Like half of the country, I’ve set a goal to lose some weight this year — and also like half of the country, I’m struggling with how to do it. Even with the best laid plans, some days I just don’t get my workout in. Or I eat ice cream instead of dinner. Or what have you. It isn’t that I don’t want to lose weight — I do. It isn’t even that I am not willing to do the work — I am. What it really comes down to for me is guilt.
Most week days, I have 6 hours per day to myself. I work from home, so logically I could workout during this time. However, since even if the school week is a full one (which it never is — we had early release on Wednesday and they are out at 11:30 today) that is only 30 hours of work time — and even though I work on the weekends, I need at least 40 hours a week to devote to work most weeks. Therefore, if I slip away for an hour to workout during this time I feel guilty. I should be working. Work pays the bills. An hour of watching Grey’s Anatomy while I run on the treadmill burns calories — but it doesn’t bring home the bacon that made me fat in the first place.
So I feel guilty when I try to squeeze a workout in during my work hours — but I feel even more guilty when I try to squeeze in a workout during my parenting hours.
I pick the kids up from school at 2:30. Technically, they could play while I run on the treadmill or complete a workout DVD. Or, if I was feeling especially brave, we could all go to the Y and I could put them in the childcare there. Once again, it’s guilt that keeps this from happening. I feel like since I just picked them up from school where they spent the last six hours I shouldn’t take them to the gym and stick them in the childcare room. I feel like I should be spending time with them – talking to them about their day, readying their backpacks for tomorrow, and starting dinner (of course, made of healthy, whole foods – not PBJ or take-out pizza). Plus, have you ever tried to do an exercise DVD with three preschoolers who want to help? It’s kind of excruciating.
Working out with the kiddos underfoot makes me feel guilty — like I’m putting my needs first and not attending to what they need. Okay, so maybe I can workout after they go to bed. By the time they go to bed, I’m exhausted. And I feel like I should spend at least a little bit of time with my husband. When I choose to workout (or work, or go to the store, go to a meeting at the school, or whatever) in the evening I feel guilty. I feel like I should be spending time with my husband.
The only time of day that is truly mine is the early morning hours before my kids are awake for the day. And many days I do manage to get up and get my workout in in the wee small hours of the morning — leaving my house around 4:45 to head to the gym or out for a run. But on the days that I don’t, I feel guilty and spend the day beating myself up. Why am I so weak? I should have gotten out of bed. I should have my workout done. Now, when am I going to find the time to work it in?
During my “husband time” on Tuesday evening (after I returned home from a meeting at the trio’s school), we were watching part of a DVRed episode of the new season of The Biggest Loser. I’ve never watched the show before, but it caught my attention the other night so I recorded it (yes, I’m looking for new shows to watch on the treadmill — suggestions welcome!). In the episode we watched, the doctor was asking one of the contestants, “If you had Lymphoma, you’d devote the two hours a day to chemo and other treatments that you needed, wouldn’t you?” Of course, the contestant responded that they would — and it’s a good point. Obesity is an epidemic in our country. As a society we need to make our health more of a priority.
I want to make my health more of a priority. There are so many other items that seem like they should be higher priorities — my kids, my husband, my work — that taking the time to carve out the chunks of time needed not only to exercise but also to meal plan and prepare healthy foods — quickly becomes overwhelming.
Please tell me that I’m not the only working mom that feels this way…