Parenting

Ode to Running: part 1

So… I feel as though my attempts to blog once a week can be best summarized by “the best laid plans of mice and men…”

But here we are! Just because plans go awry doesn’t mean you abandon them.

Which is actually a perfect lead in to this post: an ode to running (part 1). My relationship with running has always ebbed and flowed but I’ve never abandoned it.

This ode is a two parter (maybe more) because I have such a love-hate relationship with running, but not in the conventional way. I’ll discuss that in part deux. This first part is my love letter.

Growing up, my father was an avid runner. Several times a week he’d lace up his Saucony’s and hit the pavement. It inspired me to give it a go.

I tried my hand at running when I was thirteen. On that first run I wore jeans and a sweatshirt (much to my father’s chagrin I’m sure) and ran to the first stop sign and back (probably a whopping 250 m). After a long hiatus, I found my way back to running the summer after I graduated from high school and I was hooked.

For me, one of the most difficult things about adjusting to life as a parent is finding time for yourself. It’s so important to recharge your batteries and take care of yourself so that you can be a better parent. I didn’t often do it with my daughter because she was fairly dependent on me (bottles and pacifiers were a no-go) but mostly because I felt guilty about leaving her. This time around it’s easier because I know how important it is to make sure I take a bit of time for myself here and there.

One of the ways I’m doing this is by going on runs.

It’s a chance for me to get out of the house, to break a sweat and get my body moving. It’s a chance for me to be alone with my thoughts and just be …alone.

It’s me time and I feel accomplished and clear-headed after. If it’s been a frustrating day it lets me run off those frustrations so that I don’t blow up at someone. A few weeks ago there was a particularly challenging day where my son was a bit needier than usual and my daughter whined almost the entire day. Anything and everything was reason for a tantrum. She kicked a toy and it hit me and after a reminder not to kick her things, was given a second chance with that toy. I brought her lunch and she fell to floor, screaming “I don’t want that” and kicked her toy again. For some reason that was enough and I yelled at her. I hated myself for yelling immediately after but I had reached my tipping point.

As a nurse I know all about burn-out and compassion fatigue but I feel like there’s also parental burn-out and compassion fatigue when it seems like everything you do is just not enough. You start the week off trying to work with your toddler to find foods she’ll eat and by the end of the week you’re The Beast telling her that if she doesn’t eat with you then she can starve.

I realized that I needed an outlet and a small amount of time, a few times a week, just to myself. Half an hour, three days a week. That’s all I need. So far it’s helped tremendously.

So thank you, running.

 

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