This post will be about a women’s retreat I just returned home from.
A running** retreat.
Wait, stay with me here.
** Disclaimer- I am, ahem…a slow runner. You’re not gonna see a lady flying gracefully when you see me run. Nope. You’re gonna see a regular mom who is probably running like a bat out of hell from her laundry room, then sneaking out the door and away from the incessant needy calls from her kids. It’s my therapy. Always has been, always will be. I started about 18 years ago walking around my block and I’m still going strong- to the tune of ten marathons and counting. Left foot. Right foot. Repeat. Stay out of the looney bin. Keep the kids alive. #lifegoals
I took a huge leap of faith this weekend and traveled to a running retreat for mothers. It was hosted by Another Mother Runner, an online community of mother runners. I flew almost 3,000 miles to spend three days with over 50 total strangers, and though I have interacted with the AMR community online and have written for their website, it would be the first time I would be around this amazing tribe of women IRL. Like IN REAL LIFE ya’ll. Scary! Even for someone like me, who is easily able to open up to people through my writing, IRL is a whole different animal.
So I put my big girl panties on, packed my running shoes, and headed way out west to find my people. I went in search of my tribe of women who would serve as my mom battery charger- the inspirational jumper cables I could hook up to my dead spiritual battery so to speak.
They did not disappoint.
Because sparks people. BIG. SPARKS! Everywhere I looked.
Here’s the thing about the mother runner community and the kind of women they are.
They start out as strangers, and in five minutes become your long lost best friend.
They GET you. Period. They get that you are juggling a million balls in the air, and struggle to find not only a mom/work/life balance, but one in which it’s also OK to make yourself a priority, and to put your health and mental wellness FIRST.
They come in all body shapes and sizes, all ages, backgrounds, and ethnicities. They are in every different season of life, some mothering toddlers, some struggling with teens, some doting on grandchildren. They are married, divorced, single, separated. But put them all in running shoes, give them some coffee, say “Go!” and the conversations, laughter, and smiles are nearly impossible to suppress.
Some run fast, some slow, some walk, and some absolutely soar, but there is an unspoken rule that pace and performance just doesn’t matter. There is no judgment at the start line. Zero. It’s all about showing up and covering the miles at your own pace.
And what a metaphor for life that truly is.
I don’t know what personal battles they are fighting in their life, their running motivation, or the reasons they lace up their shoes in the dark on Saturday mornings, and quite honestly, I don't need to know. Because when we gather together and start moving forward, it no longer becomes about all the burdens and stresses that weigh us down, but more about how all of those things magically fall off while we run.
My wish for you as a woman and a mother is for you to seek out your mother support tribe, any kind, any type, and anywhere. Find them wherever they are, doing whatever mutual passion you share, and then join them.
I am grateful for all the different mother tribes I am in, including the one here on 4boysmother. You all are one of my tribes! But I hope after you read this, you will begin to put yourself first, and you will look high and low for your mother tribe.
Don’t be shy.