Top 5 Lessons I’ve Learned About Motherhood Through Chi Running
It seems as if I've been running for ages. At least long enough to run more races than I can count, and also - more importantly - turn my running workout into a practice. Over the years I've focused on many different things, and although I've never been injury prone, Chi Running has tightened up my form. It took having kids though (for me at least) to really drive home the importance of posture, and the idea of gradual progress.
I have two babies, Jacob (now 3) and Cate (1.5). I ran through each pregnancy, and continue to run with them every day. It's non-negotiable time for me - for all of us - to get out doors, to clear our minds and to move. In my 3 years of pushing a stroller, I've learned many things and here are the top 5:
5) Breathe deep. In my running practice I have been working on my exhale. Getting everything out, and then allowing the inhale to happen naturally. This relaxes and loosens my body (shocking how a little bit of oxygen can do that.....) This has carried over into my every day. If I'm stressed because we’re late, and frustrated trying to get the kids out the door with everything: deep breath. Fully exhale and allow that inhale. This automatically relaxes me. My shoulders drop, the tension seeps out and I can focus. We may not be on time, but I feel better!
4) Posture is king (or queen as the case may be). If my posture is out of line while running, I feel it. Same thing happens with my babies. If I use my body to bear their weight - jutting out my hip to carry one or using my body weight or back to push the stroller - bad things happen. My IT band and hips get to do work they weren't expecting. My back aches. I get tired more easily = impatient momma (no one likes her!). If my posture is in line, I can go for hours = happy momma (everyone LOVES her!).
3) Listen to your body. My body is my first cue when something is wrong. When I'm running it's usually my shoulders creeping up near my ears with tension. Funny, how the same thing happens when I'm frustrated at home. I can feel tension seep in - and hence, I can also make an adjustment, relax and let it go.
2) Relax into it. The more relaxed I am while I run, the better and easier it is. My core does it’s job, while the smaller muscles go along for the ride. I love that. By the same token, the more relaxed I am as a mother, the better and easier it is. I swear my kids can smell fear. They can feel tension. So I relax (mostly). If we’re late, we’re late. If the kids get sopping wet and dirty - we have a washer and dryer. If I get it wrong, I’ll get a do-over another day.
1) It’s a practice. Running isn’t simply a workout for me - it’s a practice. Something that I do every day and work diligently to get better at. I don't always get it right, but yet I get up every morning and try again. The same thing is true of motherhood. It’s something that I do every day. I’ve learned not to expect perfection, to be patient, to be kind to myself and to my kids - even when it’s not easy. The art of motherhood, much like the art of running, is a practice!