In the years before I became a parent, I logged hundreds of miles (and hours) running around and around Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, training for various road races. During that time, I saw many, many parents pushing jogging strollers up and down the park’s hills.
That would never be me, I thought, scornfully. I certainly didn’t want any stroller getting between me and my pleasure in unfettered speed.
And then I became a parent. And of course I got a jogging stroller.
I’m amused to think of all that I know now that I didn’t know then.
I didn’t know that if I didn’t run with a jogging stroller, I probably wouldn’t run at all.
I didn’t know that running with a jogging stroller can be a great way to enjoy the park with my sons.
I didn’t know how powerful I can feel, pushing a twenty-five pound toddler in a jogging stroller while I charge uphill for a half mile or so.
And I didn’t know that the jogging stroller would be a symbol not of how much I have changed as a parent, but of how much I am still very much myself.
Maybe I’ve given up road racing in favor of more time with the kids. Maybe I don’t run so fast anymore. And maybe I tend to chatter about the trees and the sky with a pre-verbal baby as I run.
But look! I’m still running.
What did you think that you would never do that you find yourself doing now, as a parent? What surprising continuities have you found from your pre-parenting to your current life?
Rachael is the work-at-home mother of a vivacious two-year-old boy. As a freelancer, she edits and writes educational materials for K–12 students and teaches online creative writing classes through The Writers Studio. She is also a poet who was foolish enough to have married an artist. Though Rachael never planned to do anything other than attachment parenting, her pre-motherhood self probably would be surprised to see her happily nursing a toddler — and in a family bed! She is grateful to have found an online community of others doing much the same. Rachael writes about making her way toward work-life balance in a family of artists at The Variegated Life.
Photo Credit: Author
Photo Credit: Author