It feels like a resounding topic these days. I feel like a FAILURE as a mother sometimes. Well, most days actually. I’ve been working so hard on helping Ayden (my 12 year old) trying to learn/teach him the importance of self-care, exercise and making better food choices. He’s had a rough couple years with bullying/self image and it is HARD as a parent to watch your kid struggle. If you were ever a bullied kid-then you know the struggle is REAL and it’s hard sometimes to push through.
So, Friday night, Ayden REALLY wanted a klondike bar while we were at my moms. We made an agreement that he could have one if he got up in the morning and ran a mile with me. (Trying to teach him that food in moderation is okay, but when you make unhealthy choices, you need to “burn” some of it off somehow)…anyways…he enjoyed his chocolaty-icecream filled goodness…and was PISSED when I told him it was time to run the next day. Sorry bucko, but it must be done. You promised.
So, we start off on our venture (not the normal 1 mile loop because I was actually going to try and go 1.25 miles with him so we could chat a little bit)…and he’s struggling. Which is to be expected, and at .1 mile and he wants to walk. I’m trying to encourage him and give him small goals along the way (i.e..let’s run to that mailbox then we can walk to the next mailbox then run to that tree…) At .4 miles in he’s like “but it hurts!!!” and I’m thinking, what in the world could possibly hurt? And how in the heck did it get to the point where this 12 year old boy can’t even run down the street without crying??
So, I asked him to take a self-assessment. I often do this when I’m running since I can easily talk myself into walking when I don’t necessarily need to…(simply think about every body part and ask yourself, “does it really hurt, or am I feeling tired/uncomfortable?” His response with little to no actual thought at all was “IT HURTS”…so I tried to get him to dig a little deeper… “what hurts? Is it really pain, or is it discomfort? I mean, we are asking your body to try something new…”to which only made him more resistant and started the whole “running is stupid. This is all stupid.” Of course we all know how we can quickly say how stupid something is when we can’t do it because failure is scary.
To which the whole run went to hell in a hand basket and ended with him in tears and me wanting to rip my hair out. (I tried all that positive self talk, believing in yourself, etc…) Then I ran the same loop that I had just run with him by myself and because he had just told me what a failure of a mom I was (trust me, I was feeling that way) I ran. I ran hard. So hard it hurt to breathe and my side twitched and my heart was POUNDING.
AND I WAS UNCOMFORTABLE.
It struck me.
I’ve never taught my kids about being uncomfortable. Usually it’s like, “oh, it doesn’t feel good? Then stop.” or “just do what you can do…” How do I ever expect them to become anything more or anything greater because I’ve never given them the okay to be comfortable being uncomfortable.
The runs that I feel the best after are the runs where I am pushing for more…whether it’s miles or faster or whatever…I’m pushing myself to see just how much I can get out of myself. I’m setting goals and NOT settling for less…if anything, I want to push for MORE. It’s learning how to be comfortable when your body aches and your lungs might explode and you aren’t sure how you can possibly keep going and you tell yourself…”10 more seconds. I can do anything for 10 seconds…” and you repeat that mantra over and over until the end is in sight.
And somehow…you start to become comfortable with being uncomfortable… causing you to push farther, faster, harder…making you better, stronger a freaking BELIEVER in yourself that you can do anything if you put your mind to it.
My kids, I’m afraid, have none of this. They all have the “I’m going to do it until it’s hard, or someone is better than me, and then I’ll just quit and move onto something new.” So how in the heck do we remedy this?? How do we help our kids realize that being uncomfortable is necessary in life sometimes??
I’m formulating some plans, but would love to hear your ideas as well.