How Running Makes Me a Better Parent

First Day home

Five years ago, yesterday, I became a mama.

I started getting nostalgic, thinking about how much my life has changed in the past five years. Obviously, things are a lot different.

While I can honestly say it’s absolutely marvelous to be a parent. I had no clue what I was in for when it all became a reality. I had absolutely zero child care skills before my kids were born – I had never even changed a diaper before!

And then there I was with not one, but TWO helpless little ones staring at me, depending on me for everything.

To say it all was overwhelming, is an understatement.

a & L 3months

Like a lot of women, I really got into running after I became a mama. I mean, I ran before having kids, but things went in a different direction.

I soon found running makes me a better parent.

I found running as a source of comfort. It was something for me to do. Somewhere for me to go when I need to clear my head, recharge my patience, to think without any noise except my breathing and the white noise outside. It became my alone time, where I could just zone out yet tune in at the same time.

In the beginning, I felt guilty for leaving my babies to go for a run. But for every time I would voice my guilt, a fellow mama would squash that doubt. Every single one of them reminded me that I needed to take care of myself FIRST before taking care of my kids. Remember the pre-flight instructions – in the event of an emergency put your oxygen mask on first before assisting others. It’s so true in all aspects of life. You need to be healthy to take care of others.

To the outside eye, it may have looked like I was running away but really I was running towards finding my identity again.

First BOB Stroller Run

Even when we all ventured out for a run in the big red BOB, it still made my day. And they enjoyed it too.

After 5 years of parenting, some days I feel like a pro, and then my kid (or most likely kids) will have a massive meltdown over something ridiculous and I lose my mind because I can’t handle the emotional roller coaster of a Five-ager. I’m reminded how parenting is forever evolving with each milestone and how the majority of us are just “winging it” as we go.

Running is the same way. There are days when I can hit my prescribed paces in a training plan, with no problem. There will also be days when I can barely squeak out 5 miles because my legs feel like lead and I just want to quit running forever. I’m continuously learning how my body reacts and what it needs to thrive as a runner.

Wallis Sands 12 marathon 2014 after

Parenting and running go hand in hand. Running makes me a more patient, confident and healthy parent. It’s a great outlet for stress relief in any stage of parenting – I can only imagine how many miles I’ll be racking up when I have teenagers. I’m setting an example for my kids of how to balance family, work and fitness. I’m showing them to set goals and that it’s necessary to do hard work to achieve these goals.

But mostly, I’m showing my kids that it’s OK to take care of yourself first.

Editor’s note: We won’t talk about what my parenting skills are like since I’ve been injured and not running. 🙂

23 comments on “How Running Makes Me a Better Parent

  1. Oh I’m loving all the pictures! They are bringing back so many memories for me – and all those runs with the B.O.B – OMG they were some of the hardest. But yes, running makes me a better mom in every single way. I can’t imagine what all this not running is doing to your parenting. Hang in there!! Breathe!!!
    Allie recently posted..The Rundown – The Importance of Fueling ProperlyMy Profile

  2. Oooooh Angela, this is so adorable! You are making me so excited about this one day. I know its gonna be tough, I know its gonna make my running take a nosedive, but I know it will be worth it, and posts like this make me excited about it! Especially knowing I can do both. Cant wait to meeeeeeet you and talk more!
    Tina muir recently posted..Meatless Monday-Hawaiian Vegetable RiceMy Profile

  3. Oh my gosh, this is fantastic! I relate to this SO MUCH. My daughter just turned five last week and with an 8 year old and a 2 year old – life is busy (understatement).
    Running makes me a better parent for all of those reasons! I am injured also right now and yes, it is tough at times to not have that time for ME, that release I crave from running.
    Your family is beautiful and I wish you a very fast, speedy recovery!!
    Natalie recently posted..Tomato and Broccoli FrittataMy Profile

  4. You are such an amazing person (I enjoyed meeting you in Boston) and mother. Parenting IS hard.!! For me, running makes ME a better/nicer person… so I totally get what you are saying (especially the last sentence) 😉
    rachel recently posted..My First Half MarathonMy Profile

  5. As a runner and (relatively) new Mom of a 17 month old, I greatly appreciated your post! Everything you wrote hit home and resonated. It was not only my reminder from a fellow Mama not to feel guilty when I head out for a run but also that we are ALL just winging it sometimes!
    Thanks for writing this.

  6. Very inspirational! It is not easy to put in check that we need to take care of ourselves first. You are definitely a fantastic role model for your children!

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