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I’m not a runner.

I tried. I wanted to be a runner. I wished to run a marathon because don’t most people have this milestone on their life bucket list?

But, as I said, I’m not a runner.

In my exploration of whether or not running a marathon would be doable for me, I discovered multiple articles which offered their best tips and advice to have success in a marathon.

As I read and researched, I saw a striking similarity between running a marathon and parenting.

So here it is….

There are some striking similarities between running a marathon and parenting. #parenting Click To Tweet

THE PARENTING MARATHON

START SLOW

Every article seems to stress the importance of starting slow.

Fortunately, when our little ones are born, we have to take it slow. They can’t go from womb to school overnight. The course of development is slow.

However, I think that the “slow” rests in our mind and spirit. Slow means savoring the tender moments with our children. Slow is enjoying the quiet and delighting in the simple things that our children love so much.

DON’T GET TOO EMOTIONAL

I get it, this parenting gig is an emotional thing but you’ve got to keep those emotions in check, otherwise they will take over your race.

As a deliberate and reflective mom, I’ve struggled with navigating the emotions of parenting. I’ll never forget the first time my daughter told me she hated me. I was crushed. However, I needed to push past those feelings and focus on the fact that her statement was in no way personal, but a way to express her frustration with being disciplined.

RUN AT YOUR PACE

This is your marathon.

Keep your eyes on the road ahead of you and pay no attention to the runners who are passing by.

Don’t get caught up in watching what other parents are doing. That’s their race with their children. They have set a pace that’s unique to them. You’ll get to the finish line in your time with your child.

THINK OUTSIDE THE BODY

I’ve read that there’s pain that comes with running a marathon. Regardless of how much you’ve trained… pain and discomfort comes. A tip that’s repeatedly shared is to think outside the body and to focus on things like the scenery, the spectators, etc.

In this parenting marathon, I often have to think outside of my body too. There’s only so much I can do, so I rely greatly on prayer and guidance from my heavenly father. He loves my girls far more than I ever could, so I follow His lead when I’m going through the challenges and pain of parenting.

BE POSITIVE

A positive attitude helps in all areas of life but it’s critical when parenting our children. There are going to be tough days, difficult ages, and challenging stages but if we keep optimistic and keep pressing forward, the difficulties don’t seem as big.

BE FLEXIBLE

I remember I once saw an advertisement for runner’s yoga. That, in itself, almost convinced me to sign up for a marathon (because I love yoga)!

I know when these advice articles emphasize being flexible, they mean it in a literal sense but mental flexibility can also prove beneficial to a marathon runner. After all, you are at the mercy of the elements and you can’t predict what will happen to your body physically while you’re running. Flexibility can absolutely impact your marathon.

Parenting is the same way. It’s important to be flexible in how we approach our children. Sometimes when we’re too rigid or controlling, our children resist us. Also, our children are unique individuals with their own personalities. One child may not respond to a parenting technique that you use with another child, so you may need to adjust your approach to have the most impact on that particular child.

THE FINISH LINE

Though I’m still “new” in my parenting journey, I imagine the race is never done.

However, I think at some point there’s a shift from being a participant in the marathon, to being a spectator and watching your children run marathons of their own.

Regardless, this is the best race ever. The challenges and struggles are worth the reward of raising our children and passing the torch of love onto them.



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Jennifer Bly
Jennifer Bly
Author of My Kitchen, My Classroom: An Introduction to Homeschool, creator of The Deliberate Mom, and Deliberate Homeschooling. Jennifer writes about parenting, her faith, and life with her husband and two girls. Jennifer has a Bachelor of Applied Human Service Administration Degree with a specialization in Early Learning in Child Care.




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