A while back, before I myself became a mom, I marveled at how many moms put the needs of others ahead of the needs of their own.  Some of this is unavoidable; a sick child definitely trumps an appointment for a workout.  Others, I’m not so sure.  The same holds true for all of us, whether it’s work, family or something else, it seems for many of us, our ‘default’ is to put the needs of some one or some thing above the needs of our own.
Whether you stay at home mom, work or both, there is typically a small window of time to yourself.  When considering how to spend this time, how often do you ask yourself, “What can I do for me?” And how often is the answer something that is good for you, is scientifically documented to combat stress, and might even be fun if you approach it with the right attitude?
I consider myself fortunate because I love being active.  I love lifting, I love running, I love hiking . . .the list goes on but for my first few years as a mom, I did abercrombie runvery little of any of it.  You could, and I did, write this off with the excuse that my children came first, that between work and them, there was no time left over.  Somewhere in my transition to motherhood, I forgot how much I enjoyed exercising and simply added it to my list of things to do.  Inevitably, it fell to the bottom of the list and then became one more thing I felt guilty about not getting to.  Whether due to work or kids, I know I’m not alone in this sentiment.
I talk to moms and dads frequently who explain that they feel like they don’t see their children enough as it is, they just can’t feel good about taking more time away to go exercise.  I speak to executives who make the argument that getting things done at work makes their life less stressful because they can’t relax if x, y, z didn’t get finished.  I totally understand and respect all these objections but do ask the question, “Would the extra 3 hours per week (1 hour 3 times per week) away make you a better parent? A better employee?  A better boss?  Would it help others in your life to see you the way you would like them too?”  Sometimes in our hectic lives, we can all be guilty of overlooking the quality of the time we spend versus the quantity.
As I mentioned in last month’s article, getting started is never easy but once I did, an old feeling returned, that feeling of accomplishment, that feeling of strength plus a new feeling, the feeling of being proud of myself, not for exercising per se, but for making time to do something that made me feel good.  Every time I workout, overcoming the pull of children saying mommy don’t leave or the lure of my inbox flashing new messages of things I’ll have to get to later, it’s about doing something for me and that alone makes me smile inside.  I hope the the next time you had planned to go do something active and something comes up (the laundry is piling up, phone calls need to be returned, work needs to be done) that you can remember you in all of it, make yourself the priority, and do something active that will make you smile inside, and maybe even outside too.