The list of terrifying thoughts that routinely entered my mind as I diligently worked to find my career and my place in the work force after having spent nearly 7 years at home raising children and trying to be an obedient military wife was long and scary. I am ashamed to admit that running a very close second to the concern for how my kids would acclimate to long hours of preschool and ESS after having me there every second of every day was a selfish and resounding "how am going to get my workouts in?!?". All in one month, I went from becoming a full time stay at home mom with time to spare to a divorced single mom of two and a full time employee. I need to workout. I need to feel like I'm pushing my physical limits. I need to feel lean and sexy. The only place I felt like I was alive and an individual person with any value or special qualities for the previous 7 years was the gym. When I miss even one planned workout, my day is incomplete and I'm less to everybody around me. Less of a happy playful mom, less of a fun friend, less of a productive employee, less of an energetic dog owner, just less.
So while I was going through the scary process of starting a whole new life and trying to be a person my kids could model themselves after, I realized that I need to take care of myself so I can take care of everybody else. My brother once said something to me that resonates years later and helps to ease my guilty "I'm a horrible mom because I took a half hour to run before I went to pick up the kids" feelings. He reminded me of the flight attendant when you're about to take off and they tell you if you have small children that you should secure your mask first before helping others with theirs. The purpose of this policy is basically if you pass out, everybody depending on you has less of a chance...you're less useful to them if you're broken down.
As a mom, I prioritize my kids, it's just what you do. But, I also recognize that sometimes that means prioritizing myself, my health and my needs so I can be more of what they need. For me, that means I NEED A WORKOUT! Yeah, it's hard to find the time and some days that means I get up at 4:45 to hit a workout in the garage before they get up. Sometimes that means I leave work a half hour early to get a run at the park. Sometimes that means my whole day goes to hell and I'm stuck at work and then in traffic and I just can't...but at least I tried. It takes a lot if planning but its possible. You have the right to prioritize yourself and you'll do a better job for your family if you do. Plan ahead and do the best you can...that's all anybody can ask of you.