Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Mommy Workout Guilt

I've thought a lot about whether or not I would even write this post.  I'm finding it very difficult to sort of "put myself out there" with this one.  Why?

Guilt.

And not just any guilt, but the most devastating kind.

Mommy guilt.



(By the way, is there such a thing as Daddy guilt?  Most of the daddies I know seem to walk around pretty much guilt-free all the time.)

Today I got home a little bit early, and instead of heading straight to pick up the boys I decided to get a workout in instead.  On the way home I had made this decision, not without a lot of going back and forth in my head.  It went something like this:

TrimommyKelly:    Oh, look.  I'm going to be home 2 hours early.  I can get my trainer ride done before I pick up the boys and not have to ride tonight when I know I will be dead tired. 
Mommy Guilt:  I can't believe that you would even think about not going to pick up the boys right away.  What kind of a mother are you? 
TrimommyKelly:  Well, I will still be picking them up earlier than I normally do if I go get them as soon as my ride is done. 
Mommy Guilt:  So someone else is going to take care of your children while you ride your bike. 
TrimommyKelly:  It would just be really nice to get it out of the way and be done.  I know I would have a better workout and probably be in a better mood to hang out with the family this evening. 
Mommy Guilt:  Okay.  Well, you are going to do what you want to do anyway, so I don't even know why I bother.
I'm really not sure if TrimommyKelly or Mommy Guilt won that battle, but I did end up doing the ride and then picking up the boys.  And, yes, I felt guilty about it.

Now, I realize this is a bit of a tricky topic.  I'm sure all mothers feel strongly one way or the other about topics like this.  I know a lot of mothers who will probably think I made a bad decision.  I know a lot of other mothers (many who read this blog) who would fully support and justify my decision to work out before I picked up my kids.  I'm not really asking people to pass judgement on me (although you can if you want because I get that I'm the one putting this out here), but what I am asking is, as moms why we feel like this?

My husband goes to the gym after work almost every day, and I'm pretty sure he doesn't feel guilty about it, and  I don't think he should!  So why do I get all guilted up (by my own self, I might add - no one else is making me feel this way) when I do the same thing?  Is it that I feel like I am putting my training before my kids?  Is that a justified concern?

I don't think I will ever really know the answer to these questions, but I am very interested in hearing your thoughts on this topic.  I would be especially interested in hearing from dads on this topic.  I think it is a very pertinent discussion point for all of us parents out there who are trying to balance a healthy family life with training and work.  How can we do it all and do it all well and feel good about that?

22 comments :

  1. I go through the whole spectrum of this daily. Not always so much with training, but BIG TIME with racing, and believe it or not, school. At least training/racing puts me in a good mood...school just makes me a cranky, grumbling, big ol' mean mommy :(

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  2. I think Mommy Guilt exists no matter what. My Mom feels "guilty" for example, with my allergies-thinking it's something she did when she "made me". I think it's part of being a Mom-being torn and pulled in many directions. Maybe less guilt when life was more simple??

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  3. Yes, that's a complicated issue. I know the MOPs group at our old church is doing a Bible study on mommy guilt, but I'm too busy to go!! I'd love to learn more about it & read other's opinions as well. I make decisions, but not guilt-free decisions.

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  4. Wasn't it just a few weeks ago when you were posting about a week when you had to do less training because your son needed you? I think you've got great balance in your life. You took advantage of an unexpected block of free time to do something that you would have done later anyway. Your kids were being cared for and still got time with you. Now, if you had locked them in the basement while you went to the gym, well, then we could talk about guilt... :)

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  5. This is something I struggle with daily. I probably would have done the workout too, because then it would be over, and I would be more present with the kids for the rest of the night. I try to do my runs while L&E are in school, but it doesn't always happen. Sometimes I'm on the treadmill when E is playing, or watching a show or whatever. Everything is a juggling act, and you do the best you can, day by day.

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  6. i always have the guilt while working out NO matter what. i hate it.

