Wednesday, August 17, 2016

So I Run...

No one tells you how hard it is to be a mom.

When my boys were younger, being a mom was easier. Little boys, little problems, right?

Hugs and kisses and wiping tears away. That's all that I needed to do.

Now? Not so much. Big boys, bigger problems.

"A mother is only as happy as her unhappiest child". 

So I run.




This past week, I watched my youngest son go through surgery on his leg, the leg he broke 3 months ago. He's had a tough summer and even though he's been such a trooper about it, my heart hurts for him. Spring rugby came to an abrupt end and he's had to sit out of rugby this summer. He was unable to participate in gymnastics camp as well. The first thing he asked his doctor after surgery was when he could play rugby again. I could feel my heart break a little bit more.

Also this past week, I saw my oldest son work through disappointment when he learned he was placed at the end of a very long waiting list to get into a trade union. He's had a tough couple of years and has done a great job getting his life on track. He had his heart set on this goal and did everything he was asked to prepare for this. It's not fair. I feel so bad for him. This too broke my heart. I want to make things easy for him. I wish I could.

Life's not fair. It's a lesson that is hard to learn and I feel that as keenly as my boys do.

As much as I want to make it all go away, I can't. That's what's so hard for me. I'm a fixer. I'm a mom.

So I run.

All we want for our children, as moms, is to see them happy.

When they hurt, we hurt.

When they are little, we can hug them and wipe their tears away.

When they are big, it's not so easy. There's a fine line between being supportive and being smothering.

Part of mothering is teaching your kids how to manage what life throws their way.

I just want to make it all better. Wouldn't that be easier?

So I run.

I think about all this on my runs. When I run, I work through my feelings so that I don't make their problems my problems.

Even though their problems are my problems.

When they hurt, I hurt, but it can't be about me. I have to make it about them.

So I run.

The road, the physical exertion, the sweat all serve a purpose:

  • Endorphins for mom, which makes me much more pleasant and agreeable. 
  • Time alone to sort things out in my head, which makes me better able to problem solve.
  • A physical release, which lets me get rid of all kinds of nervous energy and anxiety. 
  • A hard fast run helps me to feel strong.
I had to figure this out for myself. No one tells you how hard it is to be a mom.

So I run.

Do you think running and/or physical activity makes you a better mom? Do you struggle when your kids are hurting? How do you help your older children navigate through life?

I'm linking this post with DebRuns for Wednesday Word. Today's word prompt is physical.











I'm also linking up with Nicole, Annmarie, Michelle, and Jen for Wild Workout Wednesday.











And with Debbie, Susie, Lora, and Rachel for Coaches Corner.

72 comments :

  1. I really enjoyed this. My boys are little, one will be three next month and the other 5 /12, yet I get all these emotions you are feeling. I think ahead and it hurts my heart already knowing how hard life can be sometimes and that I can't make everything better. Yes, running most definitely make me a better mom.I use this time to sort through the cobwebs in my head and reflect.Wishing good vibes for both your boys!

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    1. I think all of us running moms are on the same page!

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  2. I have never thought of my running as a stress-reliever,but it definitely helps me sort out all the crazy unparallel thoughts in my head. I agree...when our kids hurt, we hurt even more. ((hugs))

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    1. Really? Stress is one of the reasons I run! LOL!

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  3. I love this! Your reasons you gave at the end are exactly why I run (and bike and swim) as well. I guess I have little kids, little problems at the moment, but I find mothering toddlers incredibly tough. I'm a pretty Type A, not very patient person and toddlers are decidedly not Type A and completely try your patience. I'm much better able to deal with all that if I exercise. Plus, it's one of the only things I have for myself anymore.

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    1. When the boys were little, sometimes my runs were the only time of day I was alone! It was really nice to have that time to clear my head.

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  4. Oh, Wendy, this is so true! My son's GF goes back to school next week and I am already starting to feel sad for him. And we still don't know why he didn't get into grad school, but he'll be trying again. I'm sure things will work out for both of your sons, but in the meantime ... keep running!

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    1. I have to keep running! Life doesn't seem to get any easier, does it?

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  5. Oh yes. Such a stress reliever. Kids are hard. It's such a fine balance between sticking my nose in and hanging back on the perimeter of their issues.

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    1. That is the hard part! I just want to fix everything. But I can't...

