I just finished the book RUN LIKE A MOTHER: HOW TO GET MOVING AND NOT LOSE YOUR FAMILY by Sarah Bowen Shea and Dimity McDowell. I read this book on my Kindle while on the exercise bike over the last few weeks. I had forgotten how I'd ever found this book but then remembered that Mandy at Enjoy and Embrace Learning had recommended it. I am sure many of you are surprised that I read this book. Probably because it is obvious that I am not a runner. But I have actually read a lot of running books and self-help books are always a part of my January reading. I read THE COURAGE TO START by John "The Penguin" Bingham a few years ago. And I've read several issues of Runner's World. Deep down, I must want to be a runner. My friends are amused that it is so like me to READ about running instead of actually becoming a runner.
I LOVED this book. Yes, I would love to run. And yes, this book got me through the worst first weeks of exercise while pathetically out of shape. But I loved this book because it was about moms trying to balance their lives. Moms trying to take care of themselves and their families. Moms who had a passion that is so much a part of their identity, that they can't not fit it into their lives. These moms just happen to be passionate about running.
I have had many years of being in and out of shape lately. I was an 80s aerobics girl and loved it--I loved the music, the outfits and the fun. In the last 10-12 years, I have gone in and out of shape-mostly out. I did have a year or so of boot camp, that if you have followed my writing for long, you know about. I did okay for a while and even learned a bit about struggling readers in the process. But work or writing or something got in the way.
What I realized when reading this book was that work is my passion--the teaching, the reading, the writing, all of it. And just as people ask the authors of RUN LIKE A MOTHER how they fit in marathon running, people often ask me how I fit in writing, consulting, etc. I am never quite sure how I fit it all in but it is so much of my identity and so much of what I believe in, that not fitting it in has never really been an option.
BUT, I would like to be more balanced and this book has really helped me with that. Because I realized it isn't easy for anyone to fit in exercise. I realized that even for these marathon runners, it is work to keep going. I found that these two authors are passionate about their work AND about their running and even though it is somewhat connected, they don't jump out of bed every morning excited to run. These are moms who are sometimes tired, who try to do it all, and who keep going.
And they are real moms. You can tell because they quote things like "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie". And they don't trust Hollywood stars who run in the same ways we don't trust Hollywood stars who write children's books. And they like food. One of my favorite lines in the book was, "As much as I love my husband and kids, what I really live for are carbohydrates." Really, how could you not love these girls.
So, this book has been monumental for me--the book I needed at exactly the right moment. I read it while on the exercise bike--starting an exercise routine in the worst shape I've ever been in. And this book got me through those 4 weeks. I only read it on the bike and their stories kept me going when it was not easy. Because I realized, it is never easy. For anyone.
Being a working mother is hard. Being a balanced working mother is harder. I don't know if I will ever run anywhere other than my treadmill, but I have a new sense of things after reading a book by these amazing runners, who are so committed to running. I learned so much from them--not only about running but about cycles of life, friendship, commitment, the reality of trying to do it all. And they tell their story with such humor that I couldn't help but laugh out loud several times.
The good news is that this book is quite the bargain right now. I have no idea why. I had mine on my Kindle but know I will want to have a hard copy so I ordered one. I also ordered a few extras- just in case a friend needs a boost. And I was thrilled to find out that these two women have a blog--RUN LIKE A MOTHER. I have visited it often in the last 5 weeks and it to has kept me going. They have a "FOLLOW THIS MOTHER" feature, which I love--you learn about so many moms working to fit exercise and fitness into their lives too.
So, I discovered this book accidentally and it got me through the hardest part of getting back in shape--those first 5 weeks. This week marks the beginning of the 6th week of consistent exercise. I feel better and am pretty sure that the hardest part is behind me. Those first few weeks are always the worst. I also know though, that the cycles of life make it so there are always times that exercise doesn't fit in so nicely. That there are times when it isn't so easy. And I feel more ready for that.
This is a great read, especially for moms who want to run. But even if you don't have any desire to run, this book is about more than that. It is about balancing and fitting in your passions --fitting them into an already wonderful and full life. These women are my new heroes:-)