I want to share a common challenge I face. My husband travels a lot for work, and I struggle to find a balance when he’s gone – specifically the push/pull between compensating for his absence at home with my desires to workout and feel physically stronger. The last time he was gone, I let my workouts slide and neglected my fitness for a week. I was a crabby mommy, and that certainly didn’t help things. So this week he was out of town, and I decided that I still had to maintain my routine. As a result, I hired a babysitter that the kids get along with really well. So far so good. But as I was driving to my favorite Thursday night spinning class, I felt tremendous guilt. The thoughts swirling around in my mind that created these guilty feelings were “I’m selfish, I’m paying someone to be with my kids while I workout” “I’m a bad mom”, etc. I was of course distracted, which contributed to a shitty workout, and a mad rush to get home. When I arrived the girls were in the zone with the sitter, knee deep in Candyland, popcorn was everywhere, and when I walked in the door, they were asking me to go out longer.
So I thought about this further and realized, that first off, I had created guilt feelings for no good reason. The girls were having fun, I wasn’t gone that long, and it was worth every penny for me. Secondly, it dawned on me that my daughters are witnessing and hopefully internalizing the importance of exercise in their mom’s life. They see me do hard things. They see me get up early for my favorite classes, they stay outside while I run around the block, and know that this is non-negotiable. This is a good thing, I want them to see me get out of my comfort zone.
What they don’t realize yet is that keeping up with my health will extend the quality and hopefully quantity of my ability to be active with them. I want to be able to keep up with them for as long as humanly possible. I want to be an active mother in their adult years, and if grandchildren become part of the equation I will be a cool, active one!
These thoughts have shifted my feelings from guilt to pleasure. Frankly, I am a better mom when I get my workouts in and take care of myself. This also means that I sacrifice too. I may have to forgo that shopping trip, or girls night out in favor of exercise. Sometimes, I take the girls with me. They bring their iPads to my boxing gym, which is family friendly, and take turns laughing at me while I pretend to be Holly Holm. If there is room, the instructor lets them box too. Some chocolate milk afterwards puts a bow on the evening.
So next time this comes up fellow momma boxers, hire the sitter, sweat it out and know that your children will benefit from seeing you do challenging things. Model this, dismantle that guilt, and let’s all kick some butt. As always complimentary mini-sessions are available if you want to try coaching with me at Mind Your Strength Coaching!