Don’t feel guilty – feel proud.
Fitting in a run and being a parent can be difficult. I personally struggled with attending my local parkrun some weeks, mainly when my husband was working, as I did not want to drag my little one out of bed to come and stand in a windy wet field to watch me run around it. I tried to get her to volunteer to be part of the team and she did enjoy that. But not as much as staying in her warm and cosy bed.
I hoped she would see how much I enjoyed challenging myself and wanted to be her role model so that she might want to join in too but sadly not, “I don’t like running mummy!” was her reply. To be fair I didn’t like cross country running or distance running when I was young either.
Even seeing other children her age doing parkrun did not inspire her. But still I persevered and often suffered the guilt of not giving my child my constant attention at the weekend. On the days I didn’t drag her with me I would try and make parkrun as quick as possible to appease my guilt by arriving at 8.55 and leaving as soon as I had finished to rush back to being a mum again. I missed out on the social coffee/cake afterwards and the commaderie of parkrun to appease my guilt.
As I was running at a parkrun recently, a younger woman sped past me and told me she had left her children behind in the pushchair but exclaimed “running makes me a better mother!”. I had not questioned why she was running, but I guessed it was another case of ‘mother’s guilt’. We do not need to justify why we are not parenting our children 24-7.
So to all us parents out there suffering the guilt of doing something for ourselves for an hour on a Saturday morning remember we don’t need to make excuses for attending a parkrun and for enjoying our running. We get to enjoy the social contact, the endorphins and benefits of exercise, and the positive psychological feeling of achievement – our children get a happy parent which is priceless, so there’s nothing to feel guilty about!
Nose Hill Event Director
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