Being a mom is one of the the hardest things I’ve ever done. Every day I wake up tasked with the enormity of shaping, molding, and guiding an impressionable life.
It’s a terrifying responsibility.
For ten years, we have worked our hardest to show our little boy how to navigate this world, to be kind and compassionate, to work hard, and to try his best; to be humble, but to have pride in himself and the things he does. I have the honor of celebrating his triumphs, and the agony of standing back to let him make his mistakes. I get to watch him learn and discover his passions and himself. I try to give him the tools to work through his limitations and I encourage his dreams.
In doing this, I have had to take a hard look at myself. Our children are always watching, and as a mom, I have a duty to lead by example. I can’t expect anything from my son that I, myself, am unwilling to give, and I want him to absorb the best parts of how we live our lives and use those parts as he creates his own path.
So for him, my bright and sweet 10-year-old, I run. I’m not a particularly talented runner, but I enjoy it. I don’t always train efficiently or productively, but I get out there again and again to accomplish that training. My goals may not be worthy to anyone around me, but they are my goals and I work at hitting them as best I can.
It is critical for our kids to see us engage in healthy habits. They need to watch us struggle, fail, and keep pushing. We can tell them all about how to “try, try again,” but if we don’t model that action for them, it’s harder for them to grasp.
Physical fitness was never a huge part of my early life. It wasn’t a part of the daily routine and it was a struggle to incorporate an exercise regime in my adult life. However, it was important to my health, both physical and emotional, so I found a way to make it work. The lesson I hope to pass on is that being active is one of the secrets to good overall health.
In the mornings, he wakes up to find me coming home from a run or gym session. He knows I leave the house before dawn so I can get back in time to help get him out to school. I show him that I can be an engaged parent, but still make time for the personal things I find valuable to my well-being. I offer him the chance to run with me and happily register him for races in which he shows an interest. He knows I would rather spend time having fun with him on the course than worry about a PR.
I am his biggest cheerleader and he is definitely one of mine.
What I hope he sees is that his mom doesn’t give up. That even though I’ve never won a race (or come remotely close), I get up day after day, week after week, month after month, to keep trying. It doesn’t matter if I’m tired or sore or over it – I still keep pushing. I want him to know no matter how hard things get or how discouraged I am, quitting isn’t an option. Practice makes better, and knowing you’ve done your best is the greatest reward.
On this Mother’s Day, our plan is to celebrate with a run. It will be just a few more miles on our family total and we will enjoy spending some time together in the fresh air. It’s one of the things that brings us together as a family, and I hope it’s a tradition he wants to continue as he gets older.
Our children are watching. Let’s give them something great to see.