Mothers are inherently unselfish. It’s just what we Moms do, putting our kid’s needs before our own. We create lists of what we should be doing instead of focusing on a healthy lifestyle. Mom’s needs come last, and if they don’t, there is often a lot of “Mommy-Guilt” when we take time for ourselves.
My kids know when I’m putting on my running shoes that I’ll be gone and out the door for some miles. I return red-faced, sweaty, smelling incredibly horrible and completely different. Different in the sense that I feel more at ease to tackle the day ahead or to closeout my hectic day of work, practices, games, and the many after-school activities my three kids are engaged with.
Running gives me an opportunity to become a better mom, committed to the overall health of my family while committed to a greater desire to care for myself. There’s no glamour in fitness. You cram your best assets in spandex, sweat in places you never knew could sweat, while still sporting a “fanny pack” for your phone, keys and other womanly necessities. All this, and the rewards still far outreach the guilt I often feel running. This guilt means I care.
Of all the miles I’ve logged, nothing could prepare me for how running would positively affect my role as a mom and the role it would play with my children. Here are the benefits of being a running mom:
- You’re happier. Running can be a refuge for when life gets complicated. Running has equipped me to handle the next obstacle at work and home. Running has become my lifeline.
- You’re stronger. Running is an endurance sport and mental strength is greatly tested. In those moments that challenge my will power, I put one foot in front of another to get through life’s toughest times.
- You’re healthier. Regular exercise like running provides countless benefits. Simply put, sacrificing short periods of time away from your children, helps ensure that you’ll get more time with them in the future
- Better sleep. The elusive word: sleep. Regular exercise has been proven to help you sleep more soundly. And, regular sleep makes us happier, stronger and healthier.
- Your kids are watching. Through their eyes, kids witness the sacrifices and the payoff that comes from setting, training and achieving your goals. And they get to celebrate the milestones (long runs), my firsts (better pace than the previous run) and my finish line of achievement.
Through running, or any type of exercise for that matter, my kids see Mommy-as-a-runner instead of being purely selfish. Being a runner has shown me that respecting myself, I can be a priority without the guilt and it will pay off in the long run.
Shannon Loar is the Executive Director of ProMedica Toledo Hospital/Toledo Children’s Hospital Foundation. She attended the University of Toledo, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications. She has three children and enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading, shopping, and running.