There’s a quote that goes something like this: “Behind every great kid is a mom who’s pretty sure she’s screwing it up.” The author is unknown, probably because every mom could have written it. With Mother’s Day coming up on Sunday, I wanted to remind you — you, the hard working, tough-loving, race-running mom — you aren’t screwing it up.
On the contrary, I bet you are doing it exactly right. When you squeeze in your runs between work, managing the house, wiping noses, cooking dinner, rushing to school events and folding endless laundry, your kids are watching, they are learning, and they are benefiting.
When I think about the real reasons I run, it’s not about my splits or race times, it’s about how it makes me feel. I once described running as that feeling you get when your whole house is clean and there’s nothing left to do. That split second when you put away that last stack of towels or unpack that last bag of groceries. You put your hands on your hips, you stand back, and you revel in your success. That’s running, for me. It’s a clean slate, if only for a moment, and I cherish that, especially as a mom, when there’s no real end in sight. It’s the gift you give yourself every day, and it’s the gift I want to pass on to my kids.
When my teenagers were small, and after I completed my first marathon, a friend bought me a book titled “See Mom Run.” It’s a sweet story about Penny, whose mother completes a marathon and gives her the medal since they worked together as a team to train. I’ve read that book thousands of times, and when I heard my 3-year-old reciting it the other day, I was brought to tears.
“Some day, I’m going to run like her,” he said in his sweet little toddler voice. It was almost too much for my sensitive heart.
One of my goals this year was to foster the love of running, which I assumed would mean I would have to push it onto my family. But that’s not the case at all. Kids want to do what we do, as parents. So, in reality, my goal is to continue loving running while letting go of the notion that I’m less of a mom because I carve out “me” time.
So put the guilt aside and throw on those running clothes. At some point in your crazy day, you’ll fit in your run and be a better person and parent for it. Your kids already know this because they are great — and you aren’t screwing anything up.
Happy Mother’s Day, Angels! — Amie