1.10.2013

How to Deal with Mommy Guilt

I posted a picture of Megan and I at the gym yesterday on Instagram taking a fuel break before our second hour of class.
We did Spin class and a Turbo Kick class.
This got some of you ladies in a discussion about Mommy Guilt.

Mommy Guilt- feeling guilty when leaving your child to go get a workout in.

Let me touch on a few things here.
I feel NO Mommy Guilt.
Why is that?
Well, there are a few reasons.
Mainly because I know that what I'm doing at the gym makes me a better mom.
It makes me a better wife.
And it makes me more pleasant to be around.
Also? I'm setting a good example for my kids. I'm teaching them that taking charge of your health and making it a priority is a necessity.
I'm teaching them healthy habits.
working some abs. top from Ruffles With Love
Now, I haven't always NOT had Mommy Guilt.
I remember after having Big T when I FIRST started to workout and tried to lose weight that I'd feel guilty about taking "me time".
So I improvised for a long time.
I'd work all day, pick up Big T from the sitter, go straight home and change into my workout gear.
Then I'd put him in his bouncy seat in front of my treadmill for 30 minutes while I ran all 200 lbs. of my ass doing the Couch to 5K.
And until he was mobile, that worked great.
Then I started putting him in his exersaucer and he could play while I ran. He was still right in front of me so I didn't feel like I was skipping out on time with him.
Then he grew some more (geez, slow down kid!) and I got a jogging stroller and started taking him with me on my runs as soon as I'd get off of work.
Keep in mind, I lost all my weight without a gym membership. So at this time I didn't have access to a gym or childcare, etc.
The Hubs often worked late and I knew I needed to get a workout in.
So with me Big T came.
He was my only child at that point, it was easy.

Then, I started to get serious about running and started upping my distances.
So I started leaving Big T at the sitter for 45 mins to an hour longer after I got off work so I could go run alone.
And while I felt guilty for the first few weeks, that faded.
Because what I got out of that 1 hour workout BY MYSELF was something I hadn't gotten in a long time... TIME TO MYSELF.
And it made me a better person. A better mom. A better wife.
I started to crave this "me time" and while, yes, I missed my baby, I was able to give him more attention and appreciate him more it seemed when I got in a good workout first.
I hope that makes sense.
For me, PERSONALLY, getting a good workout in, bettering myself and making ME a priority somehow makes me a better mom.
I don't know how. It just does.

The Mommy Guilt faded after a few weeks and running became my new release.
Every day after work my legs would bounce up and down in my car, anticipating my run I knew was only minutes away.
While I STILL have a love/hate relationship with running, it empowers me.
It makes me feel amazing. Capable. Like I can do anything.

And then I got pregnant again.

And I continued to run throughout my second pregnancy. The main reason I did it through pregnancy was because it helped me sleep better at night.
That and I had a crazy toddler that I needed to free my mind and soul for every day through running so I could deal with his shenannigans at night. ;)

When I had MJ I busted out the treadmill again.
I hate the treadmill.
I much prefer running outside, but while on maternity leave for 10 weeks, with no access to a gym or childcare, I did what I had to.
Again I'd put MJ in the bouncy seat while I ran on the treadmill.
The day came when I went back to work and I'd started craving my outdoor runs again.
And the first day I ran outside after going back to work I felt no guilt.
Because I'd been through it before. I KNEW the benefits I was gaining from bettering myself like I was doing.
And I had a half marathon to run, dammit.
So I trained during the week with shorter distances (nothing over 5 miles on a weekday) for 4 days a week with my long training run on Saturday morning. That I always had to schedule with The Hubs so he could watch the boys.

That Mommy Guilt I'd felt with Big T, I never felt with MJ.
Maybe it's second child syndrome (I'm a second child, I can say that).
Or maybe it was because I'd been there, done that.

