Most of us look at exercise as something we do for ourselves, and as a working mom I feel extremely guilty for having the gall to expect “me” time when I’m already away from my son for so many hours during the week. Run Like a Mother (RLAM) reminded me that I don’t just do it for me – I do it for everyone around me.
Sure, going out for a run, whether its a 30-minute run or a 3-hour run, is definitely a lot of me time that I wouldn’t otherwise get. But its also a great example for Liam. When I was growing up, both of my parents had very physical jobs, and when they came home they were exhausted. I don’t think I often saw either one of them work out in any way. As a result, I don’t think that the importance of activity was really impressed upon me as a kid. Liam, on the other hand, already recognizes my running garb and tells me to have a good run as I head out the door. He’ll grow up remembering that I ran and as he grows, I hope that well talk about why it’s important to be active in one way or another. Mommy runs, daddy bikes, and Liam can do whatever he chooses.
Also, RLAM reminded me that while a run certainly de-stresses me, it has the same effect on my family. When I don’t run, I’m a total lunatic. I’m stressed out because I haven’t had a chance to pound that my feelings into the pavement, and then I’m doubly stressed because I get nervous when I’m not able to exercise. I start obsessing about what I’m eating, what I’m doing, how I’m doing it, all in a pitiful effort to somehow make up those calories that I’d have otherwise spent running. The saying is true, “Happy wife, happy life.”. Whether I mean to or not, that stress gets projected onto my family. Much better for me to get out and run than it is for me to turn into a looney tune.
And finally, (and probably for me – most importantly) running makes me more fit. Being more fit means that I can run and jump and play with Liam easier, and longer than I might otherwise have been able to do. I want Liam to look back on his childhood and remember that I was able to play games with him outside, and just generally run around and goof off with him. Exercising really helps me to be able to do that, and it makes me happy to know that I’ll be able to be there for Liam in every way imaginable, and hopefully for his kids too.
So, if there’s ever any doubt in my mind that I’m being selfish by going out for a run, I just need to remind myself that I’m not the only one benefitting from the exercise, and with that, I’ll need to get my ass out the door!