Can I confess to you a recent struggle, as silly as it may sound?
I feel badly about taking Henry out in the stroller for a run during the very few waking hours we have together on week nights.
I know. Mommy guilt. How unoriginal. But, here’s the thing: our days together are really short. I feel conflicted because I wonder if I should be using that time to having developmentally-friendly face-to-face playtime. Babe in arms, or at least on our bellies side-by-side on the playmat. Reading stories or singing songs when I’m not huffing, puffing, or so out of breath I can’t sing at all.
That said, am I teaching a healthy habit from a young age? Does he know? Will he notice? Is getting out to enjoy nature just as good as a story or song? I think I know the answer, but for some reason, the issue doesn’t feel resolved.
And then there’s me and my well-being. Nature, and movement, and meditation is key for my own emotional health, so it’s sort of like passing down an important coping mechanism and also making sure the happiest, healthiest mama possible shows up each day.
Why the debate?
Last night, I changed into running gear at the office to make more seamless the transition from car to stroller to road and when I walked into daycare for pick-up, Henry’s teacher asked, So, are you a runner or just dressed like that? I laughed hard.
Running felt pretty challenging last night; the headwind was strong on certain streets and angles and my arms and legs felt tired from our run the night before. Still, Henry settled in for a nice nap and I greeted the neighbors I passed one, two, three times and more, until finally we laughed and said, Good to see you again! We ran four and a half miles, which might be my longest distance running with the baby in tow.
I’ve managed 11 miles so far this week between two evening runs and a Sunday afternoon walk in chilly sunshine. My half marathon is a month from today and while it will be a far cry from a personal best, I’m excited to pin on a number, deck my little guy out in a running onesie, and hit the road with a few thousand running friends — sans stroller for a change.
Let’s hear it parents: how did you incorporate exercise when the baby arrived? How did you conquer the guilt, if you felt any? And for the crowd: tell me about an outdoor memory you have from childhood. Did your parents introduce exercise when you were young?