Look, I know Mommy Guilt is hard.
Especially for all of us working moms who try to balance it all.
I work full time, get off work, get the kids, meet The Hubs at home and go to the gym for anywhere between 1-2 hours 4-5 nights a week.
Then I'll typically get in a workout of some sort one day on the weekend.
Usually a long run.
It was REALLY hard for me to get into a routine after I had MJ. I had TWO kids now, how the heck was I supposed to get a workout in, cook dinner, take care of the kids, AND work full time??
But you've just got to MAKE time for it.
If you want change, you have to make it happen.
You can sit and make all the excuses you want. But if you want something bad enough, you'll make time for it.

And making time for ourselves is important. Not only in our quest to look and FEEL better, but to teach our kids healthy habits.

Make YOU a priority.
You're not just a mom. Or a wife. Or a sister. Or an aunt.
You're a WOMAN.
And you deserve to look and feel the best you can!

57 comments:

Katrina said...

How did you like Turbo Kick? I'm actually a Turbo instructor and it's my FAVE workout ever! Hope you had fun! (And good for you for ditching the Mommy guilt and making yourself a priority!)

Shelli said...

Great Post. I think it's important to set a positive health role model for your kids. I don't want my daughter growing up and eating junk in front of the tv so she doesn't need to see me do it!

Alison Reinholt said...

I completely agree with you. I struggle with the guilt at first, but after I'm in the groove I'm ok. My kids are fantastic about my workout time. It's the hubs who doesn't appreciate it. I'm a much better wife when I workout and he's finally starting to see that. My me time still doesn't happen until after they are taken care of (8:30-10pm usually) but that's ok. My body craves that activity and time to wear down from the day.

Thanks for posting this one!

Marie Roberts said...

This is exactly what I needed to hear! I have a 2 year old and a four year old. I am in school during the week and i work 2 12 hour shifts on the weekends. So because I am away from them so much I always feel so bad for making time for myself. But it is so important and it does make your atittude so much better when you get a breather! Your such an inspiration and I appreciate your blog so much!!

EZsx5 said...

One thing you forgot to mention (I'm assuming this is the case for you) is that having a supportive and capable partner helps relieve mommy guilt.

A lot of husbands won't watch their kids so their wives can have "me" time. Like it's not their job to do so. It baffles my mind that dads think it's "babysitting" to watch their kids and that leaves the moms feeling awful about doing something for themselves.

My husband is my exact equal (sometimes more) in the parenting game and he knows that running and working out is something I need to do and I know that sometimes he needs to do his thing too. Fair is fair and having that person being supportive and capable helps a lot!

angeljessie54 said...

I go through bouts of mommy guilt. my son is 11 he is so used to me working out right after work in some form or fashion when I don't he always asks why I didn't go, all concerned. so that right there tells me he gets it. he gets what's going on. I do bail on workouts to go to school functions. or mommy son night. or when I just want to hug him on the couch watching disney. but I deal less with the guilt now that plagued me early on.

Amy {Write this Down} said...

Amen!

hfbarr said...

Well said! I don't have kids yet, so I can't imagine how hard it is to get all of that done. BUT I will say that i still find it hard to fit a workout in (without kids)! You are doing great, and I am happy that you got your gym membership. BTW, I would love to hear the story about how you got it? I know you said readers made it happen? How?

Anyways, I have been thinking about joining a gym (I workout at home)...but I am not sure yet. I have been eating healthier and I am getting back on track after the holidays.

Thanks for being you and being awesome! I know you are going to get great results from the gym!

KellyAnne Scott said...

THANK YOU.

I am so sick of all these women making excuses of how "if they have my life they could get the workouts in"....

If you want it bad enough you will make time. I'm just as busy as anyone else and I still do it. I love love love my ME time... It is so rare and the endorphin's make it that much better. I am itching to go to the gym today after taking yesterday off!

Megan said...

I'm so glad you addressed this issue! Very well put and you are so right, now I feel less guilty about NOT feeling guilty :)

tracy said...

I agree that we, as moms, have to make ourselves a priority. It is just as important to me that my kids know that they are a priority as well. I am a SAHM and I still get up an hour early so I can get my workout in without sacrificing kid time throughout the day. We all make desicions that we hope can not only better ourselves, but also better our children. How we go about that is different for all of us!

Shelly@Shelly No Belly said...

