By Skye Ziemke
Last night while shopping at a local big box store, the picture shown above caught my eye. Now, I know that the picture was not meant to be humorous but for some reason it made me laugh. My eldest son was with me and felt it was a fairly accurate portrayal of the potential danger caused when a Christmas tree is shoved into a doorway and blocks an exit. I can see his point. For me it was just one of those funny and ironic moments. A friend and I had just recently discussed the growing number of moms who were taking up the sport of running. I had stated to my friend that I did not enjoy running and couldn’t be made to do it for any reason. Yet, as I looked at this sign, I realized my statement had been untrue. If my doorway ever looked like that, with flames pouring out at me, I would run just like that little stickman!
It is true though, isn’t it? This passion for running has enveloped our nation. A group of women in my neighborhood now all train together. They even have a name, like My Neighborhood Mamas Who Run. It’s cute, if not cliquish. I am happy for (and only slightly envious of) them. I could tell you how a fall on ice when I was 5 months pregnant with my middle son, ruptured my quad tendon, requiring emergency surgery and leaving me with permanent knee issues to explain why I don’t run. Actually, I did just tell you. But to be honest, I just don’t think running is fun. It isn’t my thing.
If you are a runner, that is great and I am as proud of you as I am of these neighborhood mamas. Not so long ago, I realized how much I have allowed things like not becoming a runner to diminish my self-worth. Silly, isn’t it? It was nothing anyone said to me, just something in my own heart. Many of my friends also do not care to spend their days training to run the Chicago marathon and I am pretty sure they don’t feel like lesser women for it. But there are other things that I know get to them sometimes. Maybe they aren’t as crafty as others (curse you, Pinterest!), can’t bake to save a life, or are all thumbs with the knitting needles.
We need to give ourselves a break and the freedom to find our “thing”.
It is so easy to be swallowed up by the role of parent. For me it has been very important to remind myself that I am allowed to keep my own identity and not just be “Mom”. I also want to show my children that I have goals and dreams still. If your dream is to run a triathlon, well then, color me impressed!
As I work on finding my own niche, my own goals and dreams (a process I hope is ever evolving and developing) I need to work on how I view the goals and dreams of those around me. I want to applaud and value the strengths I see in others, not use them to harshly judge myself.
So, good job running-mamas across the nation! Sorry to hear about your days of blisters, ill-fitting shoes, and bad weather. I am proud of you! I also promise that I too will run if needed. If, for example, that Christmas-tree-shaped fire in the doorway becomes a reality, watch out! I will be setting land speed records on my way down those stairs!