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  • Writer's pictureJessica Windham

Mommy Guilt

GO! GO! GO! In this day in age according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 70 percent of mothers with kids younger than 18 years old are employed; so nowadays both moms and dads are working in order to afford the cost of living. In turn, life is just not as simple as it was many years ago. There are so many activities for kids these days to participate in. School curriculum and sports have become more and more competitive at younger ages. Thus parents in general are loaded down with additional responsibilities.

With lots of work and busy lives, something has to give, right? Maybe even a little give and take type approach. It is in women to be nurturing and caring for our children. Some women are more intense than others. We are taught to put others first. We are also pressured to keep standards high in order to keep the bosses happy. Needless to say it is a heavy load to carry being a working mom. So, what happens when things start piling up and kids need you per se? Good moms typically step up to the plate for their family and kids and put themselves last. I’m going to focus on exercise since this is my area of expertise. In my career as a personal trainer, “Mommy Guilt” is what I call it and is what I hear the most. Moms work all day and either feel bad taking time after or before work to leave the kids to exercise. On another note, women throughout life experience hormone changes; and metabolism naturally slows you down with age, etc. Lots of women out there are struggling with weight issues. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey’s data, 41.1 percent of women are now obese in the United States. Unhealthy lifestyles also lead to a number of negative effects on people such as health related diseases and depression. So should moms put themselves last?

Kids also need their dads, but kids no matter their age need their moms. So let’s try and focus on the benefits of why we as mom’s need not to feel guilty taking time for ourselves to exercise and feel better.

Benefits of Exercise

-increased energy to keep up with our kids lives and activities

-better quality of life so we can actually enjoy time with them and not be overweight, tired or in pain.

-increased confidence. Statistics show people who exercise are more confident. In turn we can instill in them a better attitude and self-esteem to build on in this tough world.

-reduces stress

-helps mood by decreasing feelings of depression, anxiety and stress by increasing brain sensitivity for serotonin and norepinephrine which relieves these mental conditions. Exercise also helps increase production of endorphins which helps positive feelings and reduces perception of pain.

-helps with weight loss

-good for muscles and bones

-reduce risk of chronic disease

-helps skin health

-helps brain health and memory

-helps with relaxation and better sleep

-can reduce pain

-can promote a better sex life

I was always a very active child growing up. My parents did not honestly do a ton of physical activity. My mom only started walking at the park while I was in high school doing cross country because she had to be there anyway to drop me off and pick me up. To make use of her time she would walk the track also. When I was much younger, my dad did cycling as well as some racquetball, but between crazy work schedules, some physical injuries and limitations he became pretty sedentary. My Dad still lives in a LOT of pain and is limited to what he can do. In school they taught health and we had PE, but besides that no one truly taught me the true importance of exercise and health. I guess I just have it in me and have always had a huge interest and love for it. My college degree reflects this love as well as my career. I now have 3 young boys and I worked out through every one of the pregnancies until the day I delivered. As babies I would take them and incorporate them in my workouts until of course they got too heavy and awkward to hold. Lol My life has gotten even busier now that I not only have work, but also myself to care for, the boys and all that comes along with being a mom. I obviously do not have them in my daily workouts because they attend school, but I do try to incorporate them in on the weekends or even have them watch me as I do my home workouts often just so they can see me actually doing it. They always ask, “mom what are you doing?” or just want to join in with me. I think it is important for parents to take time to exercise for not only their health, but to show by example. Children’s obesity rates are on the rise and some schools are even taking physical education out of their curriculum. Kids learn a lot from their parents and look up to them. Mom’s I want to challenge you to love your children enough and make a positive difference in their lives by getting rid of the “Mommy Guilt” mind when it comes to exercise and turn it around to “Mommy Love”. This love is laying out for your children the importance of health in your life and in turn theirs in many ways and many years to follow.


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