Amen sista!

Joelle L said...

Thank you for posting this!! I struggled with it for awhile too and while there are some days where I just HAVE to stay home instead of working out, I know that if I don't get that workout in...someone's gonna pay for it. A day or 2 off usually results in my husband pushing me out the door and telling me to go to the gym. If it weren't for him or my parents being so willing to watch my daughter...I don't know how I'd do it. I'm a daycare provider, so I don't have the option of leaving her there and going...but that's not an excuse...there's solutions and you can always make time!

Erin Busby said...

So glad you touched on this after the instagram comments! I also run after work/before picking up kids and know it makes me a nicer and better mommy. It's what works for me, and I very seldom have mommy guilt. I want to be the best, and healthiest, mom I am capable of being.
You are such an excellent role model!

Lindsay Williams said...

My schedule is very similar to yours... work ft M-F and head to the gym 3 nights a week plus Sat & Sun while hubby stays with the kids. For the most part I am over the guilt (about working out anyways) bc I feel better & therefore have more energy (and patience!) to be a better mom. Now, more than ever, the time I do get to enjoy with my children is quality time!

Erin Haggerty said...

What time do you work out? Who cooks dinner kids to bed, ect I am currently a sahm so I have the luxury where I take my children tI the YMCA were the older one goes to school and workout in the am. We have a sit down meal every night bath bedtime routine. I just realized when I begin working again I will be leaving at 630 and coming home at 6.. What will give? Do you not eat dinner with your family? Do you not put them to bed?

Mrs. Kirbyface said...

So True! Thank you for this post! I love your blog! I just found it and love your honest approach to being a Mother!

Nessa @ Isle Style Living said...

Wow.

Exactly what I needed today.

Thank you for posting this. It's almost like I NEEDED permission to not feel guilty!

My routine is similar to yours: work full time, get off work, pick up the baby, go home, start dinner, feed baby, clean, bathe baby and bedtime, eat dinner- then what? SLEEP!

I'm thinking that I'll have to start getting to work earlier so that I get off earlier and can fit in a run before picking up Little Man. I've been thinking about it for a long time, now. This post has given me that motivation to just do it!

Thanks again.

Fit and Frugal Mama said...

This is such a great post! I used to be full of mama guilt, I'm starting not to anymore but I still get it at least once a week. I needed this post to remind me I'm being a good mom by taking exercise time!

Devon said...

I am really glad you posted this!!! I am a new mom as my son is only about 3 1/2 months old. I relate to you a lot in the fact that you are just a better person when you look and feel better - a better wife, better mom, better all around. I am just getting into a groove working out after work and the guilt is finally going away. I do pick up my son right away when I am done with work, but I then put him in his swing and run on the treadmill for an hour. At first I felt so guilty that he was just sitting there after being away from me all day, but now I know that he is fine and I am starting to feel much better about myself. I am not nearly where I want to be with my weight (gained 40 pounds and have only lost about 25 but want to lose at least 10 more than my pre-preg weight) but I am starting to see results and make this work. Thanks for being my motivation and someone else who just gets it! :)

Liz H said...

Sometimes I swear were the same woman lol. I wrestled with leaving my ten month old at the gym sitter. Then I did my spinning class and got out BBC to get her. She happily crawled to me and I realized I just did the best thing for her and me :)

Carrie Dalton said...

Thank you for sharing this. I have an overwhelming case of mom guilt. I always have and though it's gotten better, I am sure I always will. For 5 years, or almost 6 even I was up at 4:30, out the door by 4:45 and on the tredmill for a run by 5 am. I got severly burned out on that. My son is in first grade now and I have decided that I need the ME time, but I don't want to sacrifice a lot of the US time. So, I took advantage of the fact that I work until 3 and my son doesn't get out of school until 3:30. 3 days a week he goes to after school care and I workout for an hour or so, plus the weekends. It's made my life much better and I don't fret so much about it. So, I was really glad for your post. It just adds to the fact that I am ok in what I am doing :) Thank you :)

Stefunny said...

THANK YOU!

I'm almost crying after reading that but it's only because that's just what I needed to hear.

