How Parenting is Like Running a Half Marathon

I now have two teenagers living in my home. Technically, one of them is not quite an official teenager, but the signs are there. The behavior is there. The MOODS. Heaven help me the MOODS. I think I may have figured out the proper way to navigate these delicate times with the older of the boys.

I hesitate to actually make that statement for fear of jinxing it (jinxing is real!) but I guess it’s too late now.

I am definitely no expert but I think I can stay off the roller coaster for the most part.

This past Saturday I ran 9 miles. NINE! You might be thinking that’s not a big deal, but it is for me. It’s huge. I gave in to peer pressure and signed up to run a half marathon coming up on May 16. The longest distance I’d ever run before is 3 miles. And that was tough for me.

So, as I looked forward to the longer runs during my training schedule, I was very nervous. The 8 mile run scared me the most for some reason. Maybe because it was more than a month before race day and an inconceivable distance for me.

When my second son, the emerging teen began to act out of sorts, at first I was just confused by his behavior. He us normally such and easy kid to raise. Easy to talk to, easy to understand. It took a couple of months of strange behavior before I realized, Wait a minute… I’ve been here before. This is feeling like deja vu. Then it hit me. There are two of them now.

Around the same time all of this was going down, I was talking to a friend about the half marathon training schedule and I shared my concerns about my ability to do the distances. “I’m just not a runner,” I told her. It’s hard for me and I’m not even sure why people do it for fun. I remember saying to her, “I can’t even imagine running eight miles. I just hope the training runs that lead up to it will prepare me for it. I’m putting my faith in this training plan and hoping for the best.” The life metaphor in that conversation didn’t escape me that night. I thought a lot about how every hard thing we go through prepares us for more hard things.

Only, they don’t feel harder, because we are stronger.

Setting my fears aside, I just plugged away at the shorter runs and as the weeks went on, I was able to run 5 miles without trouble. The seven miler was tough but I made some adjustments to my nutrition and when the 8 mile run day came, I did it. I smiled for the entire last mile because I was just so pleased with myself and I felt amazing. Then last weekend I added that extra mile and did nine. And as you may have guessed, this weekend I will do 10. Not soon after, I will do the 13.1 miles. And this time, I know I can do it.

As I enter this new phase of my boy’s lives, I definitely feel some nervousness. I am trying to walk that delicate line of having a fun relationship with them while still setting boundaries and teaching them to be good people. But, I am banking on the fact that the lessons I have been learning about how to be their mom, my “training” so to speak, will carry me through that 9th mile. That I am prepared (As much as one can prepare for such things).

Maybe it would be better to say that I feel like I have miles under my belt and strength to call upon. And I know I can do it.


Originally published at findmeaning.net on April 17, 2015.