Misty Marshall: Mommy Guilt
I have been thinking about how to inspire more people and of all of the questions I have had this week the biggest one has been â??how do you find the time to work outâ??. The answer to that question is I make time. I am a very busy person, I have three more weeks of undergraduate school before I finish my degree, I have an internship placement for my school, and four kids who demand (and should have) my time and attention. My four dogs require their â??snuggle timeâ??, and of course I must foster the most important relationship in my life, the one with my husband Dave. How do I balance my time? Wellâ?¦ let me tell you, itâ??s not easy.
When I started college I cried the entire drive to Cadillac from my mom and dadâ??s house in Rapid City. My daughter was very young and we had just started the adoption process for my boys. My husband stayed home with the kids and is quite capable of caring for them but I had such an overwhelming sense of guilt about leaving them. I felt selfish. I felt like I was neglecting my responsibility of motherhood and seeking my own selfish desires. Somehow it was as if in my mind, if I was not there with my kids twenty-four seven, I was going to break their spirits.
This guilt stayed w
ith me for a long time until one day sitting in one of my classes I nearly had a break down moment. My son Joshua somehow walked through rain and made his socks wet. Rather than letting them dry or taking them off and tell someone he took them off and threw them in the garbage. This is probably a very instinctive act for a six year old but to me when my father picked him up from school and he didnâ??t have socks on I was devastated. He told me he threw them away but somehow I thought it was my fault.
One of my professors questioned me as to what was wrong as she could see I was devastated. I told her about my son. She laughed and said it sounded like something her son would have done and just looked at me and said these two words â??mommy guiltâ??. That to me was what they call an â??ahaâ?? moment. I realized that what I was doing in school was to better my family in the long run, and the sacrifice of spending a few hours away from them at night was not going to cause them permanent damage.
What is different about bettering yourself with education and bettering your health when the focus is to make yourself healthy so you can be around for your family? I am not going to go into the benefits of healthy living because we hear about it every day but if we look at the big picture both aspects of taking care of ourselves are very important. To me, I am learning, if I donâ??t take care of myself I have very little to give my family.
When I started exercising I was greatly encouraged by a very special friend of mine named Danette. She is one of my professors at Baker College. She is a school social worker and has a very demanding job. She teaches us at night and believe it or not, college students can be very demanding too! Danette encouraged me to begin this journey by somehow convincing me to walk into the gym at Baker College. She told me that I could do it! She told me I had potential! She believed in me! Danette taught me a very valuable lesson because even though she is very busy I rarely miss seeing her at the gym. Everyone knows not to mess with Danetteâ??s exercise time because it is the time during the day where she takes time for herself. Guess whatâ?¦ Danette is also a mom with some very well adjusted and healthy children! I am so grateful for this example because it has set a standard within me, to make my health a priority.
In Closing, Looking at the big picture. Maybe the question should be rephrasedâ?¦How can I not take time to exercise? It is okay to be a mom who does things for herself. It is okay to be a mother that escapes from motherhood for an hour a day to put time and energy into keeping herself healthy. It is not selfish to invest in you!
So mommas, your challenge this weekâ?¦ what are you doing for YOU?