I started running when my youngest was a year old. It was easy. Once her brothers were in school into the jogging stroller she went and we would go. Her brothers were all in school including an extended school year program so my breaks from running were maybe a week or two at a time. I had no issues taking these short breaks as we were always on the go. Fast forward a few years to now to a time when one would think it would be easier to just get and go run I have found the opposite. Since school let out for summer many days I find myself struggling with mommy guilt.
Mommy guilt isn’t anything new for many mothers. You simply feel guilty for not spending time with your kid’s/family. You are going out and doing something for yourself. Something that keeps you healthy, both mentally and physically. The problem is though while you know things will be ok while you go out there is often times something that comes up that gets you to skip your workout. Then you are stuck in mommy guilt land. It is a place where you work out and then feel guilty because your kid’s missed you or wanted to do something with you or when you spend time with your kids you feel guilty missing your workout.
There are plenty of websites out there that tell you to prioritize your needs and not worry your child will be fine. They make it appear that everyone else is dealing with things just fine. This kind of thing only makes things worse for those of us who are type A’s. How can they be handling things so perfectly? What am I not doing right? Maybe just some effective time management is all that is needed. I really don’t think so though. In my opinion what it really boils down to is a balancing act and we need to quit beating ourselves up when things do not go as planned. Yes, effective time management is helpful but life happens and even the best laid plans and good intentions get pushed aside for a variety of reasons. It can be something big or small, trivial or important, the list of possibilities is endless but in the big scheme of life it really doesn’t matter.
It is wonderful showing your kids that mommy is fit and healthy. Kids need that positive role model. It works too! My daughter was 3 years old and told me that when she grows up she wants to run fast like mommy. She does run now and she is faster than mommy! She has run USATF track and field and cross country since she was 5 years old. My oldest is a runner also and is beginning his first year on high school cross country at the moment. My middle two don’t have the same zest for running but will get outside. So I use this to my advantage. I need to get out and exercise and my kids want to do something so we do something together. We ride our mountain bikes on nearby trails or in our neighborhood. We go for a hike on a nearby trail. My kids even lift weights and work out in our garage with us.
Getting out and doing things with my kids with my kids may not be that same type of workout I would have done by myself but it is killing 2 birds with one stone. I am working out and getting my exercise in while at the same time we are spending time together. The spending time together is a bit more of a priority for me. That is what I want my kid’s to remember. They can one day look back on their childhood and remember how mom was always busy training or they can remember going on a bike ride where their water bottle bounced out of their bikes basket among other seemingly trivial things.
Maybe it is about prioritizing things in your life after all? Summer is short and here in a few weeks my kid’s will be back in school. Things will go back to our normal routines and I can get back on track. Until then I will be happy creating memories with my kids.
How have you had mommy guilt while your kid’s have been out for summer break? How did you deal with it?