Dear Marathon Mom,
My husband and I are both runners, which has always been a source of bonding for us. While pregnant with our son last year, we talked eagerly about taking him running with us in the jogging stroller and what a great family activity running would be. Almost a year later, however, my husband does most of his runs solo, while I do 99% of my runs with our son in the jogging stroller. Don’t get me wrong, I love running with our son, but I also get jealous that my husband gets several runs a week all to himself. I would love an hour – even once or twice a week – where I could just run alone and let my mind wander, feeling like my old self for that little bit of time. How can I get my husband to take the jogging stroller more often, without making him defensive by pointing out how he rarely-bordering-on-never offers to do it on his own?
Anyone who is, or has been, the better part of a marriage (we’re all the better half, right? Sure! Just ask us.) can relate to what you’re feeling. All relationships include circumstances where one or both partners feel they are giving more than receiving and some jealousy – or even resentment, after awhile – begins building. Now, acknowledging, that I am a wife, a mother, and a runner – but not a psychologist or marriage counselor – I’ll leave my empathy there and merely address your request for ideas on how to gently urge your husband to ‘volunteer’ to jog with the baby so you can have a solo run here and there. There are a few different approaches you could take:
Passive-Aggressive – You could mention that the stroller seems to ‘veer to the right’ while running, or has an abnormally squeaky wheel, that he should check out by taking Junior for a ride. Although this approach is often tempting, it’s the worst choice. It’s sarcastic and most likely to lead to hurt feelings and/or feelings of defensiveness.
Direct Honesty – Have you simply sat down with your husband and told him that you’re feeling some jealousy over his frequent solo runs? I know it sounds like an obvious answer, but sometimes in marriage we forget that being honest and direct can work without hurting feelings. We also tend to forget that our partners can’t read our minds (damn them!). Odds are, letting him know that you’re in need for some ‘me’ time, and would prefer that time to be when you’re running, will not seem like an unfair or wild request to him.
Re-Define ‘Family Run’ – This could also be called ‘revisit what family run meant to you both a year ago.’ You could bring up how exciting it was a year ago, when you were still expecting your son, and you two dreamed of your future family runs. Share that you envisioned you two taking turns running with the stroller, and you’d really like to try that more often. Perhaps he doesn’t even realize he’s not helping in the way you’d like, or he may even think you prefer to be the one pushing.
Whichever approach you chose to take with your husband, I encourage honesty (it rarely leads us astray) and wish you the best. Here’s to hoping you get that much-needed solo run time soon!