I spend a lot of time with my kids. I’m a stay at home mom of 3 kids ages 1 to 8 so my days are inundated with the needs of little people from the second I wake up in the morning.
I gladly give myself to them. I wipe butts, launder clothes, make beds and prepare meals. I do most things thanklessly and I could care less. I don’t need a thank you for serving my family. I do so with gratitude that I have a family. I love them all and take my role as mom seriously. I’ve heeded the warnings and recognized that the years are short so I don’t take these moments for granted. Even the drudgery.
But I also don’t feel guilty for taking time for myself. Every single day. For one hour a day day, I leave the kids and head to our gym. I clear my head. I run. I stretch. I do crunches. I talk to my friends. Sometimes I leave the kids in the gym daycare. Sometimes with their father or a sitter. But my sanity is that one hour of sweat and solitude on the treadmill or trail.
I need it. I’ve always loved exercise and the endorphins that rush through me afterwards. The positive charge I get from running exudes into my life and well being. I find myself working out and feeling joy at the current state of affairs in my household. As my mind clears of the monotony of the day to day it’s freed up to see the whole picture which is pretty darn beautiful.
And sometimes I don’t think about my family. Sometimes I stare at myself running on the treadmill – I look at my reflection in the glass- and I can see myself clearly. I’m strong. My circumstances have all changed since I was 16 and first started running, but my soul is the same. I look a little older, a little wiser. My hair is longer, and my face is more serious. Sometimes I’m surprised to see her- me- still in there with every step.
But every time I come home refreshed. I feel clear. Peaceful. It saves my sanity. And I don’t feel guilty. Not when I leave them to go, not when I carve that time for myself.
Women, especially mothers, easily forget that self care is part of being a care taker. You need to look after yourself to be the be able to effectively look after others. So don’t feel guilty. Steal the moment and do what you need to do. Exercise, meet friends, get your nails done, meditate, do yoga, cook, read a book.
Your family will thank you.