10 Ways Running Is Like Parenting

Ali Wilkinson

On the surface, running and parenting may seem like they have little in common. Running is often done alone, usually requires shoes, and rarely involves being pooped on – at least not by a third party. But look a little closer, and the two actually have quite a bit in common.

  1. It takes a toll on your body, and it makes it stronger. Yes, running gave me calluses that add a half inch to my foot width, heel pain and tight calves. And yes, parenting gave me a saggy belly and lopsided boobs. But my legs can carry me for miles and miles, my arms can pick up a forty-pound child, and my heart is steady.
  2. People who aren’t into it think you are crazy for doing it. And they’re probably right.
  3. Sometimes you get passed – and that’s okay. No matter how hard I try, I will never run a 4 minute mile. Or a 5 minute mile for that matter. My body just isn’t built that way, and that’s okay. There are always going to be people out there who are faster than me. Just as there are always going to be parents out there who are going to throw an amazing birthday party for their kids with a homemade fondant-iced cake that’s a dead ringer for the bust of Cinderella, and look fabulous while doing it. I’m not built that way either, and that’s okay too. I’m happy moving along at my own pace.
  4. Rest days are important. Though, unfortunately in parenting, impossible.
  5. Sometimes it is the best feeling in the world. The sun is coming up, you rocked it to the top of a big hill and are enjoying an amazing view, no one is around, it’s blissfully quiet – the moment cannot be beat. Except for when you come home after that run to joyful shouts of “Mommy’s home!”
  6. And sometimes it just hurts. Yup, it does.
  7. There’s so much advice out there about how to do it. Entire sections of bookstores are devoted to each topic. Magazines litter the shelves. Experts disagree on every aspect of each. And in the end, you just have to find your own path and do what feels right.
  8. It is an excellent excuse to eat copious amounts of chocolate. And wear comfy pants.
  9. When you’re not doing it, you want to be doing it; although often when you’re doing it, you don’t want to be doing it. There have been so many times when I’m feeling stir crazy, the sun is shining, and I’m just itching to get out there and run, but life (aka three kids) gets in the way. Then when I do get out there I feel creaky and rusty and old and wonder, “Why have I been looking forward to this so much?” Much like at the end of a day in the office when all I can think about is getting my arms around those delicious kiddos of mine, and within second they are yelling at each other about who got to the car first and who’s going in whose side. (Seriously, guys. Every. Single. Time.)
  10. Yet there’s nothing else you’d rather do. It can be annoying. It can hurt. It can be boring. It can be monotonous. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything, would you?


10 ways running is like parenting

This post was syndicated with permission to BonBon Break Media, LLC.

Ali Wilkinson lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and three small children. She runs to avoid completely losing her mind. So far this plan is having moderate success. Her writing has appeared on Scary Mommy, The Mid and Sweatpants and Coffee, among others. She writes about trash-talking preschoolers, her messy house and parenting at runknitlove.