There are so many reasons why people run. I could spend all day just looking them up and determining that each one is valid. I also run for many reasons. I've been a runner my whole life and I absolutely love it. I run several times a week. It brings me peace of mind and always gives my mood such a huge boost. Basically, running is my sanity.
This morning I was running in the park by the beach and there's a big celebratory weekend to promote awareness of the area and it's preservation. Not really recalling that it was this weekend I went there instead of my other running location, a trail in the woods. About 3 miles or so into my run some rude girl who was obviously a casual rider made some rather derogatory comments to her friends about my face and running in general. This really set me off. I mean, just the sheer rudeness of it. If you are going say nasty things about people, at least say it out of earshot, you know? It also did not escape my notice that I was a third of her size. I have also become acutely aware of all the glares I get from heavier moms of special needs kiddos when I pick up or drop off my son to camp.
After venting about the girl today on my personal FaceBook page a friend made the comment that women in general are just nasty to each other. She recalled a friend who ended their friendship after she lost a lot of baby weight years after the birth of her daughter. It was only then that my friend realized that she was smaller than this ex-friend. She made a great point in that some people equate trying to be healthy with selfish parenting.
While I realize I am lean and in excellent shape, I fail to see how this equates to selfish parenting. When did having a child who needs extra care give the excuse to let ourselves go? How does it give us permission to sit on the couch and eat poorly day in and day out? How does this make it acceptable or somehow forgivable to stop caring for ourselves? As far as I'm concerned, there is nothing selfish about what I do. It has nothing to do with looking good or wearing a bikini and everything to do with my health.
I figure, if I have a child with special needs, I better plan to be around for a very, very long time! I mean, jeez oh Pete! Have you seen the current system for disabled adults? My health cannot be an added stressor to my day nor can I allow it to be a looming threat. The only way I can ensure that, is by running and being healthy. I often joke that I'm not training to be skinny, I'm training to be a fit bad-ass. Well, it's true!
As an added bonus, since my son is very aware, he can see that his mother exercises and eats well and spends her time with people who support that. In turn that sets a good example for him and he is more likely to follow that lead. He also knows that his mother cares enough to be around for him for a very long time. How is that selfish or bad?
My son being able to tell someone, "My mom runs because she loves me," is the best thing I could ask for.
So I guess in a way, I am a selfish parent. I'm selfish enough to look out for my well-being for the sake of my son. If I don't take care of me, how can I take care of him?
*Editor's note: I am not intending to bash anyone for their lifestyle. To each their own. I do not take issue with what people choose to do, only with how they treat me for my choices. There is a double standard that exists and is total bullshit. While I know many suffer health issues, none are capable of preventing even basic healthy living. Research proves this. I've alleviated many health related issues that could have left me couch bound.*