Running for our daughters

Happy Mother’s Day!

In the purposeful running series, many of you have shared the varied reasons we run: stress relief, setting and achieving goals, processing grief, honoring a good cause, and taking care of ourselves to be healthier and happier to care for others.

This week I’ve been reflecting on how my running has changed since becoming a mother.  Here’s what I concluded:

  • My runs are more carefully scheduled and squeezed in wherever possible
  • There’s much less recovery/down-time… I jump right back into the responsibilities of parenting when I walk in the door
  • It’s become a more meaningful piece of my identity- something to set me apart as more than a mom
  • It’s become an important tool for modeling self-confidence and healthy living for my daughter

To expand on the last point briefly, I love taking my daughter for jogs on popular trails where she sees lots of runners and assumes this is a normal part of everyone’s lifestyle; I love when she can spectate at races and enjoy the energy and excitement of all the athletes and spectators; I love that she imitates me down the sidewalk and tells me she can run fast, too; I love that she is still carefree, and doesn’t care if her clothes match or her hands get dirty and has no clue that appearance has any place in assessing the value of women in our culture.

I hope that she will be inspired to run or find a sport she enjoys to build her self-esteem and help combat the struggles of adolescence.  To celebrate her body for what it can DO and to be confident!

I’m encouraged by the many articles touting the benefits of physical activity for young girls: one found a positive relationship between physical activity and/or  sports participation in 12th grade girls with their self concept, which may also reduce their risk of depression;  another found that achievement in team sports in early adolescence was positively associated with girls self esteem in middle school;  and a third summarizes multiple benefits of physical activity and encourages girls to get involved with sports!

The power of modeling strength and confidence over beauty  for her sake is enough to keep me running.  How has being a mom changed running for you?


32 thoughts on “Running for our daughters

  1. I completely agree! My reasons for exercise have changed some to include doing it to be a good role model. It makes me so proud when Alyssa opts to workout with me instead of play or begs me to sign her up for another race. I don’t force it but love that she wants to be like me! Kids are SO perceptive!
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  2. That is so important- for children to have a good role model and to see exercise as fun and just normal, not something we have to do to keep thin or whatever. At my school we take part in a local running event- it is a half marathon and 5k race for adults, and they do a 1k (or something) race for kids- the school with the most children taking part wins (I think book vouchers or something- we were second last year!) but the children just love it, getting a medal, being like their parents, seeing their parents and teachers run the longer races.
    Maria @ runningcupcake recently posted..Cutty Sark Tea and blueberry almond scone recipeMy Profile

    • What a great way to get kids and adults involved together!! I would love to see something like that when L gets to school… hmmm, maybe I could help organize something. Thanks for sharing!
      Laura recently posted..Running for our daughtersMy Profile

  3. I run for my family – I want to be healthier, be a positive role model and be a better mom. I too hope my daughter and son see that by being active in a sport you love will help with overall confidence and living a healthy lifestyle.
    Jen recently posted..Enjoy The DayMy Profile

    • It really does make us a better mom, too… being happy with who we are, confident in ourselves, satisfied in accomplishments… a good run makes for a happy mom, I always come back energized and more ready to face the day!
      Laura recently posted..Running for our daughtersMy Profile

  4. Such a great post and Happy Mother’s Day!
    In the moment, running is for me- but in the long run, it benefits my whole family. My kids know I run- it’s normal. They see that exercise is something I enjoy and not an unwanted chore. They see me do races and they say “I want to race, too!”. There are so many things that I want to teach my children and being healthy is so important- one of the best things we can teach our kids!
    Jerilee@Mom’s Gone Running recently posted..My favorite day…My Profile

    • Yes- that’s so true… seeing healthy lifestyles as something enjoyable and not a chore is a really important lesson to pass on. I know you’re an awesome example for your kids, it’s obvious from your posts how much you enjoy them!
      Laura recently posted..Running for our daughtersMy Profile

  5. Great post! I agree it is so important to role model healthy lifestyle and positive body image to our daughters. As a mom I have learned to become much more of a morning person in order to assure a workout, that and naptime are now my workout times except the times we enjoy a run together 🙂
    Jen recently posted..The half marathon that wasn’tMy Profile

    • I’m so thankful that my mom modeled a healthy body image for me…she wasn’t active in an athletic way, but was (and is) constantly in motion, using her body for gardening, cooking, playing with us, whatever… and I never heard her complaining about her body shape or going on a diet, etc. Of course, I picked up on all those messages eventually, but having that example of confidence in herself was really powerful!
      Laura recently posted..Running for our daughtersMy Profile

  6. I am not a mom, but I think that having a positive role model is priceless. Her seeing that you are active, and HEALTHY and not just bouncing from one fad diet to another, will bring her up with a positive self image! I hope you had a wonderful mother’s day!
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  7. I have 2 boys and I hope that my running and exposing them to racing at an early age will show them that they are strong and can accomplish anything. I also hope that my running shows them the power and strength of women. I hope that in the future, when they pick a wife, that they choose someone who is strong and confident:)
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