harvest 7

Step Forward: New Running Goals

This post is sponsored by Famous Footwear.

I get my greatest mom advice from my sister. She laid the stones for this path several years before me, and the stones are now settled and weathered so that all I have to do is step where she’s already walked. Her parenting mottos have become mine, and we laugh that one of the most repeated ones would make a horrible t-shirt: BE SELFISH. Because sometimes we forget to think about ourselves when, since the moment we knew a baby was on the way, every cell in our body changes its programming to take care of them first.

As awful as “be selfish” sounds, it’s the most loving thing we can do for our families. When we don’t make time and space for our own well being, we’re giving a shabby version of ourselves to our kids. I know it because I’ve felt it–pushing aside the little voice inside that says “Pay attention to me! Listen to me! I have needs too!” to sign the kids up for another activity, help with homework, make a lunch, read a book, prep the dinner, clean the house, put away their laundry. That voice, if left unattended, can scratch us up inside so that we’re resentful, ill-tempered, short-fused. It all comes out ugly in the end.

This time of year is the danger zone. Back to school puts added demands on our families, and new routines require more of us. I’m thrilled to be joining Famous Footwear in helping us remember to take care of ourselves in their Step Forward campaign, encouraging women to make sure one of the new routines you’re taking on this season is FOR YOU. Try something new, set new goals, make some space for an activity that’s strictly for your own well being. September is New Year’s for moms.

My step forward this season?

I’m picking up my running game. I’ve never considered myself “a runner,” but I run–not necessarily to stay fit, but because I find it works to reset everything inside me to “All Clear.” When I’m frustrated with my kids? Running calms me. When I’m anxious about the future? Running assures me. When I’m feeling icky and tired, lazy and gross? Running makes me feel powerful and productive and strong. So I run. But waiting to find a good time at the end of the day isn’t working for me anymore–it’s getting pushed aside.

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New goal: RUN IN THE MORNING. I’m setting my alarm to wake up before my family. Just 30 minutes. Because I’m selfish like that. I find that when I run FIRST THING, it sets the tone for a super productive day. I eat better, I drink more water, I answer more e-mails, write more stuff, keep my house cleaner, think of new ideas. Because “I ran today” powers me through. I prove to myself first thing in the morning that I can do something hard–everything else is cake.

A few things that help me?

Use a running app. I love Nike’s Run Club app. It keeps track of all your runs, lets you rate them, cheers you on (celebrities like Kevin Hart pop in to give you a pep talk while you’re running), and allows you to compete with other runners as well as yourself.

Make a good playlist. I continually add songs to my Spotify running playlist and know which songs to use to motivate me when I think surely I’m going to die.

Get a running friend. Stay accountable with your runs and workouts by inviting friends to share your goals. On Wednesdays, I run with a friend in her neighborhood. On other days, I call my sister to compare running goals.

Stay flexible. I don’t beat myself up if something shifts in the plan and have alternatives for when things change. When Brett’s gone on a work trip, instead of running, I lay a yoga mat out early in the morning and do a home workout instead.

Let your kids see you being selfish. It’s SO good for kids to know we take care of ourselves first. When I’m running out the door for self care or headed on a run and one of my kids cries for me to stay or wants to go with me, I get down next to them and tell them, “Mom’s going to go listen to her heart for a little bit so I can use it to love you better when I come back.”

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Running buddies! Step forward with me. Meet you on the pavement tomorrow morning.

*I’m wearing the Nike Flex Contact running shoes from Famous Footwear in this post.


Leave a Comment
  1. Joanna Downey says:

    A mother being selfish is a taboo subject. I know a number who have put their families first for so long they have forgotten who they are & some who have become martyrs: “No darling, I don’t mind having the smallest piece, least comfortable chair, theatre seat with worst view”… Life is all about balance, we achieve that in different ways & I was ‘me’ before I was ‘mummy’ & still have to nurture that individual.

  2. I’ve been thinking about exactly this lately. I call it “oxygen mask mothering” (like the advice you get in an airplane). A happy mom means a happy family!

  3. High five for self care! I find that self care stretches time, because the more you fill the well the more productive you will be!

  4. Too true!!! I was all giving to my three kids under four, while my husband went to work, footy, poker, out for boys nights ….unlit I because so bitter it wasn’t pretty. I told him every night he went out with his friends, I got a night to go out with my friends. He went out less, but I went a lot more than before!! And I’m much happier 😉

  5. I love this. I am going to get up in the morning too. I keep putting off making time for me. It is TIME to STOP and be SELFISH so I can give myself some LOVE. I always make time to clean the kitchen, bathrooms and finish the laundry. What about me? I need to be cleaned and tended to as well. Thank you for the inspiration.

  6. Your “run first thing in the morning” decision reminds me of the keystone habit idea in the book The Power of Habit. Instead of trying to change ALL THE THINGS that we think should be better/different/improved in our lives, we look for the one thing that triggers all the others. For some, it’s going to bed at a certain time. Others, it’s quitting smoking. Whatever that keystone habit may be, it’s the one thing we can focus on that sets us up for success in the rest of our lives. I can see how getting outdoors and pounding the pavement for a good while could do just that!

  7. It’s too bad that being “selfish” has such a negative connotation, because it really IS necessary for us busy moms in order to keep ourselves sane. I like running, too, but just never “find the time” — actually, what’s more accurate is to say that I never “make the time” because the time is there, it’s not anything that needs to be “found” — it’s there. I just need to start using it for myself.

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