The Running Mom

Toni Hornung

I remember what it was like. I remember it being nice. Occasionally, I’ll ask my husband to describe it for me, and in a quiet whisper he reminds me in such a way that makes my body ache for it. Oooh, it was sooo good— sitting. Even though the post-preggo hormone-induced veil has fallen and these days I can’t remember even where the milk should go (with the cereal in the cupboard, just behind my Uggs, right?), I do remember what it was like to sit. And it is at this point in my life that I wonder, “Will I ever sit down again?”

When I was a baby-free lady out doing grown-up, baby-free lady things like swinging on the swings in the park, I couldn’t help but notice the running moms. I don’t mean the Super Moms sporting tight pants without elastic waistbands out with their Fast-Action Jogging Strollers. I mean the running moms that start their sprint by yelling, “Wait, wait, wait, WAIT!” and take off in the direction of a kid who thinks his Superman t-shirt has given him the ability to fly from the top of the jungle gym.

From the toddler who is about to try out the latest diet delicacy called “sand” to the kid who deems it prudent to try going down the slide with his eyes closed headfirst—these Running Moms race to the rescue. I’d watch these moms try their best to sit down only to rise after a luxurious 0.6 seconds of rest to stave off another suicide attempt. While watching I’d muse to myself, “Well, I’ll burn off some calories when I have my own kid.” The thing is, I didn’t realize how many calories I would actually be burning. Seriously. Yesterday my Garmin fitness bracelet said, “SIT DOWN!”

Yes, having a toddler who is full-on toddling keeps me on my toes — for hours. Before my son arrived I’d choose an afternoon of sitting over just about anything. (Okay, not over an afternoon of chocolate cake eating, but that, I can happily impart to the uninitiated, can be done in conjunction with sitting.) Now, with constant baby-lifesaving in its place, I feel like sitting is a thing of the past. Like black-and-white television and when “fail” was a verb.

I daydream of sitting down, watching some Outlander, or working on my mom tan outside in my tank top and shorts; but as soon as my daydream toned butt (my butt always looks fantastic in my dreams) hits the couch, I am wracked with guilt. Guilt that I’m dreaming of days without my little runner running next to me.

While racking up the walking Health Points on my iPhone, I wonder what it will be like when the little guy is off running without me on the school playground. My life will resume some sort or semblance of what it was like before he was around, except for the bumper sticker that reads, “My Kindergartener is Smarter Than Your College Student.” That’s when I wonder, “Will I miss this?”

I am keenly aware that every day my cool guy and I spend together leads him closer to that moment when sporting his little Star Wars backpack, he will get out of my car and say, “See ya after school,” and I will drive home in my car — alone. There will be no one there to keep calm while riding backwards in the backseat. There will be no little voice behind me grunting about how he wants to get out. There will be no need for me to belt out The Lonely Goatherd from The Sound of Music 27 times in 10 minutes (unless I just want to).

I always wondered how those Running Moms found the energy to run and run and run, and now finding myself in their Reebok Runners, I am beginning to get it. Time is fleeting. Even though some days feel never-ending, I look across the playground and see the teenagers leaning against their car laughing, and I know one day that will be him standing there while I am finally sitting. Alone. At home.

Becoming a mom may have taken some things from me — my memory, my waistline, my chocolate cake sits, my memory—but it has also given me something I didn’t count on: the energy to care for my little guy when I didn’t think I’d have it. When I see that sly little smirk appear a moment before his tiny hand reaches out for the fireplace andirons, my inner Running Mom takes over, and I am across the room in an instant! We exchange a momentary smile before he turns and is off in the direction of the dog’s water dish.

Uh-oh. Wait, wait, wait, WAIT!

Excuse me. I have to go burn off some more calories.


Head to the Family Room


The Running Mom

This post was written exclusively by Tonilyn Hornung for BonBon Break Media, LLC.

Tonilyn has always preferred writing in her room to playing kick-ball outside. Her book How to Raise a Husband was released this year to rave reviews and happy wives. She has also been a contributor to Redbook Magazine, and her essays have been published in Total Woman Magazine, Underwired Magazine, True Story Magazine, Clever Magazine, Savvy Women’s Magazine, and The Union-Times Newspaper, Jacksonville, Fl.. For over three years she was the most read blogger for Skirt! National magazine, and was one of two bloggers for Pregnancy and Newborn Magazine (having just had a baby helps—but then he grew-up). Tonilyn lives in LA with her two smart Border Collies, her one sassy kitty, her one supportive husband, her one baby boy, and never enough closet space.