Having children changes everything. Time, money, and energy all become scarcer resources. You knew this going in and decided the rewards outweigh the downsides. But did you think about what it would do to your running?
- Pregnancy – So you’ve peed on a stick and your whole world has changed – and so has your running. You might have days where you puke in the bushes, you may feel like you have to run with your hands supporting your belly, and you may know the location of every potty along your route and use them about every .5 miles. But you are out there staying active and doing something to stay fit – even if it feels like you are running the speed of a slug or your run becomes more like a stroll through the neighborhood. But relish this time, because, hey, you don’t need a babysitter.
- Newborn/baby – You’ve been cleared to run finally. You’ve been chomping at the bit. You are ready to take back your run. Not so fast! Your runs will be run the gamut from awful to awesome. If you breastfeed, you may find yourself racing home to feed a hungry baby or making a pitstop to nurse mid run. Planning to run a long race? Yeah, you’ll be bag checking that breast pump or risking running with melons on your chest. Even if you aren’t breastfeeding, your body will feel foreign, packing for a run with the baby will involve more luggage than when you went on your honeymoon, and timing the run will require more planning and precise scheduling than a military invasion.
- Toddlers – You thought it was challenging to run pregnant, but running with a toddler is a whole new world. Every run requires enough snacks to feed a starving nation, constant entertainment in the form of books, electronics, and the occasional “Mommy, run faster”, and a stop at at least one playground along the way. That knowledge you gained of bathroom locations when you were pregnant? Totally comes in handy now that you are pushing a stroller filled with potty training toddlers. Bonus? Your guns are impressive from pushing 50 pounds of kid and stroller on every run.
- Early elementary school – This is when it truly takes a village. One or more of the kids is too big for the running stroller, but not big enough to leave home alone. If you are lucky, you can run while they are at school or during your lunch time at work (hygeine standards sink back to newborn days and baby wipes and dry shampoo are your best friends.) Can’t run then? All those negotiating skills you developed as a professional now come in handy as you and your husband take turns working out or you rely on playdate exchanges to get in a run. Or you might be bribing your children with a video while you run on the treadmill. These might be your fastest running days as you squeeze in as many miles as you can in the few minutes you’ve found in your day.
- Older kids – You have arrived. Somewhere around the age of 10, you can go out for a run and know they won’t burn the house down while you are gone and that you’ve got at least a fighting chance of finishing your run before someone calls you to mediate a fight. Some lucky moms will even have a kid who loves to run with them and will get to enjoy the company on their run. Sure, you may be running around a random location while your child practices a sport or rehearses for a concert or play, but you’ve made it!
I’ve finally hit the older kids stage. There are scheduling challenges due to kid activities, but generally when I want to run, I tell the kids I’m leaving and just go. It’s a great time to run like a mother, but I admit sometimes I still miss the baby days when I had a constant companion on my runs.
I’m linking up with Cynthia, Mar, and Courtney for Friday Five. Run on over there and check out everyone else’s posts.
17 thoughts on “Five stages of running like a mother”
I’m not a mother but this was such a fun read. It makes me nervous to have children of my own though LOL.
I’m laughing reading this because I know that this is my new reality. A lot of what you described about running while pregnant I experienced, and I’m sure I’ll start experiencing some of newborn running experiences once I’m finally cleared by my OB to start running again.
I didn’t run through my pregnancies, but can relate to 2-5. Occasionally, I’ll do the why don’t you ride bikes while I run, which never ends as well as I hope it will. 🙂 I stopped running with them long ago and decided to run in the wee morning hours for some of the reasons you listed! It’s much more peaceful and makes mama happy.
I’m laughing at this, and I don’t have kids. I know people who are in the older kids stage, but did take turns on who would watch the kids while the other went on a run. “Tag team, you’re it.”
I love this post! This should be printed in a running magazine somewhere. I’m sure mom’s would love it!
You nailed this. Seriously.
I am in the toddler stage and I so appreciate knowing I’m not alone.
Oh I LOVE this!! I’m just reaching the too-big-for-a-running stroller stage now. Since I single mom most of the time I hit the gym a lot when she’s with me. They have a good playroom there for her to hang out in while I squeeze in a few treadmill miles. 🙂
Interesting way of looking at running and motherhood!
I have to say, just being able to get up and go whenever I want to is something I will miss once kids come into the picture for us!
So much easier to run when kids are older and you no longer need a babysitter !
And I’m in the high school/college stage now when no one really gives a crap about me or my running…sigh…
I’ll never forget the time I was out for a run (the boys were in grade school) and I got a call to pick them both up from school. They were vomiting. The school is in my neighborhood. I decided to finish my run (so bad!) and stopped at the school on my way home, sweating. Told them and the nurse I’d be right back with the car. Is that wrong?
I remember when my daughter was an infant thinking, it has to get easier when she is a toddler. Then as a toddler, she despised the running stroller and it was even more difficult to carve out time. And now that she is in kindergarten, her schedule (alongside our work commitments) rule and I find myself thinking, gee… it was so much easier when she was a baby. I miss those days!
This makes me really grateful that I didn’t run seriously till my kids were older. But I do remember a couple of breastfeeding runs where I was carrying a lot of extra luggage in the top rack.
This was a good laugh :). I don’t have kids but definitely love the humor in it too.
This is so true! My oldest just this summer hit the point where I can leave her for an hour or so, and the little one can still fit in the stroller, so I’m in two stages at once. 🙂
I guess I am at stage….10? My daughter is 29. I ran thru pregnancy ( no problems) was back on the bike in a week and back running in about a month after a c-section. Single mom working full time, well, my running ebbed and flowed throughout raising her- kept it short and sweet until she was about 8 and then did an Ironman and another when she was in college. Now that she finally has her Master’s degree and a job maybe I can now buy more than one pair of running shoes and finally get a triathlon bike? Now that she’s grown I miss having her little and running/tris have become less important as I approach mid-60s. Maybe I need some grand kids soon.
Early Elementary for me 🙂
I have to wake up before the house to get my run or my workouts in. Alarm goes off at 5 or 5:30