It's Mother's Day All May, an essay series for May that explores the intersection of parenting and running. Enjoy!
I’ll be the first to admit, I was much more excited than my 7-year old when I scored an animal fart book at a garage sale for a mere 25 cents. But, the holy grail was when my hubby scored a fart blaster soon after.
The male-to-female ratio in my household is 2:1. Fart jokes, bathroom jokes or any other potty talk is a regular topic of conversation and entertainment in my house. Which leads me to today’s post.
I recently invested in a badass mother runner hat. At the time, I hadn’t thought much of the turmoil this hat could cause in our home. My 7-year old had a different perspective. He immediately challenged why I could wear a hat with a bad word on it. I tried, in simple terms, to explain that sometimes words have multiple meanings and in this case the word was about channeling my inner grit or sisu.
He didn’t buy it.
His response, “is it because your butt was sore?” I had been complaining of a sore butt muscle for a few days and so the question wasn’t completely out of context. But, when I told him no, he channeled all of his inner logic to make sense of this hat. A few moments passed. Finally, he says, “I still don’t get it. If it isn’t about your sore butt, why would you wear a hat that says you have a butt that stinks and you are a mom that runs?”
He’s available for rent if you need someone to keep you humble. Seriously, though, the conversation got me to thinking about what being a BAMR—a badass mother runner—means. As a back of the packer, my running goals tend to be a bit simpler than some… As in finish upright and with all 10 toenails intact. As a plus-size mama runner who loves a lot of things in life besides running, that’s frankly enough.
It took me a long time to get pregnant. It took fertility tests, doctor appointments, ultrasounds, and a failed adoption for my husband to successfully knock me up. As a geriatric pregnant woman (can we just acknowledge how insane that sounds given I was 35?!?!?!), my pregnancy was anything but smooth sailing. Jake came a month early and managed to not only wrap the cord around his head but to also knot it while bouncing around in my stomach. He spiked my blood pressure and I experienced the joy of bedrest.
But he made me a mother.
I lost my mom at 18 to addiction. Our relationship was complicated to say the least. But she also instilled in me the power a mother has on those around her. She was one of the strongest, most courageous women I have ever met.
Most importantly, she believed in me no matter what. When she looked me in the eyes and said you can be anything you want to be in life, I believed her. As a kid, this meant thinking I could be a gold medal gymnast like Mary Lou Retton, a Golden Girl Baton Twirler for UCLA, best-selling author like Laura Ingalls Wilder, or an evening news anchor like Dan Rather.
I never went on to pursue any of those dreams at that level. Not because I didn’t believe I could, but because when push came to shove, they weren’t what inspired me.
Instead, I embrace a simple life in northern Wisconsin with a man I love, some seasonal chickens and other household pets, and an amazing little boy named Jake. I have a career I love and hobbies that fuel my passion for life.
One of those hobbies is running. So often, folks ask me why do you run? A logical question that is tough for me to summarize. I talk a lot about how how I like doing something for myself – even if it means sucking at it.
I also think it is because when I look at some of the women I admire most in life, they are incredible athletes. They are the Lindsey Vonn, Jessie Diggins and Kara Gouchers of the world. They scream positivity and female empowerment. While I will never ski down a hill at 85+ miles per hour (I won’t even drive that fast) or win a gold medal for my gazelle-like abilities, I can feel like the biggest badass in the world during a half-marathon.
That’s a pretty amazing opportunity for this humble Wisconsin gal. And when I finally cross that finish line hours after the top finishers, it is still just as sweet.
Because the one thing I know is you cannot take the badass out of a stubborn Fin who just keeps showing up. Like I said—it's hard to summarize, and harder to explain to a 7-year old, but it's the heart of why I’m proud to wear a BAMR hat.