I am generally the type of person that likes to incorporate exercise in my life. I am not sharing this to make you feel bad if exercise is not your thing, but to illuminate a recent understanding I had about exercise and life as a parent.
I never go to the gym or workout as much as I want.
Last week as I chitchatted with a group of women waiting to enter our gym’s group exercise room, this realization dawned on me. We all were discussing our ideal exercise goals for the week and not one of us was going to succeed.
And this was in a group of MANY.
I’ve been a Mom for over ten years and it took me this long to realize that the goals I used to have for myself are no longer possible as a busy parent of two, active boys. Why did it take me so long to figure this out? What other areas am I still applying my pre-parent ideals to and still falling short?
I do not see movies in theaters unless they are family friendly. I do not meet friends for happy hour on a regular basis. I do not have regular dates nights or weekends away with my husband. I do not go to the mall to browse for no apparent reason. I only go to get things for my boys, and if I go for me, I’m on a mission. Leisurely browsing a mall is no longer an option because my time is precious.
To pile on to my expectations of yesteryear, I’ve given myself a whole new set of reasons I am not doing or being enough. I do not make healthy meals every weeknight (or hardly ever). I do not keep my house spotless or my laundry sink free of dirty clothes. Toothpaste smears have taken over my boys’ bathroom and apparently, are here to stay. I do not see my friends enough. I do not call my extended family enough (#cousinsBeTrippin). I try to go to the dentist regularly and sometimes, I still get cavities. And, as I stated before, I NEVER work out as much as I want or think I should.
My life isn’t going to change overnight. My boys are growing up faster than I would like and inevitably, my focus will shift back to me. I am in no rush. I’m still their Mom if I work out every day or not at all.
Today, go easy on yourself. I think you are doing great exactly as you are.
Feel free to skip the gym, too.
Written by Diana DeVaul, MSW and Parent