My name is Jen and I blog at Miles and Blessings. I am a runner, a mother, a wife and I home school. I have 2 daughters, Alyssa (13) and Courtney (11), that I have been homeschooling for 6 years. My husband works full time as the pastor of Calvary Bible Church in Maryland.
Life lately…life lately is imperfectly perfect. It’s everything that I need it to be: slow, simple, close. No life is perfect, but in it’s imperfections it suits us perfectly.
We fumbled through our first week as a family of five. While Sophia took her second brother in stride, Jack struggled to figure out his new “place” in the family. He struggled with boundaries (no you can’t pry open Liam’s eyes) and mostly just seemed lost. And when you’re two and a half, “lost” gets communicated through hitting and crying and throwing and taking flying leaps off the couch onto your sister (or the corner of the end table). And we struggled as parents to keep our cool despite the crazy behavior and the lack of sleep. We weren’t always successful, but we did manage to turn things around towards the end of the week and life has settled a bit.
Liam seems to sail through it all unfazed. Of all three, he is the most relaxed newborn: a good eater, a good sleeper (four and even five hour stretches already…although that was only once). He’s the kind of baby that makes you think: Maybe four is doable? And then he has a night like last night where he’s up almost every hour and half and I think: No. I don’t want to do this again.
But at the same time I’m savoring every moment, even the sleepless ones. A friend of mine said, “By the time you have the third, you realize how quickly time goes.” I’m finding that true in every way. With Sophia I felt like I looked forward to when she’d grow up and reach new milestones. With Jack I wished away his first year, longing for the day when we would be done with the surgeries and the appointments and the hospital stays. But with Liam, I just want to be in every moment with him as he is. I know he will roll over and walk and talk and eventually swing from the monkey bars or launch himself off the couch onto his sister. I know all those things are coming…more quickly than I ever realized before.
And in those moments with Liam I’m finding myself re-processing everything we went through with Jack. It’s remarkable how similar the two of them look. Sometimes I dress Liam in the hand-me-downs from his brother and remember: Jack wore this the day of that appointment. And sometimes when I burp him, I rub his back and think about what Jack’s back felt like before his surgery. Jack’s nevus had a raised bump just to the left of his spine, close to his shoulder blade. I can pinpoint the exact spot on Liam’s back. It’s one of those tiny things that I’d forgotten until now, but holding little Liam is bringing back memories I’d pushed aside and forgotten. Mostly because they were sad and difficult and it was a time where I just had to push.through.the.hard.
But I look at Jack now and he is so vibrant and rugged and rough and tumble, with the scars to prove it. And I look at the way he loves his brother Liam so much and I feel so grateful. I have two healthy boys.
Somehow this gratefulness and the fact the life seems so “full” right now has me at ease. Just a few months ago I was very anxious about my ability to be a mom of three. I wondered what would change and how I would manage. All of the anxiety has seemed to melt away and the postpartum blues I was expecting have yet to materialize. I think it’s in part due to the fact that I feel rested, far more rested than I’ve ever felt after my previous two children. But mostly I think my ease comes from the fact that I’ve let go. I let go of some of the unreasonable expectations I had of myself: expectations for the order and cleanliness of our home, expectations for our homeschooling schedule, expectations I have of myself in regards to fitness and running. I’ve let go of a lot and embraced the “now.” Somehow holding little Liam for the first time was a catalyst for this.
He’s a game changer, for sure.
I love connecting with readers! You can find me here:
Email: RunFarGirl [at] gmail [dot] com
Daily Mile: dailymile.com/people/scanney
I had the chance to meet Heather of Run for Your Sole earlier this spring and she is a passionate mother and runner. She uses her running to make a difference for others and is doing some amazing things with I Run 4 and the Massachusetts Chapter for MyTeam Triumph. She’s here today to share a few tips on running with a stroller.