KK Couser said...

I agree! I have 2 girls under 2 and my me time is bootcamp from 5:30-6:30 am then a hour alone right after to shower and watch tv with hot coffee! Then everyone wakes up and my 15 hour day continues.

Lisa Hewlett said...

The best way for me to avoid not only guilt but losing time with my family and still making myself a priority is just to get up earlier and do it before my son wakes up. I also work M-F and I just can't stand not getting those precious few hours at night with him. So I just do it early or after he goes to bed.

Jessica B said...

Great post... wish I had been able to prioritize sooner. After 4 kids - I definitely needed to squeeze some me time in there - didn't do that til my youngest was in first grade - last year! I had a lot of trouble with my kids and husband when I started making room for myself - they were just so used to having me there whenever they wanted/needed me. Since I started working out, walking & taking some mini solo vacations, I feel SO MUCH better, mentally, physically. Huge changes that should have happened sooner. Love it.

Rachel @lifeasMrs said...

thanks for this! It was kinda inspiring! :) New follower here btw! And I can't wait to read more. I'm prego with my first and already nervous and excited to get rid of baby weight when it's time.

Cynthia Flores-Armstrong said...

I feel you on this girl. I have been excercising for 3 years and the first year was the worst. I still get mommy guilt here and there but for the most part I love me time.=)

Crissy Smothers said...

Very glad you posted this after seeing all of the comments about "mommy guilt" on your Instagram feed! I am currently preggo with my first baby and have already begun thinking of how to balance it all once baby arrives and I go back to work full-time. Thank you for the great motivation for reminding us all that, no matter how busy we are (I'm not sure many people can say they're much busier than you!), we must MAKE the time for our health and fitness!

Thank you :)

Taylor LeMay said...

Thank you for being so honest about your mommy guilt - I totally agree with you - I work full time, go to school and then try to fit in a work out - ugh - but I feel no guilt because I am working to make her have a better life and she will understand one day - what I cant stand is the mom's who get all judgy wudgy about daycare/working and such - I am a better mom and a better wife being a working mom. I think it takes guts to admit that to ourselves :)

lifeand3boys said...

I think all mothers experience Mommy Guilt at one point in time. But like you said, for my kids to be happy, Mommy has to be happy. And mommy aint too happy looking like a hippo. ;)

Thankfully my gym has a great Kids Zone and they love going with me to the gym, mainly because they get a lollipop from the teacher when its time to leave. So I dont feel too bad for spending that hour on me.

Samantha said...

Very well said!!

Loving my Complicated Life! said...

This post is great! While I am not a mom, I find that many of my mom friends have a tendency to struggle with this very thing. It is difficult for me to relate or show empathy because I do not have children, but I want so badly for them to take care of themselves and to take time for themselves. It is very important. I will definitely be sending them to your blog to read this.

And, as always thank you for the motivation. Though I had stopped blogging for a LONG while, I never stopped following you! You rock!

Allison

JennyT said...

Great post! Everyone needs "me" time. I choose to do mine at night after my kids are asleep. I usually go between 10-10:30. I am a night owl :) My hubby totally supports me! You have to have support. If I choose to go earlier in the evening, I take my girls with me. They are 13 and 10. I want them to learn healthy habits. Actually, my 10 year old gets mad at me for going late, because she wants to go with me. I just want to throw in that I am a former fatty... reading your blog has totally inspired me to set goals and reach them! I am MILF in training :)

Amanda Morris said...

You are so inspiring!!!! I don't even have kids but now all I want to do is go to the gym or heck even run!!!!! Thank you!!!
Amanda

Elle Noel said...

Pfff no one should ever ever feel guilty about making themselves a priority! Rock on girl! Those spin classes look like so much fun!

Anna said...

I think people forget there are 2 parents in the picture! I think it's totally ok for dads to stay home and have bonding time with their children whie moms hot the gym!

BrandiH said...

I absolutely love this post! It's hard making time some times, but it's worth the extra effort every time!

Lauren said...

