"Again, Mummy!" – Women's Running

“Again, Mummy!”

Author: Women's Running Magazine

Read Time:   |  December 15, 2016


Again Mummy Claire chamberlain

“Mummy, hold this,” my three-year-old demanded the other day.

“OK,” I replied absentmindedly, holding my hand out as I simultaneously tried to wrestle the baby into her shoes. “What is it?”

“A bogey,” he replied, wiping it into my upturned palm and trotting off happily down the hallway.


Here’s the thing about small children. They are demanding. Never mind the basics (bottoms wiped, nappies changed, meals cooked, clothes washed, baths run, stories read, cuddles granted, grazed knees kissed). There is so much more. From getting you to find/carry/pick up/hold all manner of items (bogeys included), to absolutely having to have something RIGHT NOW MUMMY, to demanding “Look at me! Look, Mummy. Look, look LOOK” approximately every 37 seconds throughout the day, your full attention is always required.

Which is why I find running so cathartic. Because three times a week, it is my little slice of selfish, solitary, soul-lifting me time. Even if it also happens to be lung-busting and leg-burning, it is wonderful. Because a trail path doesn’t demand anything of me (except, perhaps, that I look down every once in a while, so I don’t go soaring arse-over-tit over a tree root).

I’m making it my mission that the actual running I do stays that way. But here’s the thing: I have recently entered a 10K race. And not just any 10K race. This is an off-road, mega-hilly trail race.

Basically, if I don’t start doing some strength work pronto, I’m going to be f*cked.

So, because there are simply not enough hours in the day for me to keep two children alive and happy, write, run and attempt to hold a plank position for longer than 45 seconds (bloody hard, isn’t it?), the strength work has had to be incorporated into playtime with the children. Hence, once a day, you will find me looking ridiculous, trying to do press-ups without collapsing, while simultaneously imitating the voice of Buzz Lightyear, who is having a tea party with Woody the cowboy, Frozen’s Olaf and a cuddly rabbit.

At first, I decided I wouldn’t mention it to the kids. I naively thought I could sneak 10 minutes of strength work in unnoticed while they played.

They noticed.

And now, strength work has become something of a family affair.

But you know what? I actually don’t hate it this way.

My children have brought a playfulness – a lighthearted, excitable joy – to something I otherwise would have just assumed was simply hard work; something to get over and done with.

Of course, their ‘help’ does not make the task in hand any easier, in the same way that their ‘help’ unloading the dishwasher (good plates were lost) or hanging up washing does not make these tasks easier, either.

Children rarely make simple tasks easier. But sometimes they do make them more fun.

I mean, have you ever noticed how the plank makes you kind of look like you’re about to give a horsey ride? No? Well my son did.

Or that when you’re doing sit-ups, you’re also perfectly placed for a 16-month-old to clamber aboard, grab your hands and demand a rendition of ‘Row Row Row Your Boat’?

My daughter also makes squats more fun, by insisting she pokes her head through my legs every time I stand up, turning it into an impromptu game of peekaboo (a new habit of hers – and one that she recently timed rather disastrously, when she poked her head through my husband’s legs while he was in the bathroom and he peed on her head).

Of course, with the smiles and laughter, those demands creep back in once more.

“Again, Mummy, again! Be the horse again!”

I suppose even though their help makes my workouts that much harder, they are also making me that much stronger. I’m hoping that this, coupled with my three runs a week (which are slowly getting steadier and just that little bit longer) will see me get round my upcoming 10K course without falling to pieces. I’m not aiming to be fast (hell, there’s no way I’ll be fast – I’ve seen the course profile); I’m just hoping to get round with my dignity and core muscles in tact.

And when I hit those mega-hard hills, it will be thoughts of horsey rides that will get me through.

Because, after all, my children helped me train.


Claire writes a blog, keeprunningmummy.wordpress.com. You can also find her at Facebook.com/KeepRunningMummy or on Twitter @KeepRunningMum


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