The book reports are in for our first-ever Mama Sweat Blog Book Club!
Did you read "Run Like a Mother" by Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea? Make sure to include your thoughts in the comments.
What I love most about “Run Like a Mother” is that it shines a light on moms in pursuit of fitness for the duration of motherhood. If I see one more “how to get your body back after baby” book I might start going topless in order to expose both my return-to-solid core and my twin skin that, in addition to being completely numb from overly stretched nerve fibers, hangs decoratively over the top button of my pants, or as Dimity describes in RLM, “abs, which oozed over my jeans like a melting ice cream cone.” Was there ever a better metaphor?
Dear readers, if you don’t know this already, despite what many other book titles say: Women don’t get their body back after baby. It will be different; the body evolves. Again, to borrow from that clever Dimity again, I loved the line in the book when she discovers that “Dimity Version 2.0--with new mothering skills and responsibilities!--had been installed...” But why in my right mind would I ever want to go back? I want to move forward, progress. Do I have the twin skin? Sure. But I can also say this: I am physically stronger than I ever was before having children. Now, I want to work on getting faster. (Apparently women are supposed to be faster after bearing children due to the increased blood volume during pregnancy and I was sort of hoping for miraculous post-motherhood personal records but those haven’t come to pass because evidently you still need to train.)
The importance of fitness for mothers isn’t limited to pregnancy or the first year of our baby’s life. It’s about finding something to call our own, honoring our body, and giving ourselves permission to be a priority. We need more books for mothers that help us do this (more on that later). So Bravo, “Run Like a Mother,” for giving voice to moms who want to pursue our fitness passion and don’t give a rat’s ass about fitness schemes and celebrity trainers (who, like Jillian Michaels, have no intention of getting pregnant and installing Version 2.0).
That’s just my humble opinion. I had dog-eared all the places in the book that I wanted to share with you, but there are 35 bent corners. If I included them all, I’d face some serious copyright violations. So I’ll pass the torch. Here’s what book winners Stephanie and Brooke had to say.
First up, Brooke, a running mother-to-be:
I thought the book was great. I think seasoned runners and new/non-runners can get a lot of good advice from it on juggling schedules and how to prepare for races. My favorite chapter was #18 - Pregnancy: Baby on Board, because it’s the one I most closely relate to right now. I am 4 months pregnant and just kept shaking my head 'yes' when I read that chapter. My favorite quote was: "I anticipated continuing to run right up until the day I delivered. I really wanted to be one of those moms who can say 'I ran 4 miles the day I went into labor' but then at 8 months, something fundamentally shifted..." I totally get that! Thats how I feel and it’s encouraging to see in print that someone else has the same thoughts as me on this crazy journey. I also loved the quotes from other moms. They were real, fun to read and broke up the reading into little sections, which is always nice.
And now, let’s hear from Stephanie, a running mama who is tandem nursing her toddler AND infant (I hearby honor her with this week’s Mama Sweat Dedicated Mama Award):
It was hard to put down. This morning when I ran I kept thinking of Dimity and Sarah, and their running experiences. I could probably have skipped the chapters on clothing and music, though I bet some people love that. The pregnancy/postpartum section is good. I have the Runners World pregnancy book, and I’m not sure it tells you too much more than that. I also like the chapter on exercise addiction and body image. I like that it encourages me to be dedicated by reminding me why I love running.
I do wish the book focused a bit more on how having children can add to the experience of being a runner. I personally like hitting the trails with my bad a. double stroller. I like the smiles and cheers I get when I pass other runners with my little ones in tow this way, and I like the way the presence of children is an open door for friendly exchanges with otherwise strangers. I like taking them for a walk or jog with snacks packed and stopping at the "waterfall" to let my toddler play in the water while I nurse my infant. I wish the book focused more on moments like these, because I have found my tots can be terrific exercise buddies, and I would love to hear creative ways that other mommies bring their children along for outdoor activities or races. (I would love to hear creative bribes to keep a two year old in a stroller for half an hour too:)
My take on it as of now: It’s fun, encouraging, motivational, helpful. The personalities of the authors come through strikingly. They are open and candid. I do think any running mom would appreciate this book and probably read it cover to cover. I am recommending it to my mommy running buddies.
As for me, as I mentioned above, what I am most pleased about is that “Run Like a Mother” has created space on the book store shelf for what I believe is a more substantive message for fit moms. I am particularly excited about that because soon I will have a book to add to this new fit mom genre, a book I have co-written called: “Hot (Sweaty) Mamas: Five Secrets to Life as a Fit Mom.” I have to thank Dimity and Sarah for starting the momentum. So until “Hot (Sweaty) Mamas” gets published, let me know if you have other suggestions for our Mama Sweat Blog Book Club!