run early or late. When my kids were younger, they are teens now, I would run early enough that I would be home to make breakfast when they got up. Sometimes this meant that I got up at 3 am, but being there for breakfast was important to me. You can also run after they go to bed or at lunch if you are also a working mom.

Because I am also a single mom, my kids have always known the route I was running and what time I would be back. They had a phone to call me if they woke up before I returned. I always stayed close enough to the house that I could get back within ten to fifteen minutes. They knew which neighbors they could go to in case of an emergency. They knew when to call for emergency services. If you have children too young to be left alone, find another mom who is willing to trade running days and child care days.

You’re running is important not just for you, but for your kids. You are modeling healthy habits. Too many children, especially in the United States, haven’t grown up being active. It makes me sad when I walk my dogs each evening and see very few children in the streets playing. They are not even out in their yards. When I was a child, we were always running around outside:exploring our neighborhoods and creating adventures.

The hardest decision comes when you have a conflict in schedule with your child’s such as when there is a race you really want to do, but your child also has an event that day and time. This may be an easy decision for some, but for others, me included, it’s hard. I typically went with being there for my kids. The race will be there when they are older. They will never participate in the event in the same way.

Happy Mother’s Day and Happy Running.

 

Ultraparenting

 

My Boys and Me
My Boys and Me

Parenting has taught me a lot about running, but running has taught me even more about parenting. Both endeavors throw unexpected challenges right before your feet and expect your best effort in return. There are going to be good days, and bad days. You don’t always get to choose which one you are going to have on any given day. You don’t really get to choose the children or runs you have.

Yes, picking a good partner is helpful, having structure, rules and love is a great foundation to build upon, but that doesn’t always guarantee you anything when it comes to kids or runs. Every child and run is individual.  You can only control so much of what goes into them.

Although, I cannot promise you will have an epic run if you put all the training in, I guarantee that if you put nothing into parenting or running, you will get negative experiences out of them. The more you put in, the more likely you are to get what you want out of it. What comes out is not always what you expect and in that, lays the challenge and beauty.

Parenting like running is hard and sometimes it hurts. There are many excuses to not take the time to be actively involved with your kids on a day-to-day basis. Everyone is busy working and trying to stay on top of everything they have going on in their lives. Kids are more independent and mobile than ever before. They have more freedom and more time without adult supervision, and many of parents expect them to be more independent and dependable than they are actually ready for, which causes our children to rebel when we turn around and try to set limits on their activities.

All of these are reasons to be more involved and know who your kids are with and where they are. You would never just show up at the starting line of a marathon without training and expect a good result. You cannot throw your children into the world without training and expect a good result either.

Most people are amazed when they find out that I have a seventeen-year-old son and a thirteen-year-old son. “You are not old enough to have a child that age,” is the ubiquitous response.  Nevertheless, I am, and I do. Yes, I started early. I was seventeen when my oldest was born. Actually, I never intended to have children in the first place just as I never intended to become a runner and athlete.

Once it happened, I embraced it and have never turned back. I could not imagine my life any other way. I don’t claim to be a phenomenal parent or an expert on parenting just as I don’t claim to be a phenomenal runner or a running expert. I am the first one to admit my parenting flaws. I give it my best, and I never call it quits.