Running with a stroller for the first time is awkward. Let’s not sugar coat it. When I was pregnant with my son, I received the BOB single jogging stroller. I was beyond excited to have gotten this so that I could take him out with me and get myself back into fighting shape. I envisioned myself running like the wind, pushing my new baby, and smiling the whole way. How hard could it really be to run while pushing a tiny human in a stroller? About 8 weeks after he was born, we hit the road for our first run. Let’s just say I’m pretty sure I was barely moving forward. While I definitely laughed at myself a few times, I wasn’t smiling the entire way. Pushing that tiny human felt like pushing a pile of bricks.
My son is now two years old and I have a daughter that is one. This means I’ve upgraded from the single BOB jogger to the double. Lucky me! More importantly, I’ve had lots of practice running with the stroller. I promise you, you do get used to it, you do get faster and stronger, and even though your kids get heavier, it does get easier…or maybe you just get used to it. The best news is you’re burning some serious calories and building up some major arm muscles. Not to mention how badass you feel when you pass other runners!
Here are nine tips that I hope will make your experience a little less awkward and a little more fun. These tips are a compilation of things I have learned along with tips and tricks I picked up from my fellow mother runners in our running group, Greater Manchester, NH Moms Run This Town (GMMRTT).
1. Music can be your best friend. Whether you rock some Disney toddler tunes or your own favorite play list, music is a helpful distraction while running with a stroller. I’ve blared everything from Guns N’ Roses, to keep myself moving, to the soothing sounds of the Rockabye Baby station on Pandora to keep the kids asleep. The things us Moms do!
2. Snacks, snacks, and more snacks! Along with bringing your own water and fuel for the run, make sure to bring a variety of options for your little one. Whether it’s a bottle, sippy cup, snacks, or finger foods, you’ll thank yourself when you’ve got two miles to go and a screaming child.
3. Rattles, toys, and books, oh my! While any of these options will do, remember that at some point your little one will start to throw things out of the stroller. That’s when your run can really get interesting. Run…and squat to pick up rattle. Run a little more…and squat to pick up toy. Run one more inch… and don’t you know, here comes that book! The bottom line is, sometimes you need a little distraction for your child, so try to find toys that will clip onto the stroller or snack tray. If you bring a blanket, tie a small corner onto the stroller so that it doesn’t fall out and end up wrapping itself around your stroller tire causing you to come to an abrupt stop, like me. Let’s just say I’m glad nobody was watching that morning!
4. Make it an enjoyable experience for everyone. If you’re pushing your new baby, let the sounds of nature soothe them to sleep and enjoy the peace and quiet. If you’re running with a little one who is just learning words, talk to them about all of the things you are seeing as you run past. If you’re with a toddler, play a game like I-Spy. My fellow Greater Manchester Mom’s Run This Town member, Miriam, said it best when she said, “When a kid is in the stroller, you are a team. They should be having fun too. You want them to remember the fun Mommy had running with them in the stroller. Not that they were stuck in there being bored.”
5. An out and back route may not be your best option. Make sure you find a stroller-friendly route (think back roads, sidewalks, and minimal traffic) with an option to make an easy exit if need be. The last thing you want is to be miles into your out and back and find yourself with an inconsolable child and no way out. Plan ahead for success!
6. Use the safety strap. I know! I know! This seems so obvious. However, I felt it was my responsibility to share this PSA with you all after having forgotten to use said strap once. Notice, it only happened once because my children nearly ended up rolling into a ditch. Not funny. True story. So embarrassing! I had the double jogger, myself, and the dog. I only have two hands! The neighbors were walking their dog and so of course my dog went nuts trying to play. In the heat of the moment, I got tangled up in the leash, removed the safety strap from my wrist, and turned my back. Oh dear! In seconds, I turned back and the stroller was on the move and I was chasing it! Not a good look!
