Friday, January 4, 2013

Running as a mom

Yesterday I had a great opportunity to talk about running as a mom and it made me think a lot about how I manage this and barriers for other women. For me being a mom and a runner was just a natural progression from runner to pregnant runner to mom runner. Why would I give up this part of who I was? I was back running within a couple weeks after giving birth and ran my first post-partum race; 13.1 miles in honor of a 13 week old little girl.

Maybe my ease in becoming a mom runner was due to the fact that I have never been one of those women who wants to cuddle with every baby alive, I don't ooh and ah when I see a baby and as a mom I had no desire to 24 hours every day holding her. I still deserved my own time, this may make me in the minority (at least for publicly stating this).

Yes, I put my child in child care at the gym for 1-2 hours a few days a week. She enjoys it and I get in a workout. She gets to socialize and play with other kids and it is good for us both.

Yes, my daughter spends time in the BOB up to 15 miles. We chat and talk about the world around us, stop at the park, use this as a mode of transportation to run to the grocery store. The first year BOB saved me many days with the only nap she was going to have. I often spent many more miles then I planned outside so she would keep sleeping. Now BOB means snack time, looking for animals or getting to play at the park.

Running is me time. Why do so many moms think this is wrong? After spending 40 weeks 41 weeks growing a baby and then producing the milk to nourish her my body had proven it could do many wonderful things, but all for someone else. Running was time to not worry about an infant who wouldn't nap, my lack of milk supply and now how to raise of pre-schooler and why she is throwing toys and talking back. I get to focus on what my body can do for me, get lost in my thoughts (that often involve my child) and not worry about life.
My biggest cheerleader!

Yes, my house could be better organized. Life is about sacrifice and mine is often my house. I figure what makes us all happier; a run or vacuuming?

Naptime saves me. No I do not watch her sleep, I can honestly say I don't get these people who say they spend hours watching their child sleep. Yes, there were times she slept in my arms and I loved it. Naptime is time to hit the treadmill or bike trainer and make it count. Heck this got me through much of Boston training in 2011.

I sacrifice sleep. You often find me out running at 5am or hitting the gym for 5:30 spin class. I love to start my day like this. The world is so peaceful and I honestly don't mind being up at this early hour.

Yes, my daughter has been to more races then most adults. We had a great system in the beginning: get ready and right before we left I'd breastfeed and she'd quickly fall back asleep in the car. I'd race and be back to breastfeed when I was done running. It worked well. Now she is learned about the excitement of racing, cheering and encouragement. Watching her with other kids I frequently hear "You can do it" or "Keep trying"

Ready to run!
Maybe all this makes me less then the perfect mom but it is who I am. I don't understand why it is the norm in our society for women to let go of every other aspect of themselves when they become a mom. I hope through my running and healthy choices I am showing my daughter that she can not only be a strong person and active but also achieve what she sets her sights on. I am lucky to have a supportive husband and parents who help during races, but continuing to workout and live healthy as a mom is very doable and realistic.

I am sure many out there do not agree with this and feel I should be at home with my child, but this is what I do and it works for us. She is happy and that is the important part.





26 comments:

  1. Great post for me as I think about having our child soon; even as a single person exercising has been my sanity/stress release/processing time; i certainly doubt that i can change that ingrained part of me after having a child!! I tend to think that whilst a childs mother is very important, it's also important for the child to learn about "me'/self-play time as well...so our absence should help the child to grow as well as help Mum!! (my theory anyway and it seems to be working for you...) :)

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    1. You will do great and will continue to make this a part of you as you said it is ingrained :) I forgot you were due so soon, hope you meet your little on soon :)

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  2. I love this post. I too put my son in the day care at the gym, and he loved being able to play with other children. Every mom needs "me time" or they seem to become frazzled. I hope more moms read this and realize how it is okay to make time for yourself!

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    1. This is key, we as moms need to show others it is okay to have time for ourselves :)

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  3. Well said!!! My oldest daughter and I have spent hours bonding with the BOB and she has been to so many races that she has started to ask when it is going to be her turn! It in no way makes us bad moms...it makes us human and happy! You time is so important...you need to fill your cup before you can begin to fill anyone else's!

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    1. Right, we can't be great moms, wives, etc until we are happy too :)

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  4. Great post! I was one of those moms that put the babies and everyone else 1st (sometimes I still am - but I'm getting better :) ) What a great role model you are for your daughter.

