14 Sep Mombod
By Lisa Guggisberg
Not too long ago I was at my son’s baseball practice when I noticed another mom eyeing me intently. I thought nothing about it and stuck my nose back in my book. After a few moments of studying me, she finally asked me:
“How many hours a day do you spend in the gym?”
I replied that I had no idea, as I don’t really set a timer, but I do usually spend my lunch break in the gym and a few hours every Saturday, or Sunday training.
She followed up by saying: “You look great, but I could never take that much time away from my family”.
My initial reaction was to respond with something snarky, but like all good, southern girls I minded my manners and simply said “Thank you.”
I’ll admit that I was a little annoyed after this interaction. I felt judged. What I didn’t feel was that I was a bad mom and if this was the woman’s intent; I must say it didn’t work.
I am far from perfect. I try my hardest to be the best mom and wife I can be, but as everyone knows, or should know perfection is not reality. I know in my heart that I am a good mom, but do I attend PTA meetings, volunteer as class mom, make glorious gluten free, non-GMO, well rounded breakfasts for my kids, or devote myself 24/7 to the every whim and want of my children? No. I do not and I am more than ok with that. I do give my children what the need; they are safe, fed, healthy, sometimes clean, sometimes dressed, and overall well rounded tiny humans and I do all of this in a manner that works for Todd and myself.
What I should have said to this other mom was that she shouldn’t look at spending time to take care of herself as taking time away from her family. Why do moms feel that anything done for themselves should be deemed as selfish and being a bad mom? Why does taking care of yourself make you selfish? Why does making myself happy and healthy make me a bad mom?
This wasn’t the first time I’ve had this type of encounter and I am getting a little irritated with them. I shouldn’t be made out to be a bad mother because I have a hobby that is my own. I’m harassed and labeled as a bad mother because I have a life outside of motherhood? I think all too often moms lose themselves trying to win the race of who is awarded “Mom of the Year.” I quit that race years ago. I decided that to be the best mom for my kids, I needed to do what made them and me happy. If that means taking time to train instead of forcing some agonizingly painful Pinterest project on my kids, or mandating a family game night that my kids probably don’t want to do anyways, then that’s what I’ll do.
I venture to say that the reason why other women, particularly other moms, feel the need to put others down, or “mom shame,” is from our feelings of inadequacy. Maybe the mom who felt the need to hassle me is dying to get in shape, but doesn’t know how to start. No matter what we do, or don’t do as moms, we will always struggle with trying to do it all and constantly feel like what we are doing is never good enough. Perfection, as a parent, is a mythical unicorn you will never catch. Once you accept this, life becomes a little easier on the home front.
So to my fellow gym moms, keep going to the gym and do what makes you happy and healthy. Your kids will survive and won’t grow up to be serial killers just because you went to the gym instead of making gluten free, vegan cookies. Don’t let the inadequacy of others make you feel bad. It’s a trickle-down effect, if mom is happy, everyone is happy.
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