This mind trick will help you beat mom guilt.
Ever since I became a mom I struggled with mom guilt. Anytime I did something that wasn’t 100% with my kids or for them, mom guilt would come rushing in and I’d believe I was a horrible mother. This included “outrageous” things like vacuuming, folding laundry, taking a shower, and getting my hair cut. This, of course, meant every time I went for a run, I was a wreck. I would still go but most of the joy was gone because I would worry and rush as fast as I could back to my babies.
Related: Self-care tips for busy moms
Don’t let mind guilt take control.
Mom guilt reared its ugly head one evening. (And, I’m not proud to share this moment.)
I was getting ready to head out the door and my husband was pulling out all the tricks he could to distract my then two-year-old daughter from the fact that I would be gone for 45 minutes. She wised up to what was going on and flipped out (not uncharacteristally). And, then I flipped out (more so uncharacteristally). And, by this, I mean I became hysterical, screaming and crying, “I just want to go for a run! That’s all want to do! I just want to go for a run!” It was almost like that infamous Jessie Spano moment in Saved by the Bell except she was talking about dancing and I wasn’t wearing jorts.
Related: 9 habits of healty mother runners
This, of course, made my daughter cry even harder and my heart began cracking in a million pieces as I thought about how she just wanted to be with me, and how that’s so wonderful, and how I was being so ungrateful, selfish, and MEAN because I want to go do this thing by myself.
Try this and return to the wheel.
It’s been about three years since that moment and I still struggle with mom guilt, unfortunately. But I’m better thanks to a genius philosophy from my Mother Runner friend, Rebecca Weinand, who also just happens to be a health and wellness coach.
She says to…
Think of yourself as a bank.
What does this mean? This means that in order to give to your kids and be the mother you want to be, you have to invest in yourself. And investing in yourself doesn’t withdraw from something else (like your kids). You’re just adding to the bank. You’re investing in yourself so you can have more funds to pull from when the kids need to make a withdrawal from you. The danger comes when you try to give, and your balance is zero.
Rebecca also told me that taking time for ourselves to run is an important life lesson for your kids. A lesson in seeing it’s ok to do something you love, for yourself and by yourself. A lesson in learning healthy ways to manage stress and anxiety. A lesson in being their own person even if it’s different than what the rest of the family does. And a lesson in how we can all support one another in being who we are as individuals.
Related: 15 obstacles to exercise mother runners face & how to overcome them
When all else fails, employ decoys…or engage in bribery.
Obviously, these are tough lessons for a two-year-old (or younger) to learn but you can’t start soon enough. My son is now two and is only okay when I leave the house if I tell him I am going to run. He gets sad if I say I’m going for a meeting or a dinner. (Sweet thing, he doesn’t realize it would be weird to go for a run in a dress or jeans.) He’s a bit more laidback than my daughter so if you have a kid that goes ballistic when you leave to run like my girl did, employ all the shiny objects you can until these important lessons are instilled in their precious heads.