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    1. It is hard at times to not push our own needs back but it does make everyone happier :)

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  5. I think you are being a great example of being healthy and taking care of yourself. When she grows up she will do the same:) There is nothing wrong with taking time for ourselves. I would be insane without it.

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  6. I'm jealous of your 15 Bob miles. I get about 7 max. I give Jasper the iphone loaded with games and he snacks and plays games while we run. How cold is too cold for you guys and the Bob? That has been our issue this winter...it's colder than normal here. I also wish I could use the free childcare at the Y where we go, but Jasp hated it. Major mom guilt there when he cried the whole time I was in a yoga class :( I think it's great your daughter loves it.

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    1. Oh we've had our phases where I left the gym childcare for a few months due to her throwing fits the entire time but keep trying and it will get better. I am lucky that I work part-time at the gym so she knows most of the staff.

      The 15 miles was the past summers, not sure how much we will be getting now. 8-10 seems to be the limit lately. We have a great blanket with foot pocket that straps in and she cuddles in. Temps haven't been such an issue but the lack of cleared paths here. We will run outside with her until about 20.

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  7. Oh, I wouldn't feel bad about it at all. I had my kids when I was younger and now they are mostly grown. It seems thay in the time my kids were growing up there was a huge shift to be a stay at home mom with your head constantly up your kids...well, you know.

    I would not survive as a mother now because of that, there are sooo many pressures put on you by society it's just nuts. None of you are superwomen and shouldn't feel the pressure to be. I love that you have some time just for you. It makes you a better mom and gives your child much needed social time.

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    1. Yes, it does make me a better mom and I love providing her the social time since she is an only child and not in daycare.

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  8. Great post, Jen- I felt the same way with it being a natural progression from runner, to pregnant runner, to mom runner. I knew that part of who I was wasn't going to go anywhere. You've done a great job balancing it all. Very inspiring! Oh, and I second the comment about 15 miles, wow! I'm lucky to get 5-6. :)

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    1. Not sure we will get 15 miles much longer, but 10 seems the max now and I will take what I can get :)

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  9. I'm with you. I started taking my kids to the childcare at my gym when they were 18 months old (as soon as they dropped that morning nap) and continued until they went to kindergarten last fall (and they'll go back this summer when they're off and home with me). I think it helped make the transition to preschool and then regular school easier for them.

    I never once felt guilty about this, or the runs/races where they stayed with my husband--they need Daddy time anyway, right? I was never able to enjoy my runs as much with them in a stroller, though--just relied heavily on my husband and/or did my runs early to do them alone.

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    1. It is wonderful to have supportive husbands at these times, right in saying they need daddy time too :)

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  10. Well said Jen! I think making the time for "me" makes us better for "them!"

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    1. Yes, it does make us all around better people :)

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  11. I completely agree with you! I think every mom out there should have some "me" time. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this subject.

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    1. You are welcome, I think so often we forget we can have this time.

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  12. I spent the 1st 4 years of being a mum taking zero time to myself. When I say zero I mean exactly that. We moved from Scotland to Australia when baby 1 was 3 months old. I knew nobody and did nothing out with being a stay at home mum. I look back now and wonder how I got through that time with my sanity remaining intact (I drank a LOT of Aussie wine!)

    I got back into running after a 17 year break just after baby 3 was born and we had been in Texas for a year. Yes, at 4 months of age I put my newborn, 1 and 3 year old in the child care at my local Y. The 1st time any of them had been under the care of ANYONE other than my husband or myself. It was a huge and challenging step for me but one I felt with 100% conviction was right at that time. I went to the bathroom and cried then put on my big girls pants (boy were they big ;)) and hit the treadmill.

    I haven't looked back since.

    We attach guilt to everything as mums, well I do.....did. I listen to my mum who thinks to have a babysitter is on a par with cavorting with the devil. Society tells us we have to do it all and do it perfectly or we are failing, don't love our kids enough.
    I am learning that to love yourself and treat yourself well is good for your whole family. I want my daughter (and sons) to see it's ok for you to be a parent and still have your own interests, goals and dreams and to pursue them. Infact you MUST!

    Wow, I am never short winded nor will I ever be described as succinct but this is an important post that you have made and I wish for all mums and women to take time for themselves because it's now or never ladies and yes, you do deserve it. No question. Thanks for posting.

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    1. Wine and running are what has gotten me through many days!

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  13. great post! thanks for sharing

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