Running Makes Me a Better Mom

My name is Colleen, and I’m a Mother Runner.

I have always enjoyed running since high school, which makes me a runner for about 25 years now.  Yikes!  Where has the time gone?  Oh right, into building a beautiful family, comprised of 7 kids (6 boys and 1 girl) as well as working as the Business Manager for our Catholic high school.  I’m busy, as are all mothers because life can be demanding. 

Kids are awesome but they also need a lot of our time, attention, things, and it turns out they like to eat multiple times a day.  Who knew?  When you multiply a child’s needs by seven, and subtract out the eight hours spent each day at work, there’s very little time left to get everything done. 

So amidst all the demands of life… how does a mother even have the time to run?  Well I’ll give you my answer.

I make the time.

That’s how any mom does anything, right?  If I can carve out some time in my day for myself, I will almost always use that time to work out.  Other moms may choose to use their free time in a different way, and that’s awesome!  As long as we can get it, because let’s be honest, moms need some me time.  It’s not selfish to do an activity you enjoy or go take a nap that allows you to return to the duties of your vocation feeling refreshed. 

What has never let me down is running.  I have never regretted an hour spent getting my heart rate going, raising my happy hormone levels, keeping my body healthy. 

I have regretted not pushing myself out the door, however.  I have regretted the wasted hour on social media, or binge-watching TV, or eating Cheetos in the pantry in secret.  Those things make me feel like a terrible person afterwards.  But running?  Running makes me a better person and therefore a better mom.  It allows me to return home feeling happy (vitamin D and endorphins are amazing!), stronger for the day’s challenges, and with more energy to engage with my family whole-heartedly. 

I always say that I run to stay sane, and the mental health benefits of exercise are so rewarding, but I can’t deny the physical benefits as well.  By being a mom who works out, I am showing my children that it’s an important way to live.  We are called to take care of our bodies and souls, and running gives me the time to do both.  Some of my best conversations with God happen when I’m pounding pavement and thanking Him for all the blessings in my life.  When other moms have said to me that they just don’t have the time to workout because they give all their time to their kids (yes, this has happened more than once), I hope they realize that living an unhealthy lifestyle won’t keep them around their kids for very long and if they really love their kids and want the best for them, body and soul, they need to start being a living example. 

At my son’s 15 year old physical, I was reading the pamphlet on healthy living, and it recommended one hour of vigorous exercise daily.  That won’t be that hard for a 15 year old who has grown up in a house full of family fitness his whole life.  He won’t be thinking about IF he should exercise, he’ll be planning on WHEN he has the time to fit it in that day, because the habit has been instilled all his life. 

 Our most recent family race with my husband and our three oldest runners.

Our most recent family race with my husband and our three oldest runners.

Being a mom who runs also shows my kids that being healthy is not the same thing as looking a certain way.  We exercise to make our insides healthy and our muscles strong and our minds sharp.  We don’t exercise to wear a certain size, and believe me, runners come in alllll shapes and sizes, which is great to see. 

Now please don’t get me wrong… a mom who runs isn’t better than a mom who doesn’t.  This is about what makes me a better mom, and wife, and friend, and employee, etc.  I do strongly believe that a mom’s vocation is to serve God and her family, and nothing should get in the way of that.  Since that leaves us with few hours of free time, it is so important for a mom to figure out what helps her lead a healthy, happy life as part of her vocation.  We are human, not robots, and we all deserve a break.  Even God rested on the seventh day.

For me,  running is my way to recharge and refocus on my family while keeping me sane and happy.  I encourage you to find your happy activity too!

Colleen Martin runs and writes from New England where she also works full-time as a Business Manager at a Catholic high school and raises 7 children on the side ;)  Both running and writing have offered Colleen a way to stay sane amidst all the chaos, a beautiful chaos that she thanks God for daily.  You can connect with Colleen at her blog here, and her Instagram here.