I recently read an article in the NY Times about the growth of marathons. The premise of the article was that the experienced, faster runners dislike the slow “plodders” who have provided a huge growth to the sport. They feel that anyone finishing a marathon in six-plus hours isn’t actually “running” a marathon, but instead, they are merely finishing it.
As a proud plodder (though, I will finish my first marathon next month in well under six hours), I took particular offense to this article. Who the hell are these people to judge whether or not I should participate in “their race?” I train just as hard. I’m out running my 20-mile training runs. I’ve experienced the pain. And, damnit I’m going to finish the effing race – regardless of my time. It’s not like I’m going to win the damn thing. What’s it to you how fast or slow I run it.
Then I though of parenting. And, maybe, particularly parenting in Marin.
It seems that being a parent is much like running a marathon. It’s painful. It’s filled with achievement. But, parenting, like marathons require training. We need to learn how to find our strides. With each run we discover how to overcome the tight muscles. With each meltdown, we discover how best to handle our kids.
But, what really annoys me about the parenting thing may very well be what annoys me most about the marathon story in the NYT. There are those who think we’re doing it wrong. Parenting is filled with as much judgment as it seems marathon running/training is. There are different kinds of parenting styles – just like there are different kinds of running styles. And, just like with the running thing – a person who runs six or seven (even eight or nine) minute miles isn’t going to like running with me. Parents who consistently put their kids in time-out may not like my parenting styles. But, is one better than the other? Who knows? What I do know, though, is that I do what works for me. And…I have no problem with others doing what’s right for them.
Hold the judgment.