Thursday, April 24, 2014

Mommy Guilt? Not anymore! #changetheconversation

When I first started running (a year ago!), it felt strange.  Since becoming a mom, I hadn't really taken the time to take care of me.  Sure, I went out with my husband and girlfriends and enjoyed activities but I never did anything that was just for me.  And then I started running. Time spent with me, improving me.  Time to think or not think, either way, my choice!

But then I started running longer distances and since I am not (yet) the fastest runner, I needed to take up to 4 hours including travel time on my long run days.  I felt bad leaving the kids and my husband for our weekend family time.  So, I turned to my Mother Runner friends and asked their advice.  I wanted to know how to walk out the door in the mornings and not feel that guilt.  

I am sharing their advice with you and their pictures...

Mine & Izzy

Miné: I love that my kids see both my husband and me (I get points for being grammatically correct
here :)) being so active all the time. It's a great sense of pride! It's a regular part of our life and one in which they'll soon take part. I can't wait to do our first parent/child triathlon!

Jill with Jude & Beck

Jill: I don't have any mommy guilt about working out. By working out, going for runs, doing races, we are setting a good example for our kids that 1) health and fitness are important, and 2) Mommy has to take care of herself so that she can be a better Mommy.

Melissa and Danika

Melissa: I am more than just "mom." I am Melissa. I have always been one to be active and meet my goals and challenges. A child shouldn't completely change you; I don't want to loose myself in motherhood and then be lost when my daughter is grown. The time I spend with myself each day improving myself is good for my whole family, including my little one.

Mendy & Family

Mendy: I don't believe in guilt. I rephrase it and believe I'm being a role model to my kids for leading a healthy lifestyle and putting fitness a priority in your life. Everyone knows date nights are crucial for marriage--- but no guilt is assoc. So running/exercising is more like a date with myself or girlfriends for my mental peace of mind and much better /easier to justify than girls night out and getting drunk (tho I miss those and certainly have beer after races to make up for it!!). Somewhere on the internet is a pic of mom running and it is not mommy feeling guilty, it is mommy being badass.

Nina & Drew

Nina: Running three days a week has been manageable. I do feel like I am lucky because Drew, my husband, understands why it's important and that I have a schedule that allows me to run most of the time (Wednesday mornings, Friday after work, Sunday during nap time). And if we want to be role models for our daughters, we have to show them how important it is for us women to be healthy and have our own lives/interests.

 Julie and Family

Julie: I can't say I never feel mommy guilt, but it rarely appears because I know that I'm a much better person when I'm running than when I'm not. It has been most evident recently since I took this whole month off to heal my hip. Everyone needs stress relief and time alone with their thoughts, or to chat with friends. Running provides that for me. My poor kids and husband probably can't wait for me to get back to running!

Diana & Madison 

Diana: So I struggled with guilt when [my daughter] was younger because I didn't work but I would take Madison with me to the gym while I ran/worked out. I mentioned it to her doctor and she said that my healthy lifestyle was a positive for my child and that she can't stand martyr parents. I then felt confident that I am making the right decision. Madison lovveessss running because she sees me doing it and we run laps in the backyard all the time. I can't wait for her to do 1k's and 5k's with me.

Alexis: To be honest, I do not have any Mommy guilt when I go for a run. I am a runner. I was a runner before I had kids, and I am a runner now. It's part of who I am. My kids know nothing else. I feel happy when I run a race and my kids are being taken care of by my husband or my mom. I set a good example for them and they always ask, "Mama, did you win? Can I see your medal?" It shows them hard work can pay off. Running makes me happy. Running keeps me sane. All of that is good for my family

Janet: I have no guilt. Making time for my work out makes me a better mother. It is exercising my physical and mental health, which gives me the stamina and mental strength to keep up with two young kids. The only guilt I feel is leaving the kids to my husband alone. However, to offset that I schedule my workout/runs to early mornings before everyone wakes up. The kids know my run schedule so they see the priority exercise plays in my life and how I fit it in to have the least impact on family time.

Alexis: You should only feel guilty if you haven't taken care of your child's basic needs. If they are loved, nourished and safe then taking an hour to workout should not cause guilt. Working out is a positive thing, your children will see that you value yourself and in turn they will value themselves. As they get older, it is something you can enjoy together. My children love running with me and it is almost entirely their idea.

SD Mom: I don't feel guilty anymore.  After a year, I realize running is a chance for me to be me.  I can process my thoughts and I can get fit and get healthy.  I can spend time with BRFs or not.  It is MY time for ME.  My kids also accept that running is a part of my identity.  Looking for my husband and kids at finish lines fills me with the deepest pride.  They love me and they are proud of me.  And guess what?  Because I run, I will be around a long time to watch them grow.  No more Mommy Guilt!

Do you feel "Mommy Guilt?"  How do you #changetheconversation?  How do you incorporate your kids in to your active lifestyle?

As always, I wish you Happy Feet,
SD Mom


  1. Plenty of Mommy Guilt. But none associated with running or racing. None. Granted, most of my runs are done predawn, long before my kids wake up, but the same can't be said for weekend long runs and races. I'm setting a good example for my little ladies, I'm taking care of my body and keeping it strong. At age 7 and 5, they want to do the same. (insert fist pump)
    I want so very much for my ladies to appreciate and love their bodies for what they're able to do rather than critique and label themselves beanpole or chubby.

  2. Congrats on a great race, Smitha!

    I enjoy following your blog, and I nominated you for the Liebster Award. Stop by my blog today to read more about it :)

  3. I look at my workout time as my time to be the example. I want my Girlie to be a healthy, strong woman who takes care of herself and loves herself. If that's the goal then I need to show her that working out is a part of the everyday routine, like brushing your teeth. Plus, like Jamie says above, it means I have to watch how I talk about my body.