Ok, I’m finally gonna do it. I’ve stayed silent on the matter long enough. I’m going to make this plea and beg you all to stop saying something. I hear it far too frequently in my many many conversations with running moms and quite frankly, it’s just not true. And I’m going to kindly ask you all to rethink this statement just a little bit. It’s this one (or some variation of it):
“Running is the one thing I do just for me.”
No, it isn’t. Even if you think it is, it isn’t.
Now, I get the sentiment behind the statement. TRUST ME. I get it. As a mom, you pretty much spend every waking minute (and often many of those minutes which you intend to NOT be awake) in dedication to the little people in your life that you adore. You give of yourself until there’s nothing left and then you find a way to give some more. I know this. Running seems like the one thing where you leave it all behind and just take care of you and your needs.
But here’s the thing ladies, even though you might intend for your runs to be “just for you,” by default they aren’t. Every time you set foot out that door or onto the treadmill, you are doing something that benefits not just you, but your entire family.
For starters, your kids NEED a healthy mama not only to keep up with them on a daily basis, but so that you’ll be around for a long time. I realize that tomorrow is promised to no one, but we all know that a regular exercise routine, in our case running, is good for you and can help prolong your life. Recent studies have shown that runners typically live longer than non-runners. (Yay for us!)
And don’t forget about the way you FEEL when you come back in from a run. Refreshed, energized, ready to tackle the world or that toilet that your 3 year clogged with three rolls of toilet paper and your entire family’s toothbrushes while on your husband’s watch when you were gone. For me personally, I clearly have more energy, patience and I’d even say mental clarity after I run. All things crucial to surviving those days when my kiddos are perhaps not at their finest and really putting my mothering skills to the test.
But hands down, in my opinion, the MOST IMPORTANT reason we all need to stop saying that running is “just for us” is this: childhood obesity is at near epidemic proportions in the U.S. and that doesn’t go away by changing what the school cafeteria serves at lunch or holding classroom sessions at on nutrition. Changing that problem, starts with us moms. Period.
You and I both know that our children are watching our every move. If we are eating healthy, they are too. They don’t have much choice in the matter since we put it on their plates. If we are exercising, they are too. Now, every kid’s different and running may not be the exercise of choice for yours, but every time you run, you are at the very least setting an example of health and fitness for your child (and for that matter, everyone around you, including that mom of three that just passed you by in her car.) You are showing them that yes, it IS important to exercise, but it is not uncommon for your little ones to want to jump on the running bandwagon too. I’ve seen it time and again.
Even on the days you DON’T want to go run and it’s not all happy happy joy joy as you prepare to do so, you are STILL teaching your kids an important lesson. You’re teaching them that everything in life is not always fun, sometimes you have to do things you don’t want to do just because it’s important and/or the right thing to do. And for all of us, there are days when running is one of those things.
But I’m not done. Through running you teach your kids about: goal setting, the importance of training and preparedness for meeting those goals, perseverance, determination, commitment, hard work, good sportsmanship, the list could really go on and on. Become a charity runner and a whole world of possibilities of things to teach your children opens up. Far more than just giving = good, not that that’s a bad lesson for them to learn, but also learning about various issues that effect this planet and everyone on it, money management, saving, fundraising, writing, public speaking, empathy, to name just a few.
So I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news here mamas, but whether you like it or not, running is NOT the one thing you do just for yourself. Your runs are important for your entire family. (Remember THAT the next time the couch is calling or you feel like your running shoes have turned to cinder blocks on a tough run. It’ll be far more difficult to succumb the temptation at hand).
But the good news is now you need to go pick something else to do just for you! A nap, coffee with a girlfriend, a movie with your sister, a trip to the spa for a much needed pedicure or massage, or even just a 15 minute bubble bath with a good book, those are things just for you.
Although, now that I’m thinking about it, taking a little mental break and doing something like the above, is probably necessary for maintaining sanity while raising children, so even those too may be more for the fam than it actually is for mom. Oh man, is it even possible for a mom to do something just for herself? Hmmm…
P.S. Time is running out on the giveaway for Boresha’s fat burning coffee or tea (AND to see the before and after pictures of my husband and tell him what a stud he is)! Be sure to get in now before you miss your chance!