A Love Letter to Moms Who Feel Guilty About Taking Time to Exercise
I'll never forget the day I ran into that cute 24-year-old blonde at the YMCA.
I was a mom of little ones, constantly exhausted. Two or three stolen hours at the gym were the highlights of my week.
I felt guilty about leaving the house, but I needed it. I needed time to get my brain and body back in gear before giving myself away again.
"I could hardly make myself get here," she said. "This is the hardest thing I ever do!"
I stood there stunned. The most luxurious thing I did was this gal's toughest. It shocked me to realize that what felt like indulgence in my world was a point of self control in hers.
Even now, almost twenty years later, I feel a little guilty about taking time to work out. The house still needs work. There are a thousand ways I could be giving myself to my family to make life easier for them.
But when I do take a pocket of time to stretch, to strengthen, to get my heart rate up, I'm able to be better at being a giver.
To attack our work vigorously as Proverbs describes, sometimes moms need to strengthen our arms first. You're still being a giver when you make this investment.
Moms, I know why it's hard for us to think like this. When we see the vanity of a gym-rat lifestyle promoted all over the place, it can feel selfish for us to exercise. But taking time to make sure we feel strong and stable isn't the same thing as the insecurity of a risque, workout selfie approach to life.
If you need permission to carve out time for exercise in your schedule, here's my magic wand. Poof. Go ye therefore and take care of your bodies.
I try to remember to hit "post to Twitter" every now and then when I do yoga in hopes that other moms will realize that they aren't alone in needing this kind of space in their day. I'll try to remember to do that more. If you see one of those posts, take it as one mom saying to another, "You're not alone. It's okay if we make room for this stuff."
You'll never see a risque gym selfie from me online, but you will feel a hand reaching over to grab yours to say, "Don't feel badly. This is good for us. It's good for our families. Let's go."