Mom guilt

As a mom with 14-, 12- and 10-year-old boys, the most important lesson I have learned is to be the example of the person you want them to be. This is with all aspects of their lives. The best way for them to see how to take care of their health is by seeing their parents do it. It’s the same thing with the spiritual side of their lives. If we want them to go to church as adults and be faithful, then we need to be going to church as a model and be faithful. If we want them to be polite, we have to be polite to others.

I exercise most days and don’t let other things get in the way because I know for my physical and mental well-being I need to stay in shape. I hope my boys model this lifelong habit of being active. I was lucky enough to stay home with all three of them when they were young. But like many mothers, I was missing a “work challenge.” When the boys got old enough to go to school, I changed career fields and became a personal trainer because I truly like to create a positive difference in people’s lives and I needed a flexible schedule.

What I found when I was training moms was that some of them felt guilty taking time out of their day to care for themselves. They told me, “I feel guilty taking an hour to workout daily, because I’m taking away time I could be spending with my family.” When they made statements like this, I would simply remind them that one of our jobs as mothers was to be the healthy example for our children. Lots of mothers throw themselves into motherhood and believe they are only seen as great moms if they give up “selfish pursuits” like exercise, shopping for a new outfit, a girl’s night out (all though we manage this one).

I do make sacrifices for these things, but I feel I do a fair job fitting it in while still being available and present. Fitting in a workout is not always the easiest of task to do. There are compromises that have to be made to make it happen, especially when workloads and family life are hectic. Here is an example of how my husband and I will fit in a workout, when most people they would say there is no time. On Sunday mornings my husband works out before church, leaving me to get the boys ready and out the door , we meet him there. This is a pain and sometimes we are barely getting there on time, but If he “knocks it out,” he has time later in the day to mow, go to the boy’s events and practice sports with the boys to help better their skills. We work together as a team because we know that staying fit is important. As moms we may feel a little guilty if the roles were reversed, but that is “mom guilt” for you.

The same sacrifices are true when it comes to building a business of our own. After being a personal trainer for several years, I was offered an opportunity that has completely changed my family’s life. Many women might not want to take time away from their families to build a business, especially if it’s one that they would be building from the ground up. They feel it’s not necessary, especially if they don’t feel their families “need the money” or if they do actually “need the money,” they may limit family spending again and not be burdened with having to take the effort and time. Some will choose to just sacrifice things in their lives instead of stepping into something that could be life-changing. I admire families who make sacrifices because being there as a wife and mom is important, especially if the husband’s job requires him to be gone, but sometimes when you put yourself out there your eyes open to more to what life has to offer.

I am sure when I started to build my current business four years ago other moms might have been thinking I was taking time away from my family but really it has had a positive impact on our lives. My sons are learning many lessons from us, as do kids learn from their parents every day, good or bad. My job has taught them how to think differently, outside the box. They don’t have to follow the traditional model to be successful. It’s also taught them to listen when someone has a business opportunity (not to be a closed door). Both my husband and I have taught them a strong work ethic. They know that it takes work to build a large business. They are learning the value the friendships and mentoring.

On the outside it might look like I take away from my family to exercise or attend trainings and meetings for my business, but on the inside it has only had positive effects on my three sons and family as a whole. I want women to let go of feeling the need to be everything for everyone and just set an example of what you should do in life to be a all around healthy person spiritually, physically and mentally and always be open to the idea of change; it’s not a bad thing. I am always growing in all three of these areas, so by no means am I saying I am perfect. Life is a journey and one day our kids will be grown adults. What they learn from us will be embedded in their lives for good. Let’s say good-bye to “mom guilt” and start living the life we want our kids to live.