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Why this mom of 8 needs to run


May 17, 2018

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It was Mother’s Day morning, and I was two miles into a 10-mile run, and I was feeling torn.

“It’s Mother’s Day,” I thought. “What kind of message am I sending my children if the only gift I ask for on this day that signifies my role as their mother is to go for a run without them? Will they think that I don’t love them or want to be around them? Will they think that I don’t like being a mom?”

I debated turning back, but something in me switched, and everything in my body told me that I needed this — my children needed this.

And as I looked out at the straight road ahead of me that seemed to lead to nowhere, yet everywhere all at the same time, I settled in and ran. I could have gone forever.

It had been several days since I’d gone for a run. Between soccer practices, games, track meets and other extracurricular activities, I was not able to get out at all. When I did, it was a mile or two around the block before heading out to take the kids to where they needed to go, or to fix a meal, nurse a baby, clean the house. You know, the usual routine with eight kids.

And I was OK with it. I chose to have this many children, and I’m so glad that they are involved in things that they love. I had faith that I would live to run another day, and I was happy to wait my turn.

Yet, as I did, and as the weekend approached, my engine was being revved. I felt like a caged dog who needed to either fight or run away for my very survival. And when I finally got my turn to run, I ran. I ran and I ran and I ran.

The thing about the route I chose was that it was an out and back on a paved parkway that went for miles in either direction. And as I looked out ahead of me, there seemed to be no end in sight. And that’s just what I needed.

I needed to look ahead of me to see that I could go forever if I wanted to. I needed to feel like I was escaping, in order to satisfy that very real urge that we all feel from time to time. I needed to leave my stresses behind even for an hour or two — just long enough to tell my mind that what I was running from wasn't life threatening or scary.

I needed to get to that point where my mind and body were on autopilot, so that I could be in the moment and not worry about what was behind or ahead of me. And in that moment, I was grateful. I was grateful for my husband and my children, and for the time they had given me to figure that out.

Has this or any other run made me a better mother? I’m not sure. The verdict is still out on that one. All I know is that sometimes a mom just has to run away to help iron out the kinks and put things in perspective.

Yes, even on Mother’s Day.

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