My mother taught me “always be selfish about your exercise time”. Why? Because there will always be a long list of things that seem more important than your workout, especially moms who have little people needing things all day (and night) long! And we (Moms and all people) deserve to feel great and be healthy. It will benefit everyone around you when you put this on the top of the priority list!
When my kids were little I was a single mom, who worked a lot and had very little time for them or myself. But I realized pretty quickly that when I didn’t make time for my fitness my kids got a more fatigued, crankier less patient version of me. When I make time for myself I feel great and my kids get the best version of me, my energy, mood, and patience is on a whole other level. Not only do I deserve to feel great every day but my kids deserve to get the best version of me every day! I quickly learned to let go of the mom guilt, hit my workouts hard, and enjoyed better quality time with my kids as a result.
Yes, being the best version of you will impact all of your relationships, your kids, your partner, your friends, your colleagues, every person who comes into contact with you will be positively affected by your happy endorphins and positive energy! Also, your productivity (whether you’re at work or home) will skyrocket! You will quickly learn that your minutes of exercise is given back to you in productivity, efficiency, and mental clarity.
Do you know what else I deserve? To be physically capable of doing anything that I want to do. In the fall before the pandemic, my kids and I had a girl’s weekend in Old Montreal. We had a blast doing the pirate ship high ropes course, and my kids and I did every course including all the challenging ones. I was proud that my body could do this with my kids, I felt sad that most of the moms there weren’t fit enough for the course and were sitting while their kids played. I am raising some very active girls and it’s so cool that we can all be active together and that I can keep up with my little athletes – it is so important to me to keep up with them until I am a grandma (and beyond!). These things are all made possible by my daily commitment to keep my body strong and fit!
If I haven’t convinced you to let go of mom guilt yet and put your fitness at the very TOP of your priority list, I’ll take it a step further. If you don’t keep your body fit, strong and healthy – where will you be in 5-10-15-20+ years? Will you be able to take care of yourself? Will you need to call your kids every time you need to move something heavy, will they need to come to help you when you throw your back out and can’t get around? I for one never want to burden my kids with my care. My very fit parents continue to help me with my kids – in fact, I don’t know where I would be without them and I very much want to help my kids with their families. I deserve a healthy active old age and putting in the time now is the only way I will get it. My kids deserve the best version of me for as long as possible!
What are we teaching our kids when we put ourselves dead last? What are we teaching our daughters about their role in the world when we neglect ourselves for everyone else’s needs? I have spoken to several women who didn’t want to have kids after watching their moms neglect themselves for the sake of the family. What are we teaching our sons about women’s role in the world when we put ourselves dead last? I am proud to teach my kids that my physical and mental health (oh yes – fitness is SO important for mental health) is a priority, I am teaching them that their physical and mental health is a priority too.
So, let’s wrap it up. When I am selfish about my fitness I set myself up for longer, healthier life. I am more likely to enjoy the activities I love in my old age as well as live independently for as long as possible. I deserve that (so do you!). The result is that my kids will get a better version of me every day, and I am much less likely to become a burden to them. My relationship with my kids will grow and strengthen every time we do fun physical things together and I will be an active grandma who can make their parenting years a little easier. Is it selfish to put your exercise first? Maybe not…
Exercise needs to land in the category of things you do no matter what because it is just part of your basic self-care. Good examples of these things are showering, brushing your teeth, sleeping, eating – we do those things every day no matter what is going on. That list of things that seem more important like work, laundry, dishes, aren’t as important. 20 years from now it won’t matter if the laundry and dishes built up, but it sure will matter that you prioritized your health and fitness.
Now go share this article with a friend of yours that needs to hear it, get her in touch with me and I will help her put herself first 🙂