Sunday, October 19, 2014

Is working out selfish as a mom?

When I started working out 4 years ago, this was something I had to ask myself. I have a husband and 4 kids. When I would tell them I was heading to work out, a scene like this would typically play out.

"Do you have to, Mom?"

"No, I don't have to. However, I want to. Exercising makes mommy healthy and feel good."

"Can't you just workout tomorrow?"

Sigh. How hard it is to say no to our families when they want to spend time with us. I always made sure that they were taken care of before I went to work out. I didn't even leave for a gym-just the other room. They made it seem as if I was going to be gone for hours, instead of the 45 minutes or so that I would be in the other room. 

How easy it would have been to give in to that guilt. I am so proud of myself that I didn't waver in my convictions that I work out. As moms, we tend to care for others before ourselves. We feel that we would be "bad moms" if we take care of our own needs first. 

When on a a plane, we are always given the instructions to place the oxygen masks on ourselves before our children. If we were to ignore those instructions,we might not be able to take care of our loved ones at all. We could get injured or pass out before we were able to tend to them. 

The same is true in our day to day lives. Motherhood is the hardest job I will ever do. When I was overweight, I was tired all the time. Small things seemed monumental. When I got healthy, it was easier to take care of my family. So, taking care of me IS taking better care of my family. I feel so strong when I work out. I feel like an athlete in practice. I can rock playtime  with my kids and pick up my 6 year old daughter who still wants to be picked up and cuddled.

I know it feels selfish to have that "me" time to exercise. Especially when exercise time isn't already a habit and a part of your daily schedule. Those pleas to wait and do it tomorrow are strong and compelling. After all, won't we have so much time to work out when they are all grown up? However, if we wait until then- have we done them any favors? Will we be overweight? Struggling with blood pressure? Diabetes? Have we shown them how to live a healthy lifestyle? Will we be sacrificing their long term health because we taught them to find any excuse not to work out?

I am very proud of myself for not giving in to those excuses. I know that I am a better mom for it.