Celebrate motherhood — the good, bad, (not so) ugly

  • This was printed in May of 2014 in The Madera Tribune, a newspaper in Madera, California. This was the 51st installment of my weekly column, Mind Over Miles.

It’s hotter than I had anticipated. I’m wearing a raspberry long sleeve tech tee from this

year’s Tinker Bell Half Marathon and some shorts. I’m five miles into a 12-mile solo run

and I’m sweltering in the 70-degree almost-7 a.m. sunshine. What happened to spring?

Oh right, it’s Fresno.

I’m on a lonely stretch of Old Friant Road and there’s no one in sight, but I know when I

meet up again with the Eaton Trail and head back into Woodward Park, there’s bound to

be scores of runners and cyclists sharing the trail. I can’t let them see the one thing I’m

still hung up about — the body flaw that only my husband and my kids ever see.

Or can I? A sudden wave of empowerment comes over me and I snatch off my shirt

before I lose my nerve.

I have two beautiful children that I show off to everyone through Instagram and

Facebook photos. So why do I hide the stretch marks that prove that those beautiful

children grew and developed inside my tummy? They’re just scars, a result of my small

frame and hereditarily inelastic skin stretching to carry a 7-pound-7-ounce baby girl and

two years later a whopping 9-pound-4-ounce boy.

If anyone thinks my stretch marks are ugly, they can look the other way.

I continued my run in shorts and a sports bra, liberated on so many levels. I was not only

free from my unbearably hot long sleeve top. I was free mentally, no longer self-

conscious.

I had chosen my own comfort over someone else’s potential disapproval — a big victory

for this momma. I’m a runner, not a beauty queen. I care about my split times, not what

someone thinks about my body.

The thing is, no one seemed to care that I had exposed my tummy full of shiny, white

scars. I passed by dozens of cyclists and hundreds of runners and walkers (there was an

organized event that day). I tried to glance at their faces to detect any smidge of reaction.

The impending disapproval I had anticipated was all in my imagination.

They seemed only to care about their own split times.

Sunday is Mother’s Day and I encourage everyone to celebrate the moms in their lives,

but more importantly, I encourage moms to honor themselves. Your body is a temple — a

baby-making one — and you should treat it as such. Eat healthy, get active, and pay

attention to your mental health, including getting enough sleep and managing stress.

Monday begins National Women’s Health Week, an observance led by the U.S.

Department of Health and Human Services to empower women to make their health a

priority.

I know it’s hard to pay attention to yourself when your family consumes so much of your

time, but make a pledge to be a little selfish. It’s actually selflessness in disguise —

focusing on your wellbeing means that you’ll be healthier and better able to keep up with

your kids.

It is any surprise that I’m celebrating Mother’s Day with a run?

On Saturday the Greater Madera Kiwanis will host its annual Mother’s Day Run, this

time at Woodward Park in Fresno.

The greatest Mother’s Day gift will be watching my son and daughter run the ¼-mile kids

race. The joy they get from running just like mommy and daddy is evident from their

huge smiles. “When I get big, I’m going to run marathons,” Jazlyn, 4, tells anyone who

asks her about running or sports.

After the kids run, my mom will push them in a stroller for the 2-mile walk/run while I

run my second-ever 10K race. I can’t think of any better way to spend (the day before)

Mother’s Day than sweating for 6.2 miles in a charity event with my mom and kids in

tow. Can you? Join us; register at http://www.greaterkiwanis.com by tomorrow.

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