Anyone who has read more than a couple of of my blog posts knows that exercise and fitness is very important to me. I run, swim, bike, rollerblade, practice yoga or some combination thereof 5 days a week, with few exceptions. Second only to the my own health and the health of my family, exercise takes priority. I set my alarm and get up before everyone else. If that doesn’t work, I’ll let Abby and Miles watch 30 minutes of Pocoyo and hop on the elliptical run on the treadmill while they nap. I’ve been known to (and will probably continue to) wake them up a little early, plop them in the jogging stroller with milk and a snack and bring them running with me.
I don’t plan exercise around my life, I plan my life around exercise.
It sounds a little selfish, doesn’t it?
Here’s the thing, though. Exercise is a necessity for me, not just physically, but mentally.
I also work away from home 3 days a week. It was something I chose to continue doing after the twins were born. I like my job and I spent 6 years studying my field. It is important to me that I be able to contribute some financially and I feel like I am helping make a difference. I am a nicer, more sane and happier person when I am able to work.
Still, sometimes I catch myself feeling guilty. Sometimes I feel like I should want to stay home and willingly skip my workout so the twins can sleep an extra half hour. Sometimes I feel like a bad mom when I turn on Pocoyo so I can run out some frustration or kiss them goodbye as I leave for work. Even though I feel like these two things make me a better person and mother, particularly after infertility, I sometimes feel guilty.
Cate Pane recently posted a link to a page on The Science of Raising Happy Kids. It contains a lot of good, interesting information, but one fact in particular stood out to me.
Your (moms) happiness matters.
It says that a moms satisfaction with her life is more important to a young child’s social and emotional skills than her education, her income, whether she has a job and the amount of time the kid spends in childcare.
Last week I read a post in Favorite Run Community that left a bad taste in my mouth. The woman posted about how she sees all of this support to moms who run, even waking their kids to take them along. She disagreed with this mentality and said that if she can’t get someone to watch her kids, she just doesn’t run. Family first. I get up early and sometimes take them with me with the hopes they pick up the same habit (of course, if they are ill or truly need me, I will stay home). The post left a bad taste in my mouth because I thought that doing something to keep myself sane and demonstrating a healthy habit was setting a positive example. I thought doing things to ensure my own happiness WAS, at least in some ways, putting my family first.
You know the saying, and apparently its more true than we realize – if mom isn’t happy, no one is happy.
Or at least if mom is happy, her kids will be happier.
Take care of yourselves, moms.
June 30, 2014 at 7:07 pm
Yes! If mom is Happy the children will be Happy and vice versa! Keep doing your thing lady!
June 30, 2014 at 8:16 pm
Kudos to you for having something that gets your frustrations out and makes you feel healthy and happy. So what if the babies wake a little early?! They can take a nap later. They’re babies after all and they need a happy mom. I think I need an outlet like that. I think it would be good for me and Tru.
June 30, 2014 at 11:10 pm
I’m so glad you posted this because I am struggling with this! I want to exercise ( or pass out from exhaustion), but I struggle with guilt. Shouldn’t I not care about my fitness level right now? Shouldn’t I let go of the stress associated for me with not jogging, etc.? I haven’t answered this one yet…
June 30, 2014 at 11:21 pm
I’m so glad you posted it too. It sounds right to me, but doesn’t hurt to hear it again (especially with actual science backing it). Guilt is something I wish we could all get rid of, somehow.
July 1, 2014 at 6:54 am
No guilt! Those babies are with you,right? And they are contented.right? Whether riding or watching pokyo. (I’ve seen them doing that:)My opinion is that you do what makes you all happy. And I believe that’s what you are doing!
July 1, 2014 at 2:41 pm
Some things you just can’t choose, you have to do them. It sounds like for you running is one of those things. For me, writing is, and art. I COULD stop doing them, but I would be miserable and angry and not as good of a mother because of it.
July 2, 2014 at 9:42 am
I’m glad you liked the “The Science of Raising Happy Kids.” Thanks for mentioning me! There is quite a bit of research as to how depressed moms negatively impact their kids. You are taking care of yourself and THAT will ultimately benefit everyone. Great post! Cate
July 5, 2014 at 1:17 pm
I love this post so much and intend to keep it in mind when (if) I make it to the other side. Great perspective!