Why Must Moms Feel Guilty For Working Out?

Correct me if I'm wrong, maybe Dads feel the pressure too? But in my experience, when you hear about a dad working out, you hear 'He's taking care of himself. He's keeping in shape so he can be be there for his family etc etc'. Yet, in my experience, when you hear about a Mom working out you hear "I can't believe she puts her kid in the gym child care so she can workout. She runs after her kids go to bed? That's just crazy!! I hear she runs at 5am before her family gets up. That's insane!" and the comments go on and on.

When I am asked about my working out, I immediately feel that I need to justify why. Today, a friend innocently asked how many hours do I feel that I need to spend at the gym.
I wish now I would have clarified that I don't NEED to spend any hours at the gym. I choose to spend time running, lifting weights, rowing, using the elliptical and other various equipment at the gym.

People read, crochet, cross-stitch, paint, draw, watch TV, fish, hunt and the list goes on and on. Yet in most cases people (Moms especially) don't feel the need to justify spending time doing those things.

Then tell me why do Mom athletes (and yeah, I'm going to for the first time toss my name into that list. I am by no means an elite, but I am an athlete) feel that we have to justify that time for ourselves? It's no different than other hobbies. Why do people assume we are neglecting our families when we work out?

Let me tell you my story. When I don't work out, after a few days, my family BEGS me to run, or just do something. My temperament is so much better after I get in a workout. Call it the endorphins, or the feeling of accomplishment, or just doing something for 'me', but I am in a better mood and generally more productive on a day that I get a good workout in.

Thankfully I have a supportive husband who recognizes the importance of me doing something that's for me, which in the long run, also helps our entire family.

My workouts are usually before my family wakes up. Or Lil Man and I will go to the gym where he has interaction with other kids, or get this, at the gym, just time away from ME where he can learn to be a little more independent, and interact with others. Sometimes I run with him (still) in the jogger. I from time to time will workout once Hubby gets home, but usually by then I'm too exhausted. So most of my workouts are early morning and mid-morning. And those times that I don't go to the gym, my workouts include Lil Man.

Exercise is a part of the 'normal' for Lil Man, and I love that. He has his own set of weights, and he works out with me. He also loves resistance bands.

So yes, I do take my family into consideration when I workout. I try my best to do it at times that won't put my family at any hardship. So why then do I feel the need to justify my desire to workout? That I tell you is crazy.

And for me, the justification needs to stop.

There are enough areas in my life that I can feel "Mom guilt" over, but working out shouldn't be one of them.

What are your thoughts? Do you feel the need to justify your workouts?

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