10 Ways Running is like Parenting
1. Keep your head up. In running you want to look where you are going. If you look down it messes everything up, your head, your neck, your posture. In parenting, keeping your head up, be aware of what your kids are up to. It’s easy to get caught up on your phone when the kids have FINALLY decided they can play for five minutes without your help, but as badly as you might want to, you can’t check out completely.
2. It’s about the journey not the destination. Sure, we all want our kids to grow up to be these awesome people, but we can’t just want them to be well-adjusted, smart adults, we have to help them be that way. Every situation where your kid does something wrong and the easy thing to do would be to let it slide, but you call your kid out on it so they learn a lesson, that’s the journey. Hopefully, with enough guidance your kid will turn into that well-adjusted, smart adult you were hoping for. When you sign up to run a marathon, as much as you think it’s about the day of the marathon itself, it’s not; it’s about all the training you put into it. It’s about the 20 miler you ran in the rain, when there were no crowds cheering and no medals at the end.
3. Snot. Both involve A LOT of snot.
4. Pace. I remember the first time in my adult life that I tried to be a “runner.” I laced up the only pair of tennis shoes I had, opened the front door and took off sprinting…for about two blocks. I was exhaused, and ready to quit. If you take the same approach to parenting, you will have all the kids fed, dressed, the day’s crafts made, outdoor play time finished, and books read by 10 am. You will be exhausted and ready to quit too. In parenting, just like with running, pace is so important. Slow it down. Take a little more time, you’ll thank yourself at the end of the day/run.
5. Actions speak louder than words. There aver 100,000 books on Amazon right now that have to do with parenting and running. You can read every one of them and you still won’t be a better runner or parent if you don’t actually put those words of wisdom into practice.
6. Hitting your stride. When you run a race, it’s important to remember you’re likely not going to be the winner. You are not racing against the other runners, you are only racing against yourself, your previous times, or whatever goal time you’ve set for yourself. When you parent, you’re not trying to be the parents that your friends are to their kids.
7. Cost is negotiable. Running can be a pretty cheap sport, if you want it to be. Parenting can be that way too. If your baby breastfeeds, you use cloth diapers, and buy second-hand or borrow clothes, you can get by for pretty cheap. Of course there are necessities, good shoes for running and a safe place for your child to sleep and ride in a car, but beyond that things are mostly optional. It’s also easy to get sucked into the trap of buying more expensive gear and gadgets: several hundred dollar baby swings, GPS watches, thousand dollar strollers (seriously), and specialty running pants, shirts, hats, belts/bottles, etc.
8. Nature vs. Nurture. Some people are naturally fast runners. Some are not. Those of us that are in the “not” category, can only read, learn, practice, and get only so much better. Same with kids. Some kids are smart. Some…well, do I really need to say it?
9. Fuel. Make sure you have fuel for those long runs/outings. Ever been on a three-hour adventure with kids, but without snacks? No fun. Your kids get hungry and start to shut down on you. Just like going out for a long run with no fuel plan.
10. Always always always make sure everyone goes to the bathroom before you leave the house.
Happy Parenting and Happy Running!