Thursday, June 30, 2011

Exercise Guilt

And not the kind you get when you skip a session.

I just finished doing my running/walking for an hour for the third day in a row, and I’m cooling down now before either hopping in the shower or convincing the boys to go swimming.

Why do I feel such guilt for exercising? I’ve battled with this feeling for years. I find compromises, like having the boys play in the yard while I run, but still the guilt is there.

Little E. trots up to me in his camouflage boots and says, “I exercise with you mommy,” and holds out his chubby hand for me to grasp it. And it breaks my heart to snap back, “Not with me! If you want to exercise, go in the back yard or go swing.”

But I have to. I would get no exercise if I kept pace with a four year old, and the whole point is to get fit so that I can be healthier, stronger, and a better example to my daughters.

But the guilt! Oi!  He walks away dejectedly pouting. After a few minutes I see him playing with the dogs, laughing and covering them in that fine dirt that always collects under the oak trees. I begin to realize that a little boy’s life does not have to revolve around his mommy. Maybe it’s good for him to find things to do independently.

I am an overindulgent mom. If you know me, you know how much of an understatement that is. It’s one of my huge faults – to indulge my kids. I love being a mom. I love the time I spend with my kids. I love doing things with them. But I need to learn to love myself, to love spending time doing something for me and not to feel guilty about it.

I’m doing it. Slowly. A little every day. I start out by letting the boys know that mom is going outside to run. They are welcome to join me, but what are the rules? Nearly in unison they say, “Don’t go out by the road.” And? “If we need something ask our sisters or get it ourselves.” And? “Don’t come up to you when you’re running.”

Not that they always follow the rules, but they’re beginning to see that I’m not budging. It’s something I MUST do for me, even if I feel guilty.

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