Motherhood has been an exercise in guilt
– Felicity Huffman
This is a question I see a lot about time invested in exercise or running. It’s probably more common among mothers, I think.
Running is . . .
Time away from your family
Time away from your husband
Time that is selfish
That’s the way the thought process happens, right?
So do you ever feel guilty?
And the answer is actually no, I don’t. I guess I recognise the impulse to feel guilty but I don’t go with that.
Just because I am the mother of two small children doesn’t mean that I have to spend every waking moment with them. Just because I have a family doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have time to myself. I think that’s an unreasonable expectation. I think it’s an often an expectation that comes from ourselves and not from others.
When it comes to our roles as Mothers, we can be pretty harsh critics, can’t we? And I see a lot of people argue that their time spent exercising is about their children and positive role modelling which is fantastic and true. But that time away, it really doesn’t need to be justified. Even if it had no benefit for your children whatsoever, that would be ok for you to go and do something that you liked to do. And even though it probably makes you a much happier, better parent, even if it didn’t – if it was something that you enjoyed that would be ok too.
Sure, I look at the positives of my away time. My girls relate exercise to strength and not weight loss which I think is fantastic. When I’m on my long run once a week or away for the weekend, they get more one-on-one time with their Dad and extended family which they love. Committing to the time in the morning makes me a much more happier person which filters into almost every aspect of our family life.
I think though that even if there were no discernible benefits for them, they would want to look after me like I look after them.
Guilt doesn’t live here anymore. Mostly. Sometimes I do have to remind myself that it’s ok to have things that are just for me.