09 May On Being a Running Mom in Grand Rapids
I’m one of those people. I’m the woman letting a child run through racks of jackets at TJ Maxx while I shop for activewear. My kid is the one who learned how to drink out of a water bottle out of necessity. I’m the lady in the park who passes you while pushing a jogging stroller and singing Elmo’s song. There is a trail of partially-chewed apples and stray cereal in my wake.
I am a runner mom.
Trust me, it’s not glamorous. There were a few months when I was still wearing a belly band under my running clothes so that I didn’t chafe while I worked out with my new just-had-a-baby body. I’ve run with breastmilk and formula spots on my clothes, which of course I either didn’t realize until I was on the road, or they happened right before I left and I went anyway. I’m the one ducking off the bike path for a minute to pee in the woods because I can’t hold it that long any more. Just ignore me. Don’t make it weird.
Being a runner mom is just one of the things I am. Like all women, we tend to be humans with personalities and interests and identities beyond our offspring. For instance, I have an awesome career that I love. I have tons of fun with my son, I love spending time with my husband, and I enjoy long-distance running, writing, and volunteering. Somehow I work full-time outside the home, train for races, and manage to work in totally fun structured and unstructured family time.
How do I do it? Well, it’s easy: several parts of my life are a hot mess. My basement? Don’t even go down there. It’s a room for the cats to poop in (in a box, preferably) and for doing laundry, and beyond that it’s a place where dreams go to die. The spare bedroom? It’s basically a big closet full of clean and dirty clothes. Which ones are dirty? Probably the ones on the floor. Not sure. Give ‘em a smell and find out. My yard? I’m trying to get it designated as a wildlife preserve.
Don’t look inside my car. Just don’t.
The reason I’m talking about this is because it’s Mother’s Day, and I have seen just about every mom I know talking about the movie Bad Moms. All my friends want to go see it because they identify with the message that we women don’t have to try so hard and don’t have to sacrifice ourselves for our children’s enrichment. We don’t have to be perfect because we would rather be total badasses.
On the surge of happy feels I received this Mother’s Day, I wanted to write a note today to all of my Grand Rapids ladies to let them know that they’re doing a great job. Your family and friends love you the way you are, even if you don’t always feel like a success. Besides, nobody’s perfect. The perfect moms with their Pinterest activities and consistently clean hair are probably a hot mess in some other way. Even if not, you don’t need to feel bad about anything you’re doing just because you see someone else nailing it. It can be fun to be the mom with the popcorn in her shoe and the secret stash of deodorant for all the times she forgets. What fun is it to be neat and organized and punctual anyway? I’m sure you’re good at plenty of things. So what if you’re not good at everything?
So, it may seem like I’m the judgemental mom when I roll up to the park in my activewear with a clean child and healthy snacks, but trust me, there is always at least one hot mess that I am ignoring so that I can go run. I am not judging anyone for their child-rearing or non-procreating or wine choices or hair or clothes or shape. I just like running. It’s fun and you should join me sometime. We can talk about baby snuggles and impressive poop explosions or your job or your dog’s new vest.
See you in the park!
Dren Asselmeier is a runner, mom, writer, and marketing strategist. She loves supporting women with their fitness goals and hanging out with her stroller gang. When weather permits, she runs with her tiny ginger running buddy, Walter. When she’s not running, you can find her fixing her 100-year-old house or blogging at Drenergize.com.