I have started working out at about 8pm-9pm after my two boys are in bed. I feel so much beter now during the day and also feel a lot better about myself. Making time to exercise is so importnat, and now is very much a part of my evening routine.

SH said...

I'm not a mother, but when I was younger, my single mom made time nearly every day to work out. Like you said in this post, it set a very good example for my siblings and I. To this day, I admire my mother's strength and diligence. Your kids will say the same about you!
thehartungs.blogspot.ca

Suze said...

Thank you for this! As a new mom, I want to make changes in my life to be healthier for my baby. But it's so easy to let the guilt be my excuse! Thanks for your inspiring insights.

TwynMawrMom said...

I TOTALLY AGREE! My only problem is, motivation in the winter. I seriously pick it back up when the weather hits 60 degrees. How to stay consistent??? I even have a treadmill in this house and a gym membership : NO EXCUSE!!

mommytothree said...

Right on sista!

Maxine said...

I'm saving this post for when I become a mom someday! Although it's not any time soon, I have a feeling it'll help and motivate me to get back in the gym. Thanks!

Amanda Schuller said...

Wonderful post. I totally agree with you on it all. I always miss my little man when I am away but sometimes you just need your me time to recharge.

Megan @ Grimm Tales said...

Ain't that the truth. If if means a lot to you, you'll make it work. If not, you'll find an excuse.

LB @ Walking in Memphis in High Heels said...

Yall look great and I have the same Bic Band.
www.walkinginmemphisinhighheels.com

Reese said...

How true! I have to keep reminding myself that there is a reason I'm doing this. I want to stick around to annoy my daughter for as long as possible, and the only way to do that is to treat your body right! Great post. It's reassuring to know that this is a common emotion that comes with being a mother :)

mommydearest76 said...

I really needed this post Mama...New Year's Goals started off great and have been slacking the past few days, due to excuses and mommy guilt! But I've heard it before, if it's important- find a way!
Thanks Mama!!!
jen ;-)

Kay said...

I'm not a mom or even married, so maybe I shouldn't even be commenting on this, but I 100% agree with you, Mama! I worked at a daycare for years and I saw it all the time.. When the parents weren't happy or when the parents with constantly stressed, it directly affected the kids in a negative way. Whatever it takes to make sure you're happy will make your kids happy. And you're right, years later they will look back on this and see the example you set. Lead by example. Perfect.

Jaclyn N Lil M said...

Great post!! It is so true, at first you feel such bad guilt, but then once you modify your schedule, you can find what works best for you!! I'm going to try working out early now!! instead of after work... i think i might be able to get more than 30 minute run in :)

scrapforsanity said...

YES! I have 4 boys. You HAVE to make time for yourself, and make yourself a priority or no one will! Sometimes, other things wait. Your health WON'T!

Shelly@Shelly No Belly said...

Just wanted to let you know, I featured you on my blog today :) http://shellynobelly.blogspot.com/

Kim said...

I have a busy schedule and a husband with crazy working hours. I always thought I didn't have the time to work out. I realized that with my family history of health issues, I will either miss out on a few hours now, or I won't be around to watch them grow up if I don't get my weight under control. I just have to make the time I do spend with them the best quality time I can.

Jamie Casteel said...

I love you even more for this post. I was just thinking about this yesterday. Every day I leave work, pick the kid up from the daycare and I ask him "home or gym?" he generally says gym. He loves the toys there and the workers play with him hardcore. I always ask because I feel like I could be spending that 45 minutes with him. I thought of all of the reasons you posted here. I need that time. I cannot get through each day without a little bit of "off" time. Working with kids all day is draining, and a 2 year old is like a vaccuum. Moms and women in general need that time to themselves! Well said, mama!

FamilyFitnessandFoodery said...

Love this post woman! You put it perfectly. We're not doing this solely for our benifit. It ends up being good for the whole family.

Kristin said...

All I can say is THANK YOU for this post. Just had my second baby and I am in the middle of figuring out the exact same plan. Used to be a Division 1 athlete and I want to start feeling strong and healthy again. It is hard, but I just HAVE to do it.

THANKS! Kristin
www.kristinseymour.blogspot.com