Mommy guilt is a common feeling. The mindset goes something like: “How could I possibly take precious time away from my child to work on myself?’. Believe me…I have been there and have thought these same things once I became a mother in 2007.
I will never forget the first time I dropped my son off in daycare at the gym to try and get a workout in for myself. I was anxious to get back to my workouts and start feeling like myself again, but thoughts of “they won’t know how to care for him as I do” and “I am abandoning my son” plagued me the entire time I worked out. I can remember leaving the fitness center many times throughout the hour to sneak a peek into babysitting to check on him.
Once you become a parent, there certainly is a natural tendency/desire to forsake your own needs for those of this new little being you have just brought into the world. It’s a very humbling and fulfilling experience raising children, but let’s face it…it can also be very exhausting and draining.
Oftentimes, us parents tend to lose our own identity a bit and forget what makes us tick in favor of helping our children learn about and discover their own identities. Despite struggling with the “mom guilt” from time to time, I know that in order to care for my kids the best I can, I need to take care of myself, and yes that is going to mean taking some time away from them to focus on me. As my kids and I have gotten older, I am completely okay with that! After all, it’s what keeps me sane!!
My workouts are my time to “check out” and get some much needed time to myself. If you struggle with mommy guilt, I hope this little look into my life can help you see that it’s okay and HEALTHY to make time for yourself every day. You make sure every day to try and do things for your children that will keep them healthy and happy. So why aren’t you doing the same for yourself? After all, you can’t hope to give back as much as possible to your family without the boosted energy level, physical endurance and muscle strength regular workouts give you. Here’s how to give mommy guilt the boot so you can work out in peace.
Schedule Workouts: Shoot for at least 15- to 20-minute workouts three times a week. Schedule them as you would appointments and hold yourself to them. I know this can be easier said than done with a newborn, but do your best! If you can, consider scheduling your workouts during nap time. It’s okay to take that time to do something for yourself. The rest of your household operations can wait!
Exercise at Home: Driving back and forth can take up valuable time and could be a deal-breaker if you have a small child. If it’s most convenient, stick to at-home workouts on your own, with a few friends, or with a personal trainer that can come to your home (if that is an option for you). Your child can even get involved!
Take It Outside: When the weather is nice, exercise outside and take the family with you! Stroller workouts are a great option as long as your baby tolerates being in a stroller. You can really give yourself a nice well-rounded workout by packing a few resistance bands with you and using the stroller as your anchor for the resistance bands. If you need some ideas for an outdoor workout that is safe for both prenatal and postnatal mamas, check this one over on my YouTube channel: http://bit.ly/29FzEh8.
Seek Support: When you’re deep in the trenches of parenting, sometimes it can get pretty lonely, and the guilt you may experience from wanting to take a break can override your need to come up for air a little bit. This is when it really helps to talk and connect with other moms to find out how they combat mommy guilt and make time for themselves. By realizing you’re not the only one with these feelings, you’ll feel strengthened and empowered, and you’ll begin to realize that it’s perfectly fine to carve some time out for yourself. You may also gather some new tips on how to work out with young kids at home!
Realize The Family Benefit: Exercise helps to provide that extra boost of energy us moms need to care for our families and be the best mom we can be. Plus, just think of what an amazingly positive example you are setting for your children in terms of showing them the importance of daily exercise and activity. They’re more likely to make exercise a priority in their own lives if they see you working out despite your busy schedule. In the end, working out is about one of the least selfish things you could do for yourself!