Feed Your Soul

How to stay sane as a mother with running, hugs, kisses and chocolate chip cookies.

Homemade chocolate chip cookies feed my emotions.

Hot oatmeal with raisins and brown sugar feeds my body on a chilly morning.

Hugs and kisses from my family feed my heart.

But running feeds my soul.

For me, feeding my soul is doing what makes me feel like me again. Just "me" before I was a wife and a mother and everything else I do and am.

Years ago, more accurately decades ago, running was my life. In high school I lived and breathed it. I was fortunate to be part of a talented team of some very special people. I learned about dedication, teamwork, leadership, goal setting, friendship, faithfulness, and patience. During adolescence and trying to figure out  who I was and where I was going, these qualities became a part of my DNA. The life lessons learned running around a track and up and down the hills in a small town named  Bernardsville located in horse country in New Jersey (yes, N.J. actually has a horse country and it’s not right off the NJ Turnpike) became a cornerstone of who I am. 

Today, running takes me back to that core, stripped of the roles of wife, mother, volunteer, and sister. It is my Mommy’s Time Out and my date with myself. For me, after a run everything in my busy life feels calmer, less hectic and more settled. Sometimes the miles are part of a faster-paced tempo run and sometimes they are just some slow and easy miles. It may be on a country road, a treadmill or on the narrow shoulder of Love Lane. No matter where I run, I love the satisfaction that comes with completing a run because it’s an achievement as a mom to take some time for myself. And let’s face it, it’s something that is done. It’s over, finished, it can’t get dirty or cluttered for the tenth time today!

Running to feed my soul makes me a better wife, mom, and person because I’ve taken time to feed me, build myself up, feel good about myself.  It’s not selfish, it’s necessary. From time to time do I feel guilty about taking the time to run? Yes, I do. But I try to keep this in mind:  If I don’t fill up my gas tank I am running on empty and in the long run that isn’t fair to my family. It took me some time to comprehend this but by taking care of myself I am taking care of my family too. And guess what? I have the energy and full appreciation to enjoy all the hugs and kisses my two little girls give me, even when those hands and faces are smeared with warm gooey chocolate chip cookies. Hugs, kisses and chocolate – it doesn’t get much better!

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nylawdog April 17, 2012 at 02:21 AM
I remember that girl on the track, and what a wonderful person she has grown into. Thank you for letting me know I dont have to feel guilty about those long runs with my soul, because without my soul how could I possibly do anything with depth? I would love to go on a run with you again and perhaps follow it up with some chocolate chip cookies. Pink skirt and all :)
Karen Paley April 17, 2012 at 10:27 AM
This is such a great idea: "It took me some time to comprehend this but by taking care of myself I am taking care of my family too." I remember the same feelings running as a young mother.
John Ahearn April 17, 2012 at 06:42 PM
You said it very well. Steve Prefontaine would agree 100 % with you - "....it comes down to self satisfaction and a sense of achievement." - John A.
wendy April 17, 2012 at 08:12 PM
As a mom of 5 boys who was part of, not a stellar part of, but part of the 1981 and 82 BHS xc teams, I never stopped my love affair with running. It didn't take me long to realize that running wasn't who I was, but it was something I did that made everything else ok. I felt particularly guilty while going through a divorce but a good friend of mine told me that "self care is never selfish", and I am so thrilled to see so many moms who get the same joy from just getting out there and putting in the miles!
Sharon Siedliski April 18, 2012 at 12:41 AM
@nylawdog - let's plan on that run if you are vacationing in Narragansett again this summer. I promise to wear the pink skirt! @Karen - thanks for reading, commenting and supporting all moms who also need to take care of themselves. @John -thanks for linking me in the same statement as the great Steve Prefontaine! @Wendy -you hit the nail on the head with your comment that running is something that makes everything else ok. So true! Hope you are still running or more importantly, taking good care of yourself in a positive and healthy way. Thank you all for reading and taking the time to comment. I truly appreciate it :)
Kimberly R. Ragosta April 18, 2012 at 11:12 PM
i walk almost everyday with my double bob stroller and 2 boys...when the 3rd is born in June I'll be sporting my triple stroller! Praying it fits on most sidewalks (it's quite wide). That is my me time (even though I talk to them the whole time) and luckily my boys are used to this and understand it...although they are just 3 and 19 months old. Hoping my 3rd will enjoy riding like the boys do. Someday maybe I'll be able to jog alone...but for now my hour pushing the stroller while chatting with my kids is perfect!
EGfav228 April 19, 2012 at 01:08 PM
Such a nice story!! Keep up the great running for you & your family :)


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