I almost forgot about myself after my son was born. I almost just let myself go, which I think has more meaning than simply letting one’s appearance “go.” It’s letting go of any hopes and dreams for yourself.
Luckily, I had a wake-up call.
I may be unpopular for saying this, but being a mom is NOT ALL ABOUT YOUR KIDS. Yes, it is A LOT about your kids, but it is NOT ALL. And being a wife is NOT ALL ABOUT YOUR HUSBAND. It’s not about everything they want, and dream.
MOMS HAVE DREAMS, TOO!
(This works both ways, by the way. Dads also have dreams! It’s just, in general, they’re better about making time for them.)
Have you read this New York Times article about the amazing Olympic swimmer Janet Evans? Growing up, I was a swimmer. She was an inspiration to me. For crying out loud, she won three gold medals at the age of 17 in the ’88 Olympics and another gold in 1992. She STILL holds the American record in the 800-meter free, which she set in 1989.
Janet Evans is now 40. And she’s still an inspiration! She’s been on a 14-year hiatus, during which she had two children. She’s making a comeback, and will swim in the Olympic trials in June.
People are saying she’s a long-shot, but in the NYT article she said she doesn’t care. For her, it’s more about the experience of making it to the trials and even competing at age 40 and after having children.
“‘I struggled with turning 40,” Evans said (in the article). ‘It was a hard birthday for me. Someone said to me, “How do you feel now that your life is half over?” I wasn’t ready to accept that it was all downhill from here. As a mom, you put so many things on the back burner. For me to find time to train, it was like this gift I could give myself. I think it can come out selfishly to say that, but it was something I could do for myself to feel good about being middle-aged, for lack of a better word.'”
I loved this. You don’t have to WIN the race to WIN. Even a 4-time Olympic gold medalist gets it! But then I read this:
“Evans said she had been criticized on social networking sites for training when she should be home with her children.”
Are you freaking kidding me? Is this freaking for real? WHO said this? WHO?! I HOPE it was not other moms because shame on them. First of all, worry about yourself. Second of all, if Janet Evans’s name was Jim Evans and she was a dad, would ANYONE have said this? I was SO MAD when I read this. Still mad. My heart is beating faster thinking about it.
In the article, Janet says she gets up early and swims from 5:30-7:30 “so she can make it home in time for breakfast.” I do this. I run on my lunch hour or get up and swim at 5:30, 6 a.m. Or, occasionally, my 3-1/2-year-old son rides along in the bike trailer. But sometimes, on the days I don’t work in an office, I drop T Junior off at daycare so I can work and work out. I know there are people who probably think I’m a bad mom for doing that. Even I struggle with it. But I need a little time to myself, too, to work on my dreams. (And my dreams don’t involve cleaning my house or cooking or running errands.)
Swimming in the trials is something Janet wants to do again at age 40. It’s her dream right now. But swimming is also basically her job (or one of them). Right? Do dad professional athletes feel like they need to get their “job” done before 7:30 in the morning?
I don’t want to make this about women vs. men because it’s not the dudes I’m mad at. They do what they have to do. What I’m angry about it is all the critics who feel they have a right to make assumptions about the time a female professional athlete, who also happens to be a mom, spends “working” on her career. On her dream.
What year is it? Did the criticism about Janet spending time on training get your blood boiling, too? What are your dreams? How are you making time to work on achieving them?
I often get odd looks from other mom’s when I say that my life isn’t about my child, when she was born my life didn’t stop and I was only a Mom. Instead my child came into my life and became a part of my life – I became a mom, along with being a wife, a sister, a daughter, full time employee, a reader, and any other label I put upon myself. Finding the time to make things work as any parent is important. I have turned my Sunday long run days, into pool days for the little one as well. I run, then we go to the pool – not only does she have fun but the pool is great for recovery on my legs, and the hot tub isn’t half bad either.
I so agree with you! Training is time for me. I have goals, they just happen to be fitness or athletic goals. I cannot be a mom 100% of the time and remain sane note be a good mom to my kids to boot. If anything, the time I take away for training helps me to be a better mom for my kids when I am there with them. Plus, I am being a positive role model for them. My 3.5 yr old loves to join me in workouts and thinks it is fun. 🙂
What kind of crap is this?!?! I’m not even a Mom and this pisses me off. Don’t people understand Janet will be a better parent, wife, friend by following her dreams? People please.
It does bother me because I would say most moms are with their children at least 75% of the day while most dads time is less. For me it is absolutely important that I get an hour to myself each day for the benefit of my family. I want to be patient, kind, loving, energetic, and clear minded. Not frustrated, exhausted, burnt out, and bordering on abusive. Not even my kids want to be around me that much and they have learned so much more about caring for their bodies by watching mom and dad take time for it.
Great post. I feel that moms will always feel guilty about something. It bothers me as well that that guilt would be about working out while someone else takes care of your children. Healthy mom = healthy kids, at my house anyway.
Right on Kerrie!! I feel the same way!! I know there is always a negative Nancy or Ned but people need to realize in order to be a better mom we must better ourselves because our kids will follow what we do more often than what we say. If we are not good role models for them then who will they be following? If she does not follow her dreams then she could potentially be missing out on being the best mom she can be because maybe her daughter will be the next girl Olympic swimmer that wins like Michael Phelps and it all started by watching her mama?
Taking some time for myself helps me be a better mama because if I don’t, I can get grouchy!
So if I have to get up early or drop my baby girl at Grammy’s house, so be it!
Exercise and Running are good things to show your kids to do 🙂
I love this post!!! I am a 43 year old mom. Who is in the process of learning to run again. Do not feel guilty about taking time for yourself. All my children are teenagers now, and trust me they still think mom should always be there just for them. My nineteen year old daughter told me the one day as I headed out to my work-out that Life wasn’t all about working out. No, it isn’t but having mom around to take care of you for a long time is what life is about. I did not feel guilty at all. I need to get stronger and have more patience. And the only way I can get that way is through working out. Just think about the example you are setting for your children. My oldest son is a power-lifting champion and is my strength training coach. It truly a family affair!! Oh, and my daughter after I showed her the cute running outfits the runner’s wear at there races. Well, now she has taken an interest in running. Keep up the good work!!
Yes! Exactly! That always gets me fired up too! It is amazing how much moms put on hold, give up, ignore to put their families first. And it is okay, even appropriate for awhile…but if it becomes the new normal, that one person in the family loses everything in order for the rest of the family to be content, that is NOT a long term solution. Yup, fired up myself. Love this post!
Omg, love this! I think I would end up shooting myself if all I had to do was laundry, cleaning, cooking, and more laundry. My running is precious “me time” to me and it helps me be ok with doing everything else like the laundry, the cleaning, the cooking…Thanks for the post and for the reminder to take time for yourself.
I don’t even remember what my last “I want to do with my life” dream was…I’ve so settled into the Mom/Wife/waitress/housecleaner role” It’s like being in quicksand…so hard to get out. I think she’s amazing for going after her dream, and YOU ARE TOO! Congratulation of finding a way to swim and run…you need it to keep yourself happy and sane. You were you long before you were a mom and wife.