I got a little winded running to make a train the other day, which unnerved me. It was time to face the huffing-puffing truth: I’m not in great shape. I haven’t regularly worked out in a gym for 10 years. Yes, an entire decade. Ten is how old my son is, and since his birth and his sister’s two years later, workouts have fallen to the wayside. The way-way-wayside.
Sure, I’ve tried—a Zumba class here, a speed-walk to work there. A few months ago, I went on a binge at a fitness gear store and bought all this workout clothing to inspire me. For months the pile of clothes sat on a shelf in my closet, mocking me. Inevitably, all the other priorities of my life took over and I didn’t get around to exercising. As usual, my needs are dead last on my to-do list…including, sadly, my health.
I know, of course, that in order to be the best mom to my kids—and be around for them for a long time and be able to chase after them when they try to escape me at the mall—I need to take better care of my body. It’s just hard finding time. Or, rather, making the commitment to put myself ahead of all the other priorities in my life: child care, home care, boss care, husband care. There’s always something that I could or should be tackling instead of exercising. Some days, taking a freaking bathroom break feels like a luxury. I’m hardly alone here; in a survey of 3,230 women recently conducted by Real Simple magazine and the Families & Work Institute, 61 percent polled said they felt guilty for spending time on themselves.
Losing my breath as I ran for that train was my wake-up call. I am too young for this, I thought. And while I need to be in good health for my kids, I also need to do it for me. That’s exactly when I decided I was going to carve out morning workout time. My husband could help the kids get ready for school as I speed-walked/kinda-sorta-jogged around our neighborhood for 30 minutes. It’s not that I’m such a morning person; it’s just that time of day when I have the fewest excuses.
It’s been two weeks now, and I’ve gotten out there seven times. Aside from the disconcerting wobbly bits that jiggle when I jog, already, I feel a little bit better about myself—and determined to stick with it. But I could use a little companionship, and I’m thinking that if other moms committed to being good to their bodies, too, we’d all be watching each others’ backs (and butts). And that if we moms shared ways we can take better care of our bodies, schedules and car pools and homework and housework be damned—or at least temporarily put on hold—it could be seriously inspiring to us all.
So I’m inviting you to mother yourself and take the MomME Pledge. Leave a comment with one key thing you can do to take better care of your body, and how you’re gonna do it. Like me, it could be about the way you’re going to work exercise into your schedule. Or it could be a vow to eat more whole-grain stuff or veggies; do yoga a couple of times a week to stretch your poor, tired, kid-carrying muscles; start taking vitamins; or finally get to the doc for that check-up you’ve postponed since the last election.
What one thing can you do to better take care of your body? Share below. Feel free to tweet it with the hashtag #MomME. Put a Post-it on your medicine chest if it helps.
It’s a simple way of proclaiming that for once, you’re putting YOU first. If we don’t mother ourselves, who’s going to?
Image: istock/Carey Hope
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