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  6. Girl I can relate to all of this and I don't think it occurred to me until just this moment/reading this is why I've been able to finally re-find my yoga practice. It was that or motherhood would kick my ass.

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    1. Motherhood is trying to kick my ass, big time this year! Glad I have running...

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  7. I was thinking about that this morning in fact, how my busiest running years coincided with my daughter's teenager-hood. I think that kept our relationship much more positive than it could have been. It is so, so hard to see your kids trying their wings. I know I wish I could make every day a good one for them.

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    1. I think the hardest part of motherhood is letting go!

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  8. I am in tears. You are so right. I remember my Mom saying just what you expressed: When your children are grown, their problems are big problems that cannot be kissed away and your heart still breaks.

    I am in tears. I read of your older son working so hard to do the right thing and still getting disappointed and feel both your pain. My son, at 33 was laid off Monday for the fourth time. Mom and you are right. Our hearts are breaking. It's NOT fair. It's so not.

    I am in tears. I read of your younger sons difficult journey dealing with pain and disappointment and I hurt right along with you, if from afar.

    Run. And run some more. Sending hugs, and love, your way.

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    1. I'm so sorry to hear about your son--it doesn't get any easier, does it?

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  9. One of the hardest things about being a mom, is that I have realized that I can't fix everything for my kids all the time. Watching them go through a disappointment or injury and knowing that I can't fix it is so hard.

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    1. It's so hard to sit back and watch them work through it.

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  10. As my little girls grow into their own people and I see the little people problems they have, it makes me nervous knowing that their adult problems will be so much harder to handle. Not looking forward to those days.

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    1. We just have to be the safety net--there when they need us!

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  11. Running serves so many purposes and I'm glad you've found it as a place you can go for you.

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  12. Well, obviously I'm not a mom so I can't comment on that. By as an observer of parents, no, it never gets any easier -- my mom still worries about us, for sure.

    When I was younger, I turned to food for stress release. Now it's physical activity (or retail therapy).

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    1. I've been doing a lot of that (retail therapy) lately too!

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  13. We as moms can't fix everything. It is so hard to sit back and watch our kids make poor decisions. I've had to keep my mouth shut and only after all the chips fell did I try and comfort them. Life is not fair and the sooner we all learn this the better. You've had your share of unfairness. I sure hope you'll be on a different path soon, in the meantime, keep running! :)

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    1. It's been a tough year. Looking forward for the black cloud to move on!

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  14. The Accidental MarathonerAugust 17, 2016 at 9:37 AM

    Hi Wendy,

    My boys are 24, 22, and 19. It never stops. When they hurt, we hurt. We've been very fortunate that they've had very few bumps in their individual roads, but still, they've all suffered some sort of disappointment along the way. We're moms, we're nurses. We want to help and we want to heal. They will be better people and better men because of today's struggles. Everything for a reason. It's just hard to see that in the moment.

    When I run, I don't listen to music and my phone is on silent. My time. I think and sort through all kinds of things in my head. I sort through my ever-growing laundry list of things I need to get done and yes, the time spent running could easily be spent actually GETTING those things done, but I need this time to just THINK.

    I'm definitely a better mom and a better everything because I finally realized at some point that I've spent my entire adult life helping, healing, giving, and doing, and somewhere along the way and was losing ME.

    I know you know you need to take care of yourself before you can take care of others. The reward? You will be more effective in your role at work and your role as a mom.

    What doesn't kill us makes us stronger...

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    1. I do listen to music when I run but sometimes I focus on it and other times, it's in the background. Lately I've just done a lot of thinking.

      It gets tiring being a fixer and a giver. I think as women and as a nurse, that's what we do. When we need someone to help us, it always surprises me that it doesn't come as easily. My family is used to me being the doer!

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  15. Yes, running helps us work through so many things. My kids are older (my youngest will be 40 next year!!!!), but it doesn't really change. And now I'll start worrying about my grandchildren too!

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    1. I can't believe you have an almost 40 year old! And yes, my mom still worries about me and my sisters...

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  16. Oh, Wendy, I'm so sorry that you're older son didn't get into his trade union. While I'm not a Mom, I know my mom always says the same thing. She just wants me and my sister to be happy. I hope Matthew continues to heal and I hope your older boy can sort everything out. I believe everything happens for a reason, so perhaps getting wait listed will open up a door to bigger and better things. As for running, I know it makes me a better person. It helps me release stress, gain perspective and just zone out when I need to. Keep moving forward and all will work itself out. Sending good vibes in the meantime!

