Q: [Mom] I know that working out is important, but as a mom, I feel so guilty taking that time away from my children to go to the gym. I try to plan it into my day, but I always seem to forgo it because my children’s needs come first. How can I find the time to workout without feeling like I am being a selfish mom?
This is a question I hear all the time. As a mother of three, I completely understand your concerns and putting yourself last. As moms, we tend to feel “guilty” about so many things, i.e. Not being there for every event, needing a moment for us, not giving our undivided attention, making time for ourselves to workout. The fact that as moms we feel guilty or ask ourselves how to be better, means we are constantly striving to be there for our children and to give our very best.
Working out is something that benefits you and your children in so many ways. I always think about the positive impact exercise has on our children. They watch and learn from us. They see that it is important to take the time to exercise our bodies and stay healthy and fit. We are their greatest examples of how they should live and how they can take care of their own bodies. They learn by example that being healthy is important. They watch us and take note and without even realizing it, understand that it is something that matters. It impacts the choices they will make everyday regarding their own health.
The other wonderful benefit from exercise is the difference an hour can make. I always tell my clients, “You are only one hour away from an attitude adjustment.” Even though you are taking an hour or two away from being hands on with your children, the mental and physical break you get (and deserve) enables you to feel better, happier and more relaxed with the rest of the time spent with your children. Working out fuels your soul. It is what gives you a sense of inner calm.
When you work out, your brain releases endorphins that help you feel more positive. The endorphins also help with stress and depression. Research shows that endorphins can be as beneficial in fighting depression as anti-depressants. The increased oxygen flow helps with energy. You train your body; you sweat and rid your body of toxins. You work your heart and release some of the stress and tension that goes along with the amazing responsibility of being a Mom.
Believe me, your children will take note. They will see that exercise and making your health a priority is a good thing. They will notice the change in your mood that goes along with feeling better from a workout. They will incorporate what they learn from you through your behavior and your choices, into their own lives. They will thank you for teaching them through your actions.
So don’t let unnecessary guilt be an issue. Make the time for yourself, and teach your children that it is important to do that. Schedule a workout for yourself everyday. The routine will be good for you and for your little ones. You can even make it a family affair. The hour or two breaks you get from a solo workout is wonderful, but you can also incorporate a fun walk or bike ride with the children once in awhile. You can pop in a fun fitness DVD and workout together.
A good workout everyday is something that will have so many positive benefits. Value your health and your “me” time as much as you value that for your children. —Jill Goodwin
Jill Danielle Goodwin has been in the fitness industry for 25 plus years. She has been certified by ACE and AFAA and has appeared in numerous fitness infomercials and TV shows. www.thestudiooc.com