Menifee Mom: A New Face, a Familiar Family Challenge

Editor's note: Today we welcome our new Menifee Mom, Karen Thomas. She has lived in Menifee for eight years. She is a stay at home mom of four daughters, has been on the PTA board at her kids' school for four years, and is a volunteer at her church, in addition to her activities as a volunteer soccer referee, a piano teacher, and a runner. Her column will appear here every Thursday. Comments are welcome.

By Karen Thomas

Last weekend, I read an article reminding me of the importance of giving your kids your undivided attention when they are talking to you. Being a busy mom of four active girls, this can, well, be quite difficult, to say the least. So it struck quite a chord with me and I resolved to do better.

This past year, I have become a "runner." I guess I'm allowed to call myself that because I've now competed in two half marathons, a 5K and a 10K, and I am even part of an unofficial running group here in Menifee. As other runners know, the enjoyment of running often comes from the fact that it allows us to "clear our heads" and "de-stress."

So there I am, headed out on my last "speed-work" run before the Fontana Days Half Marathon, held last weekend, when my husband suggests I bring one of the kids along. I give him "the look." He sees it and says, "Oh come on, it will be great," and then announces, "Kids, who wants to go with mom?" Two kids jump up and say, "I do!" Of course...

Soon I am headed down the road, iPhone armband in place and headphones in ears, when one of them starts to talk. (Remember, I am supposed to listen.) So an earbud comes out and I hear, "Can we watch a movie tonight?"

"No, Dad and I decided we want to stay home from our date and have family game night tonight instead," I reply in short bursts between breaths, thinking they'll be excited to spend an exciting evening with Mom and Dad playing "Uno Attack."

"What? That's not fair!" A whiney, complaining argument is starting to brew. Here I am trying to run for speed and focus on my breathing, my form, and my pace, and she wants to argue about a movie? Not happening!

"Do not ... argue ... with me ... right now ... I am trying to run!" comes the broken response.

For the next mile, the kids take their position behind me, earbuds return, and I enjoy a quiet run ... with the guilt building that I didn't take the time to listen to my kid. So much for clearing my head. We come to some dirt trails on the side of the road and I hear, "Can we go that way?"

"No!" I shout, and I keep going. Strike two.

Soon, the mom guilt takes over and I feel bad. Really, these kids just want to have fun. Besides, I saw some great rollercoaster hills on that dirt trail .... so I relent.

"Hey girls, do you want to go back and take those trails?" Cheers follow.

We then proceed to have a great time sharing a moment together. That awesome afternoon breeze we Menifeeans love is in full force and we are headed straight into it. But the joy of running up and down the hills and seeing my kids' excitement is worth it.

So maybe I didn't follow the article's advice very well, and maybe I didn't get to "clear my head" in the way I expected, but in the end, I "heard" what my kids really wanted AND enjoyed a good run. In my book, that spells success.

Oh, and date night was fun too!


  1. Interesting column, reminding us all to be better listeners no matter who is talking! Yea for game night!

  2. Karen I think you are amazing. I love your admiration and diligence. You are an example to many women out their, including me. Thank you for your example. Crystal R.