Mom Marathon

exhausted-runnerI am a mom.

I am tired.

Anyone who’s had kids knows those two sentences often go hand in hand.

I guess I’ve earned the right to be weary.  I’ve been at this mothering thing for nearly 22 years now.  And with a newly-minted teenager under our roof, it appears I’ll be at it for a few more.

Sometimes it feels like I’m running a marathon.

In fact, if I add up the time from when our first child entered the world to when our youngest child will exit high school, the span is a little over 26 years.  A marathon = 26.2 miles.  Hmmm.  That must mean I’m in Mile 22 of the Mom Marathon.

No wonder I’m tired.

Believe it or not, I actually completed a couple of 10ks back in the day.  (Never mind the fact that I passed out after one of them.)  But I’ve never run a marathon.  Nor do I wish to.  I can only imagine the challenges of a race that long.

“The marathon is half over at 20 miles.” quipped distance runner Frank Shorter.  Apparently around miles 20 to 21 there comes a point where runners have used up their glycogen stores, and the race becomes even more difficult.  Exhausted runners are literally “running on empty,” and have hit the proverbial “Wall.”  It’s a phenomenon also known as “The Marathon Bonk.”

Could there also be a “Motherhood Bonk?”

It sure might help explain some things.

Like how my reserves seem to be depleted.  How my reactions aren’t always stellar.  How I sometimes wonder if I’ll make it through one more round of teenage drama.

(So while I may be going “bonkers,” it’s a relief to consider that it might even be “normal” and expected at this stage in the race!)

How do marathoners beat the bonk?  I turned to the Internet in search of some tips that might help me conquer my maternal marathon mountain.  The collective wisdom they had to offer could be summarized in just two words:

Don’t.  Quit.

Really?  Is that the best you’ve got?  Cause I was kind of hoping for a little bit more.

One marathoner put it this way:  “What do you do?  Keep going!  Your body will make the transition and you will push through “the wall” to the finish line.”*

Maybe those marathon veterans are wiser than one might think.  It sounds an awful lot like something the apostle Paul once said:

“No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing:  Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” (Philippians 3:13-14, NLT)

Life is hard.  So is parenting.

We’re all going to hit those inevitable “walls,” those times when we’re running on empty.  When we don’t know how we can possibly take another step.

Press on.  Push through.

God will give us the strength to put one front in front of the other.  And then do it again.  And again.  And again.

Because that’s how it’s done.

Along the way, He will refresh and refuel us.  He’ll supply everything we need to finish the race.  And finish well.

And so we keep on running…


(In church yesterday we sang the Hillsong United song “Running.”  It was timely encouragement!  Perhaps it will encourage you too!  Check it out here: )


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