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.
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.
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.
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. 🙂