I know I’m a little late to the party here, but I’m still ruminating over Mother’s Day. While most of my Mother’s Day weekend was wonderful—including running with my son in his first 5k and my husband taking care of dinner and clean up on Sunday—there was one moment that pushed me off my cloud for a little while, and has been on my mind ever since.
My 5-year-old daughter Paige was excited to give me her handwritten card that she made at school, which had the pre-printed heading, “If I had one wish for my mom . . .” at the top. I started reading her written response aloud, expecting something along the lines of, “I wish my mom would let me eat more popsicles.”
But here’s what it actually said: “I wish mommy could have so much money so mommy could play with me.”
Translation: she wished I didn’t have to work so I could play with her.
I looked over at my husband, whose eyes had gone wide. Paige was still smiling, so I smiled back. But man, was I crushed on the inside. Insert dagger, and twist.
AND CUE THE GUILT.
I will admit that have been working a lot lately, both at my day job and in the evenings, either training clients or prepping for early morning boot camp. Paige has heard—probably more often than usual lately—that I can’t play with her at that moment because I need to work. She ALWAYS asks me why I work, and typically, as part of my explanation, I tell her that it’s because we need money to pay for our house, pay for groceries, and lots of other things. I find money to be a tricky discussion with kids (and if anyone has advice on it, I’m all ears) and with Paige in particular.
Guilt is not a new emotion for me. On any given day, I’ll feel guilty that I’m not spending enough time with my kids, or that I’m spending more time with one kid over another, or that I haven’t organized a night out with my husband in a while, or that I’ve missed the first half of my son’s lacrosse games a lot because I want to get in a workout first.
But the kids are actually pretty used to me going to the gym or going for a run, and sometimes they come with me to the gym on Saturdays when there’s day care. But if I go out alone, I usually come back in a good mood, so I’m usually quickly forgiven for being gone.
A lot of my fellow moms have told me that they feel guilty taking the time for themselves to go to the gym. I completely understand. When your kids look at you with those sad, wide eyes, looking at you like you’re leaving for the other side of the world can be so hard to walk away from.
But here’s the good news. You don’t need to spend an hour or two at the gym—or even go to the gym—to get in a good workout. Don’t underestimate the power of an intense 20 or 30 minute workout to get things done, even if it’s in the middle of your kitchen.
So as my gift to all of you, fellow busy moms (or just busy people!), here are a few fantastic resources for quick and sweaty workouts:
- The Mommy’s a Hottie workout by Jessica Oar, owner of Be PowerFULL: Jessica Oar is awesome (do yourself a favor and follow her on social media) and this new FREE workout called “Mommy’s a Hottie” is something you can do at the park while your kids are playing around you. Don’t be surprised if a fellow mom asks to join you.
- Modern Women’s Guide to Strength Training: If you’ve ever looked over at the shadowy part of the gym where the weights are and felt intimidated, start by ordering this plan and watching the videos on the site. The consortium of women who run this site are amazing (including a former rugby player, Jen Sinkler) and will get you well on your way to strength.
- HIIT cardio workouts by Jill Coleman, owner of JillFit: Jill is a former figure competitor and an amazing fitness entrepreneur. The free HIIT workouts she has on her site include different interval programs for different machines at the gym. The one for the treadmill is awesome and a great way to amp up your run at the gym. No more treadmill boredom.
Also, if you follow me on Facebook, you know that I post a new video every Sunday with tips for quick home-based exercises. Pick 2 or 3 exercises for a quickie workout and get on with your day. No side order of guilt needed.