The phrase “mother runner” often conjures up an image of a woman with a ponytail pushing a stroller. The struggles (and joys!) of running while also mothering a baby or a toddler can be intense and are frequent topics of discussion at Salty Running and in the running-while-mothering world more generally. But those children don’t stay little forever, as relatives at every holiday gathering will surely remind us. What happens when the little ones are no longer quite so little, and mom is still running?
Ten features in the life of someone running-while-mothering a Tween and a Young Teen.
- My running laundry is constantly getting confused with my kids’ regular clothes. Whose tech shirt is this? Where are my favorite socks? Check the children’s laundry pile.
- My long runs are often at Zero-Dark-Hundred because weekends are devoted to driving children around to various activities.
- I wonder whether I can leave my kids home alone, for how long, and how far away can I run? Thirty minutes of up and down our street? Forty-five minutes of in the neighborhood, if I carry my phone? An hour if I’m really desperate?
- When I have to take them with me to the running store, I can bribe them with snacks if they are well behaved. My daughter prefers Gu. My son likes the Honey Stinger waffles.
- My kids snuggle on the bed with me to watch major marathons. They know the names of the fastest runners and cheer for their favorites.
- My daughter asked her mystified friend what she thought of Galen Rupp’s victory at Chicago.
- The number one reason I might run easy runs too fast? When discussion turns to the topic of school politics.
- During the hottest marathon ever, my daughter gave her Blue Raspberry Coolatta to me from the sidelines of the biggest hill on the course. It’s still a favorite memory: Mama, remember when I gave you my blue drink?
- I sometimes cross train in the pool during swimming lessons, and I’ve been known to stretch in the hallway of the dance studio.
- When I am really lucky, my kids run with me. Whether it’s a few steps or a few miles, it’s always a huge joy.
Do you have older kids? Did you have parents who ran? What are the benefits and challenges for parents and (older) kids who run?