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  7. There is such thing as Daddy guilt too! I work my whole training schedule around so I run at work during lunch and the ride after the boys go to bed or I work in a workout while they are at the YMCA for Karate or other activities. I also forego a staple of most triathlete's routine the long ride and long runs in exchange for quality time with the family during the weekend. I often feel bad traveling for out of town for a race if they aren't able to come, that is when the guilt is at its worst. Of course the family has gotten to come with me to Disney, Panama City Beach, Cedar Point, Kona, England, and Canada this year and they don't feel guilty missing me at the finish line most of the time.

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  8. I think one of the best things that you can do is set a good example for your kids. i.e. eating healthy and getting consistent, daily exercise. I don't think it's selfish to want a little time to yourself. Granted, I have no kids, no husband, and basically no responsibilities so take that into consideration :)

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  9. I have no kids, but I find that it is really sad when I lose my friends ENTIRELY to their children - meaning they quit everything in their pre-children lives for their children. Note, this only happens with my female friends. The guys, who are excellent fathers, and do put their children first - don't do this. They still go skiing for a day here or there, or go for a run once in a while...Of course not as much, that is not what I am talking about. But my female friends won't even consider it, even if the FATHERS offer to watch the kids so they can go. Scratching head?

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  10. I'm another non-kid-owner :-) but I agree with what she said as well! I think kids turn out better when they get to see parents with their own interests, hobbies and goals rather than be put first for everything at all times.

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  11. No such think as daddy guilt. Doesn't exist. Mommy guilt for exercise shouldn't exist. You have to take care of you so that you can be the best mom ever. I workout before picking up my kids. Then I'm much more attentive and happier because the workout is done and I can focus on them.

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  12. You should NOT feel guilty! We all need "me" time. :)

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  13. So the whole time I was in the pool tonight, I kept thinking, I should be home making dinner, I should cut this swim short, etc.! I am pretty certain my husband never has those thoughts!

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  14. Nope. I do the same thing every Wednesday as I get out at noon. I let my daughter go to Bascol and then I pick her up after I have had my stress free hours. On the weekend it is a different story. I am guilty that my other half is watching my daughter as I run/bike.

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  15. My wife has the same workout guilt you're describing, but I don't naturally have that. I thrive on the structure of my day with the kiddos off at school, preschool or activities. There is no guilt during the week. On the weekend, I try to have them participate by biking besides me as I run or going to kids gym. I want them to like being active and not resent it for taking time away from me...it's a delicate juggle!

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  16. i feel the same way but a therapist once told me that we can't be good moms if we don't take care of ourselves first. plus what a great message you give to your kids that exercise is important!

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  17. Granted I don't have any kids, but I wouldn't worry about it Kelly. Guilt is normal, but don't let it get to you.

    You are setting an excellent physical and nutritional example for your kids. That is priceless, but doesn't come easy. The problem is that most parents AREN'T guilty for setting bad examples that they for their kids.

    A little guilt about not spending every possible minute with your kids is understandable, but never doubt what you are doing and why you are doing it.

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  18. I'd have to say...what you do, you do for your kids. You work and make a living so they can enjoy being kids. You and hubby try to set examples as loving parents who take each other's interests seriously and respectfully-u both pull a fair amount of weight now that your workload is so heavy esp! Suffice it to say the simple answer? MIGHT BE found in that Bible study Sara C mentioned-simply leading back to Genesis-the head and the tail and the enmity. We have an enemy who wants to keep us down. XXOO-Keep your eyes on THE PRIZE and win the RACE.

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  19. Kelly I always read these late so sorry I didn't see this sooner ;) but yeah mommy guilt sucks. There's no bandaid for it either. I just had to sell my bike out of mommy guilt. For the past 4 months since we've started the adoption process again I gotta tell you that the cost of that bike in my garage was weighing HEAVY on my shoulders. Kept thinking about how much that money would help pay for my travel costs in china. Kept thinking how impossible it would be to actually go on a ride now with three children - all being over the age of 6 - one being blind - one being home schooled - husband that travels every week out of every month. So I sold my bike and that guilt is gone but it has been replaced by another kind of mommy guilt - didn't see that one coming!! So my lesson learned that I feel I can share with you is take the little time out for yourself whenever you get the chance to do whatever you need to do to make yourself a better mommy. Sometimes those moments are few and far between.

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Woo-hoo!! I want to hear from you!

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