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    1. I'll take all and any good vibes! Thank you!

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  17. This post struck such a chord with me. Especially the quote that as a mom, you're only as happy as your unhappiest child. My kids are 24, 21, and 18. My 21 year old is severely overweight. I've tried encouraging him to eat a healthier diet, but so far, he's just not willing to make any changes. I'm also dealing with aging parents. It's so hard to watch your parents, who used to be the most active people you knew, struggle to even walk. So I run, bike, and crossfit - because it makes me feel good, but also because it's something I have control over. Thank you for sharing your feelings Wendy.

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    1. I didn't even mention the aging parents--dealing with that as well. It was interesting because while I was dealing with my youngest son and the broken leg, my dad was having back issues and they were calling me all the time for advice. It was hard not to ask them to manage without me...I couldn't do that but I was struggling!

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  18. Your boys are very fortunate to have you as their momma Wendy! They will always look back and remember how much you cared! I hope both of them have brighter paths ahead of them or are at least able to make the best out of their situations.

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    1. I think my youngest gets it--my oldest is still a work in progress!

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  19. I just want to fix things. It is especially hard when they are trying to make a change and get knocked down a bit...as a Mom that pains me deeply.
    I use to run to pound out stress, my last job I was unhappy at and I needed the release! Sometimes i feel like i need to run to get away, so I don't have to think...funny how running fills all kind of voids.

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    1. I'm glad to be back running again--I don't get to pound it out so as not to aggravate my foot, but it feels good to be moving!

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  20. Running and physical activity helps to heal us. Whether as prevention or reaction--I know that I fall apart without my running and my activity.
    Watching anyone you love be in pain or unhappy is just as bad if not worse than when you are in pain. I HATE when Alex or my mom or my friends are dealing with difficult times. It just guts me. And I know that it is just as hard for them (especially Alex, who is used to being able to fix things, and my mom, who is a mom and thus a fixer by nature!) when the roles are reversed.
    Run to deal with the issues; don't run away from them

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    1. I'd like to run away, tho! Where would I go?

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  21. We don't have kids, but running has definitely helped me get through some really tough times. It's those tough runs, usually with the music off, that bring calm and clarity.

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    1. The heat and humidity has been holding me back from really pushing my pace but the runs definitely help!

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  22. I love this post... sorry about the disappointments for your sons... I totally agree that they need to figure out how to work certain things out for themselves, really starting when they are young but particularly as they are approaching being adults... Running definitely makes me a better mom... I often think about what a better mom I would have been to them when they were toddlers if I ran then...

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    1. I ran when the boys were toddlers--actually, I ran before I had them! I definitely thing running made me a better mom. At least I had more patience...

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  23. I don't have kids, but I do think that running helps to clarify my thoughts and put things into perspective in all facets of my life! Something about getting to the point where all you are thinking about is putting one foot in front of the other is very soothing to the soul. I have heard, though, that one of the hardest parts of being a parent is allowing your children to make their own mistakes so they can learn from them. I can only imagine how tough that can be!!!

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    1. It's hard to sit back and let your teens do their thing...my oldest really put us through the mill for a couple of years. I'm not a religious person but there was some praying going on! And lots of running!

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  24. Admittedly, I'm not looking forward to the bigger kid, bigger problem scenario. As much as I can't wait for school to start (next week!) I'm dreading the day my children have bigger problems than I'm equipped to handle. Much love to you and your boys, Wendy!

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    1. You will never be unequipped to handle anything that comes your way. It's kind of funny how that works!

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  25. Great post! I'm not looking forward to when my boys get older. I think running makes me a better person. It's such a great stress reliever, gives time to think, and way to feel strong just like you said.

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    1. I dreaded the teenage years and they've been tough. But I like having the boys older, in a way--we have some great conversations and lots of laughs.

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  26. My kids are still little but I am sure their "little" problems will one day be "bigger". My 2 year old had really been giving me a run for my money these days and my runs are my only time to escape the craziness!

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    1. Haha! I love that age but oh, it's a challenge. The only thing I can say is that at least you can physically control a 2 year old! A 14 year old? Not so much!

