Marathons, Finish Lines, and March “Mommy Madness”

We at Mom To Mom have recently crossed a Finish Line. On February 27, all the materials for the third year of Mom To Mom curriculum, Inside Out Parenting: A Mom’s Mission “went to press.” A day worth celebrating! A finish line it feels good to cross. But one that could not have been reached without teamwork on the part of a lot of people both at LifeWay and in Mom to Mom.

Actually my own personal finish line was November 16, 2007, the day we completed the last taping for Inside Out Parenting, as I recorded the 4-minute devotionals that go in the back of each Member Book. It felt like I had finished a marathon. In early November we had taped all 16 teaching sessions of IOP in five days in Wisconsin. In early October we had filmed, three very hot days in Nashville, all the Intros and Outros that go with these 16 sessions. In the months prior, I had been writing and rewriting what has become my new personal-favorite curriculum. And in the two previous years I had done Heart Talk (2005) and Growing Together (2006). Yep! Both November 16 (for me) and February 27 (for my LifeWay editor, producer, and team) felt like crossing finish lines for a marathon. Finish lines we could not have crossed without a lot of people cheering—and praying—us on.

I’ve never actually run a marathon, but my kids have. Last fall, Bjorn and Abby ran in the Marine Marathon in Washington, D.C.—and the next day Erika ran in the Dublin Marathon. All three crossed the finish line—and lived to tell about it! Unfortunately, Woody and I could not be both places, so we did not get to see Erika cross that line. But we did get to see Bjorn and Abby, and we had the fun of hanging out with Soren while his mommy and daddy ran the race.

I’ve got to tell you how amazed I was at both of them—but especially Abby, who was still a nursing mom with a baby only 10 months old. Incredible, if you ask me! And when she finished, she looked as if she could run another few miles. Bjorn, on the other hand, looked as if he might not live long. Exhausted, “spent,” a little sick, he told us he wasn’t sure if he would ever have made it if he had not had people running alongside urging him on. Not only did Abby run the whole race with him, his brother Lars, who had run the Marine Marathon the year before, came and ran the last five miles with Bjorn and Abby, just to encourage them across the finish line.

Here’s what Bjorn told us when he finally could speak: “I don’t think I would ever have finished the last 5 miles if it hadn’t been for Abby and Lars encouraging me on. They kept reminding me—when I wanted to quit—that it would soon be over and I would be so glad I hadn’t given up, that I would feel better in a short while, that I had worked too hard and trained too long to give up now.”

These last words are why I’m writing about this today. Because being a mom is definitely a marathon. Especially in March. March seems to be “Mommy Madness” Month. Nothing official. Just my observation. And my mom-memory!

I was reminded of this yesterday when a young mom in one of our local groups told me how she was barely surviving March. “It seems as if winter will never end. That it will never stop snowing. That we will never be able to get these kids outside to burn off some of this energy. That my kids will never grow up. Never be toilet trained. Never stop fighting.”

Sound familiar? Wherever you are in your mothering, I bet you can identify (even if it doesn’t snow where you live—at least not in March)! And that, my dear mom-friends, is why we need each other. We need to run alongside. We need to encourage each other to hang in there. We need to share our survival stories. A winter that really did end—finally. A baby who actually slept through a whole night. A toddler who was truly toilet trained before Kindergarten. A teenager who actually became fun to have around—at least most of the time.

I hope you do that in Mom to Mom. Or if you’re not in a Mom To Mom group, find some other moms who can run alongside you—and you with them—not only in March, but throughout the year. Better yet, start a Mom To Mom in your church or community if you don’t have one.

And BTW, I’d love to hear from some of you. I’d love to get more feedback from this blog. I know you are super-busy, being a mom. But sometime, drop me a line. Tell me a story of someone who ran alongside you. Or some therapy which you have discovered for March Mommy Madness. Or of a topic you’d like to hear about here. And meanwhile, watch for the release of Inside Out Parenting from LifeWay on May 1. You’ll already find it on the LifeWay website. I’m sooo excited about this curriculum. But more about that in a future blog. For now, hang in there, girls—March is almost over!