Lessons in Motherhood

Lessons in Motherhood

 

This week’s blog posts are all about Mothering. It’s an expansive topic no doubt so I’ll start by sharing a few pivotal moments for me on my journey as a mother.

A little background information is that I like to run. What did my runs look like pre-kids? Oh man, it’s fun to reminisce about those runs. They were glorious! Okay maybe I am romanticizing them just a little? But seriously there was nothing that influenced my running pace, distance, or location except me; I would run as far as my body would allow. I ran when, where, and for however long I wanted. I will be honest there were days I would run in the morning and then again in the evening. Running brought me peace, clarity, and gratitude.

Enter baby #1
During my first pregnancy a jogging stroller was an important purchase for me. During pregnancy I missed running and was looking forward to bringing my baby on runs with me. I imagined my baby lying comfortably in the stroller for the duration of my run. I assumed he would enjoy the rhythmic motion and looking all around. I figured my runs would be exactly as they were before except I would have my baby with me. Okay now the experienced moms are probably laughing; of course life is not the same post-baby! But little did I know how much it would change. Despite my best efforts, my first few post-partum “runs” involved me walking and pushing the stroller while carrying my baby. It was not at all like I had envisioned. There was no increase in heart rate, no sweating, no heavy breathing because there was no actual running. The possibility that my baby wouldn’t like being in the stroller never dawned on me. But I was determined to make it work. I thought if I made sure I nursed him right before putting him in there it would be okay. Maybe if I attached some colorful toys to the stroller I could get a few miles in? Perhaps if I waited until he was sleepy he would nap in the stroller while I ran? But every time I went out eager to run, I ended up walking and carrying him home. I quickly realized bringing my wrap with me made the return walk home much easier. How funny I must have looked walking around the neighborhood, pushing an empty stroller and wearing my baby. However, I was granted a valuable lesson in mothering; to be adaptable, flexible, and accommodating to the needs of my baby. Eventually I ditched the stroller all together and would set out on walks with baby in carrier. I accepted that was how “running” was going to look in my life for the time being. It was an activity we enjoyed together once I opened myself up to figuring how to include baby rather than just assume he would be perfectly content on my terms.

Enter baby #2
By the time Baby #2 arrived running had a very minimal place in my life. It was although my role as a mother has become all-consuming and I had no identity outside of motherhood. I felt a lack of balance in my life and largely attributed it to my inability to exercise. At 8 months post-partum, I talked with my husband about my feelings and together we figured out a schedule that would allow me to run 3 times a week while he was home with the kids. Reuniting with my running shoes was amazing! It was such a thrill to be running again. And although my runs where now limited to a particular time, location, and distance I still got that feeling of excitement when I headed out the door for a run. I liked being by myself and getting lost in my thoughts. I even remember feeling so inspired that I did a cart-wheel mid run one day. I felt restored and rejuvenated after a run, as if I was regaining a piece of myself that had been missing. Once again I learned an important aspect of mothering; I needed to take good care of myself so that I could take good care of my children.

Enter Baby #3
When baby #3 arrived, I already knew the significance of running my life, but wasn’t sure exactly where or how to fit it in. Scheduling runs while hubby was home was trickier because life was now a bit fuller. Initially I tried going to the gym and running on a treadmill. This didn’t work out well for two reasons. One, I didn’t like the treadmill and two, baby didn’t like the gym childcare. My next attempt involved me running outdoors with all three kids. My oldest son would ride his bike alongside me while I pushed the younger two in the double jogger. Lo and behold this seemed to work! I never imagined my runs would look like this! Being a mom has definitely expanded my ability to find resolve in conflict and to approach challenges with creativity and patience. I feel as though I have come full circle now that I am back to a place where I fully enjoy running again. And I am extra thankful for my 3 little running partners.

Getting ready for a run

What new insights and wisdom have you gained through your mothering experience? Any important lessons in motherhood you want to share? I would love to hear your story!

-Sarah

Tags: colorful toys, exercise, journey, post-partum, pregnancy

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