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  27. I love this post! I have 4 children, 2 boys and 2 girls. The girls are more dramatic but at least you usually know what's going on because they verbalize their problems. I have a harder time with my boys, at least the older one (he's almost 17) because he doesn't say much so it's mostly a guessing game when something seems to be bothering him. He broke his wrist a couple of years ago at the end of his first soccer game of the season and it was hard to watch him not be able to play. The past two years he's been good physically but I know he's has some 'girl' issues and it has been tough to watch since he really doesn't want to talk about it. I just let him know I am hear to listen to whatever he wants to talk about. I did get some good information from him today (via text of course), he's decided to play both soccer (his favorite) and run X country this fall, he has never seemed interested in running so I am excited to watch him during this journey! My own running helps me deal with all of this craziness!!

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    1. Your oldest sounds like mine. It's like pulling teeth to get info from him. Which is such a turnaround from when he was younger--he used to tell me everything! It's like someone flipped a switch, once he went through puberty. You just have to let them know you're there...

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  28. First of all sorry to hear about the surgery and wait list. Yes, life sometimes is so not fair. I realized that much later in life. I wished somebody would have broken this reality to me earlier. Such a tough lesson. I don't know what I would do without running - you pretty much summed it all up - it helps me in every way, through hard times and through good times. I never want to be without it.

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    1. I didn't learn that life isn't fair until I was older either! I hate that my boys have to learn it so young in life.

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  29. Such truth to this post! We had a tragedy in our circle of friends last week, and my runs have been therapeutic for me to work out my emotions and think about how to help my friends as they try and move forward without one of their children. All we can do is be there for our children and support the decisions they make. I agree it is hard not to be a fixer!!

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    1. Oh my gosh! I'm so sorry about your friend's loss. That would be everyone's worst nightmare. It's really a fear, especially when you have teens.

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  30. Your love for your family shines through - I hope they know how much you care! Not a mom so I can't exactly relate but I do understand watching parents get older and how incredibly hard that is. xx

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  31. You are a great Mom, Wendy. This post hit home for me on many levels, being a pretty much single parent and having to carry the weight of my kid's hurts solo...it never does get easier, but all we can do it keep loving them! While my treadmill runs don't give me the peace that running outside does, I too run to help manage some of what life throws at me.

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    1. Oh those endorphins aren't exclusive to outdoor runs! I think any and all activity is helpful!

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  32. I have had some tough times with my girls, so I try to respect their hurt and disappointment while at the same time pointing out that things will get better and finding specific instances where a tough situation did get better. I like to think that t does't rain forever... but sometimes life is about learning to dance in the rain.

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    1. That is one of my favorite sayings! Trying to make the best of a bad situation is always the goal. There's no point in wallowing in self-pity. Altho wouldn't it be nice? :p

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  33. its so true! and what works with one child doesnt always work with another. Motherhood is hard and just when you think you have things figured out, it all changes!

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  34. Physical activity definitely helps me be a better mom. I'm at the total opposite stage that you are with little problems, but since school started, i've started seeing little social things that worry me down the line. You are right, it's so easy now....keep doing what you are doing, I know your boys appreciate everything that you do for them!! XOXO

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    1. I hope so! It's like being on the balance beam...the smallest moves throw me off.

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  35. This post resonated with me and I appreciate your candidness with how difficult it is for mothers to deal with their children going through pain. I firsthand haven't experienced that type of hurt where you can only do so much to help and guide them through it. However, I've seen my mom experience it too many times with my siblings and how hard it's been for her these past several years.
    Having time for myself whether it's running or any other type of physical activity has definitely helped me become a better mom. I expect challenges will be thrown my way especially when my girls go through their teenage years and I know I will turn to running to cope.
    On another note, I finally listened to your podcast interview and enjoyed it. I've added DizRuns to my list of podcasts to listen to!

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  36. Here's hoping surgery was a success and that your son is on his way back to full recovery.

    When my sons were your sons' ages, an older friend told me to just wait until they get married and then have children - you have a whole new set of loved ones to worry about. She was right. I now worry about my DIL, too, and can't even imagine how much I'll worry about my grandchildren when they come along.

    Thanks for linking up!

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  37. It never ends no matter what their age. My oldest has children of his own. So now, I get to worry about grandchildren too. It's just what we do as Moms AND Grandmoms.

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  38. With my boys being preschool and first grade I run right now to destress myself. Life is so chaotic when they need me constantly . I hear mommy about 100 x per day. I love them dearly but yes I'm better when I run. Maybe there's a rainbow at the end of that waiting list for your oldest... A new opportunity or door just waiting to be unlocked.

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