7. Don’t lean on the stroller. This can be challenging and hard to avoid if you are new to running with a stroller, if you are tiring on a run, or if you are pushing up hill. Sometimes, you just want to lean in, which causes your lower body to get further and further away from the stroller leaving you hunched over and in awful running form. It will happen. When it does, recognize it, correct your form, and remember to use your core (yes, you still have core muscles!) to pull yourself upright, use your legs for power, and then keep moving forward. You WILL make it up that hill! YOU CAN DO IT!
8. Push with one arm or two? That is the question! I’ve decided this one is personal preference. When I first started pushing the stroller, I tried pushing with both hands on the wheel. My gait was off, my stride was blown, and it was just plain awkward. Therefore, I always push with one arm and use the other to “pump” as I run. If you do this, it is suggested to alternate arms every so often. I suppose that is so you don’t tire too easily and that you build even muscles in each arm (because clearly that is what we are going for here right?!?!). I personally don’t alternate. It’s just a habit I have developed that works for me. My suggestion on this one is to find what works for you and stick to it.
9. Automatically double you mileage. Yes, you heard me right! This one comes straight from “Train Like A Mother: How to Get Across Any Finish Line – and Not Lose Your Family, Job, or Sanity”, by none other than Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea, THE mother runners! “Any mother runner (or female friend of said runner) who pushes a stroller while running can count her mileage as double…If the cargo includes four legs and four arms, she can quadruple her mileage.” Enough said.
So to all you stroller warriors out there gather those snacks and toys, pack up that stroller, lace up those sneakers, and head out on the town! In the beginning, it’s all about figuring out what works best for you and your little one(s). With every step forward, every push of that stroller, and every drop of sweat that falls, remember you are getting stronger and setting a great example for your children. When you see their smile as the wind flies through their hair on their special runs with Mommy, you’ll know it’s all worth it!
Do you run with a stroller? What’s your best advice?
Heather Sweeney resides in Southern New Hampshire and is a Mom to Jack, two years old, and Anna, one year old. She is a Registered Nurse, but her passion is running. She is the face behind “Run For Your Sole: Inspiring Others One Step At A Time.” Heather has completed 2 full marathons, 7 half marathons, and countless 10K’s and 5K’s. Currently, she is training for her third marathon this May. She is a Sweat Pink Ambassador, member of the Greater Manchester, NH Moms Run This Town Chapter, a buddy for the I RUN 4 organization, and an Angel with the Massachusetts Chapter for MyTeam Triumph.
This week my husband is back to work and I’m navigating life as mom of three. I’m learning to be OK with the messes and the un-done laundry and toys everywhere. There are a few things that are making that a little easier though: the Tommee Tippee Tumblers and no slip Easi-Mat which are making the messes a little less messy. And of course the Tommee Tippee Pacifiers to sooth Liam amidst the craziness that is Jack&Sophia.
Stonyfield and Tommee Tippee recently sent me a sampling of their new Explora products to try and they couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. Even though Jack drinks easily from a cup, sometimes a covered cup is the way to go especially in the car or if we are “picnicking” in the living room.
And the Easi-Mat and coordinating bowls are genius! The mat has a grippy, no-slip surface on the bottom and a suction cup on the top to which the bowls easily adhere. Preventing any inadvertent toddler elbows from flinging the bowl and it contents across the kitchen floor. I’m all for less mess. Especially while functioning on less sleep.
The new products from Tommee Tippee are intuitive, easy to grib and rugged. They’ve been on our floor, outside, in the car and through the dishwasher several times and are still going strong.
And now you can get a set of your own! I’m giving away the same exact set of NEW Tommee Tippee Explora products. Just enter the giveaway below.
Open to US residents only. Must be 18 years or older. Void where prohibited. Contest ends 5/26. Winner announced via blog post.
What is your favorite Tommee Tippee product? And what Stonyfield YoToddler flavor would your toddler love most?
I love connecting with readers! You can find me here:
Email: RunFarGirl [at] gmail [dot] com
Daily Mile: dailymile.com/people/scanney