This is my favourite picture of me, by my youngest daughter. She’s done much fancier pictures, more detailed, more colourful – but I just love this.
I love that my girls associate me with running. I love that they are growing up knowing that sometimes Mummy comes first, and running comes first. I love that they want to run too, and that we run together, and that it’s part of our shared joyfulness.
I was a kind-of-runner for years. On and off. Here and there. Then during some tricky times a fabulous person pointed out that I was lost amidst the duties of family life – and that it wasn’t good for me, or anyone else. She told me that I had to put myself first sometimes, or I was no good to anyone. She made me make time for me, and along the way I discovered how much I really loved running.
So I run for me, but I run for my girls too. They see their dad support me by coming home in time for me to dash out and run with my group. They see me prioritise running by throwing myself out of the door some mornings before breakfast. And sometimes they say ‘Please stay home, please don’t go running today,’ and I say ‘It’s important to me to run, I love running. I like to be fit – a fit mummy to run around with you! I need to have time for me too – so I can be a good mummy, not a crazy one. It’s is my thing and it’s what I do.’
I want to give my children positive, hopeful, high expectations for their lives. By making time for ourselves, by asking for the support of our families and partners so that we can have that time, we’re presenting a whole package of goodness that feeds those expectations.
Take the time you need – no one will gift it to you. That’s the biggest lesson I learnt in the last decade! That’s our best gift to ourselves, and our children. They learn from us how to be.