The other day I was finishing up a pretty awesome run on the treadmill and I looked over to see little Lucy hanging out in her swing and smiling at me. I love that she likes to hang out there. In fact, these days she giggles and smiles the moment I put her in. I catch her watching my Netflix options and it kind of cracks me up.
I love that I am finding a way to balance my healthy habits and the greatest job I have ever been lucky enough to have. Everything about being a mom centers around balance. And quite frankly, a heck of a lot of running centers around balance too. Being a mom has made me a better runner, and running has made me a better mom.
Patience: I cringe as I type this, but I started out not being the most patient mom. I’m still not always great at this. But I have had to learn to step back and take a look at difficult moments with a toddler and first decide if it is really worth getting upset about, and then how to deal with the situation without losing my cool. I’ve noticed that the calmer I keep my voice when we are in a tense moment, my little one is less likely to become more difficult.
When I first started to train and run more races, I increased my mileage and started running most days of the week. I had a “more is better” attitude and that of course lead to many, many injuries. I assumed that running fast every time would make me a faster runner, so I pushed every run like it was a race to another PR. I had a lot of nagging injuries.
Like parenting, I have learned that the easier I keep my pace most days, keeps me both healthier and happier. I have to be patient with not only my pace, but also with my body and my mind. Things happen and you can either roll with the punches or freak out and make things worse. Just like in parenting, not every day is a PR!
If I freak out when a rough mile comes up, things can fall apart quite quickly. But if I stay calm and collected and assess the situation, it is easier to realize that it’s just one rough mile and the next one can be better, even in a marathon (and isn’t every day of parenting a marathon?!).
Acceptance: Our children are so similar and yet so different. I adore them for their uniqueness. I appreciate my toddler’s tenacity and strong will and it also drives me crazy. I love how active and fun she is and also adore the fact that our infant has a much more chill, “roll with the punches” kind of attitude.
Every day with children is different and so are our runs. Some days we feel like we could keep going forever, and others just don’t feel right at all. Just like being a mom, I have to accept these different days for what they are. I can’t change them. I can accept the hand I have been dealt and appreciate them for what they are. Sometimes they just need a different approach.
Love: The love a parent feels for a child is profound. It rocks your world. It changes you in every single way.
I used to sit around hating different parts of my body. I ran to burn calories and hopefully change myself. I spent hours lifting weights to tone areas that didn’t look perfect to me.
I see myself in such a different way now. I’m a mom and I am a role model for two beautiful little girls. My body isn’t some imperfect thing that needs to be changed now. It is a powerhouse that gave birth to two amazing human beings.
When I put on my shorts and tank top and my two year old asks if I am going running, I say “yes” with pride because she sees her mom as an active example. When she gets down on the floor and shows me a “daddy push-up” or Happy Baby pose, she is mimicking her parents who find a healthy balance in their lives.
I can’t help but grin when my 4 month old smiles at me as I run on the treadmill. She’s going to grow up seeing her parents enjoying exercise because it makes them healthy and happy. They don’t do it as punishment, but instead because we as a family enjoy doing active things together.
I love that my children can teach me new lessons each day and that I as a parent can also have an impact on their attitude towards sports and activities. While we parents have a lot to share with our children, they constantly make us grow in so many ways too.
How have your children or other people helped make you a better runner/keep you active?