Training Moms who Run are Better Parents

Moms who Run are Better Parents

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The writer sight seeing in the City of Light with Paris Running Tours.

I’m a runner, a mom, and sometimes I leave my kids to run. Truth is, I think I’m a better parent for it. Here’s where running has taken me.

By: Anna Lee Boschetto

“Do the girls miss you?”

“Yes, but they are with their dad,” I respond. What I really want to say is, “No, not at all because really I’m a cold and heartless soul, so they’re probably thrilled I’m not around.”

I’m in a random text conversation with my sister in law, while I’m traveling for work. She is asking how my two daughters, ages seven and five, can bear to be with out me. It’s a fair question, I’m their mom and at the time I was on the first of what will be four work-related trips within a six-week period. The last one included running the BMO Vancouver Half Marathon last weekend, and writing about it. Where do I find the time to train for a half-marathon you ask? We’ll get to that, plus

I’ll fill you in on how running has made me a better parent too.

But first, let’s get a few things straight.

My sister-in-law and me get along very well. We’ve learned to appreciate each other’s differences and love one other for (or despite) them. Regardless, she frequently asks (what I consider to be) some pretty ridiculous questions and this is one of those occasions. But while I’d like to say that she is the only person who has ever asked questions like this, that’s not the case. More often than not, I find myself defending my choices—as a parent who travels for work, a runner who happens to also be a mom, and don’t even ask what’s said to me when travel and running intersect.

As moms, it can feel like we’re all on an up hill battle. I get it, I hate hill training too, but let me be the first to tell you the view from the top is pretty sweet if you grind it out on the climb. Nevertheless, according to most moms I’ve talked to, getting in some “me time” is downright near impossible. So how can I, a mom of two, possibly make time for the long training runs, and sweat out speed sessions when the rest of my contingent is struggling to stay on course?

I’m not going to lie, it isn’t easy, but nothing worthwhile in life really is. And just to be clear, binge watching anything on Netflicks isn’t worthwhile. So, nearly eight years into motherhood, I’ve realized one thing to be true, if you don’t make the time, time isn’t going to wait for you, it will march on. That means, if you want to run a 5K, 10K, half-marathon or get back into some semblance of a fitness routine, you’ve got to make it happen, yourself. But you’re a mom, your children need their mom, what will they do if you’re gone for an hour? It’s an unsolved mystery for many.

Consider this: Do you have to tell your partner to break out his golf clubs? Exactly. What happens to the kiddos when he does tee off? Judging from the mom rants I’ve read and heard, moms are taking care of them. Mystery solved.

So, what are you waiting for?

At the same time, maybe its not so easy for moms. We feel guilty at the very thought of leaving the little one. What about when they are snoozing in their crib? Yes, I’m talking about getting up in those early morning hours and seizing the day. Carpe diem. Oh, you’ve opted for co-sleeping? How can you possibly break the bond in the early pre-dawn hours? I get it, but let’s get real.

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Running along the Seawall in Vancouver during the BMO Vancouver Marathon Race Weekend.

Looking back, there were plenty of mornings I just didn’t feel like pounding the pavement. If I’m honest, there are still those days even now. But I know that when I do step outside and breath the early morning air, I’m awake and alive in a way that I’ll never quite be with an extra hour of sleep.

I’m really not cold and heartless. What I knew then—and what I’m grateful for now— in the long run, I needed some time to clear my head. On mornings when I hadn’t slept as restfully as I’d like, having that time on my run gave me a chance recharge. When I went back to work, these runs were a pre-planning session for each day, as much as they were part of training for an upcoming race. Now, with children old enough to understand their mom is a runner, I’m glad to be setting an example, one that I hope they may look back on when they’re moms, and remember they can be runners too.