A few weeks ago, I ran my first 5k. I’ve never been a runner, but I needed a goal. Something to get me to the gym and help me shed my baby weight. I downloaded the Couch to 5K app, got a gym membership, and convinced a friend of mine to register for the race with me.
During my five months of “training” and prepping for the 5k, I couldn’t help but think about how motherhood is very much like a race.
It requires strength and endurance. It’s physically and emotionally hard, and it’s something we could, but shouldn’t, do alone.
I wasn’t able to run the whole 5k. I had to stop and walk in some places. If I hadn’t been running with my friend, I probably would have walked a lot more. I needed her there to encourage and push me. And mommas, we need each other in this race of motherhood.
While I was training, I often worked out alone. Sure, I was at a gym with a lot of other people. But, there wasn’t anyone I knew personally on the treadmill next to me who would know if I walked when I was supposed to be running or if I stopped 5 minutes early to check Facebook before picking up my kids. I didn’t have anyone to keep me accountable.
Inviting other mommas into your life can be scary. Doing life with others means that they will see your flaws. They will see you react harshly, lose your patience, and give in to whining. But having other mom friends also means you have a shoulder to cry on when it’s just been one of those days. It offers other points of view when you’re method of discipline isn’t working anymore or someone to rejoice with when your eight-month-old sleeps through the night for the first time. It’s friendship, it’s camaraderie, and it’s essential.
We all know how important friendship is on this journey. That’s why there are so many blogs, books, and Facebook groups devoted to moms and mothering. But for some reason, there are still moms out there who find themselves alone. If that’s you, I would encourage you to find a playgroup or create your own. Join a women’s bible study and seek out other, older moms who have walked this path before you. Ask them into your life. You won’t regret doing so.
And while you look to connect with other moms remember this:
Motherhood may be a race but it is not a competition.
We aren’t here to compete with each other but to help each other along the way. We all have different strengths and different things to offer our kids. Think of how much more we could offer them if we joined forces, shared ideas, and pushed each other to be the best momma we can be.
Perhaps if I had a gym buddy while training for the 5k, I would have been able to run the entire thing without stopping. But what if I had a friend to work out with who wasn’t any good at running, who hated it more than I did? What if instead of pushing me to keep going when I wanted to stop, she talked so much in the locker room that we never even got on the treadmill? Although it might be fun to have her around, that friend isn’t helping me get better, she’s not helping me run the race any better.
Mommas, we don’t just need friends, we need good friends. Seek out other mommas who make you a better mom. And while you’re at it, think about the friend that you are to other moms. Are you telling them it’s ok to be mediocre or are you encouraging them to be better?
Originally published May 2016.