Most of my runs these days are done behind the wheels of my trusty jogging stroller. I leave the house in my running clothes, drop Big C off at preschool at 9 am, and if all goes according to plan, Baby Z is drifting peacefully off to sleep right about the time I pull back into the driveway. I shuffle her into the stroller as quietly as I can, and I’m off – pounding the pavement for a 4-5 mile respite while my little girl enjoys her peaceful slumber.
Sometimes I’m able to squeeze in a solo run on the weekend, sans stroller. And, WOW it’s so much easier when I’m by myself!!! This came as no surprise, as I probably logged 100’s of miles behind that same stroller with Big C a few years ago. But I’d forgotten how drastic the difference was – my pace is a solid 2 to 2 and a half minutes slower per mile when I’m pushing Baby Z!
I think it’s pretty obvious why running requires more effort when it’s done behind a stroller. With that in mind, if I tried to hold myself to the same time goals I have on my solo runs, I would be chasing unrealistic expectations. That would be unfortunate, because I would constantly feel disappointed in myself for not “keeping up.” (And it would be silly, since I’m getting just as good of a workout, if not better, even though it takes me longer.)
This concept may seem ridiculously obvious when it comes to strollers, but as Mother’s Day approaches, I’m reminded that often we as moms (especially moms with young babies) do this to ourselves all the time! We beat ourselves up for not maintaining the same pace of life we did before having children. We desperately try to get back to the same workout regimen, cook the same elaborate healthy meals, or let’s face it, maybe even shower on a daily basis just like we did pre-kiddos. Our society is inundated with examples of celebrity women who seem to pull it off – but who knows how much money they are spending on trainers, chefs, nannies, etc to make it happen (and besides, who knows what really goes on behind closed doors anyway?)
So this Mother’s Day I’ve got a word for you moms out there who may find yourselves overwhelmed in an attempt to keep up with that person you once were before that little blessing(s) came along – slow down! No one is expecting you to be that person but YOU (after all, for all your kids know, you’ve ALWAYS been a mom!) Settle down and find a new pace that you can keep, and run the best race that you can. And don’t forget to enjoy the ride!