The Gym, the Guilt and the Undying Search for Balance
The guilt is overwhelming sometimes. Most of the time.
It doesn’t help that the little guys in my life HATE coming with me to the gym. Or that they ask, “why do you ALWAYS have to go to that gymmmmmm?”
I am insanely fortunate to have found a phenomenal CrossFit gym with a supportive and encouraging coach who allows me to let my children play on their tablets and do their homework while I work out. But, I still feel incredibly awful dragging them to sit there so I can do something that is solely and completely just for me.
All the self-help people and women’s magazines tell us that we just simply must make the time to do something for ourselves. It is essential that we take care and have something to call our own. But I am not sure what the point is at which I am taking too much for myself.
I already work outside of the home as a teacher. So, that’s “mine.” I work out somewhat faithfully twice a week. I get my nails done every two weeks or so. I see a chiropractor semi-regularly. I get my hair highlighted and cut every six to eight weeks. If I wanted to add a third gym day in or see a physical therapist to figure out why I always have to pee when I jump rope, I feel as though that is just going to far.
And, I have to admit that I don’t know who I am more afraid will judge me: my kids, my husband, society at large or ME.
So, I work out two days a week and while that is wonderful, I am not progressing that quickly. I’d love to be able to tell you that I can do real pull-ups and bench-press 250 lbs., but those would both be lies. Since starting at my gym 14 months ago, I have not managed to squeeze out one single actual real pull-up. Or push-up. Or unbroken 400-meter run.
The former, couch-potato me would say, “but you’re out there and you’re doing something and you’re sweating and doing something amazing for your body.”
Yep. I am.
But, can I justify it?
What is a mother supposed to do? No, really. What am I supposed to do? What percentage of “me” time is acceptable? How many gym days can I have without being a “bad mother”? If I drag the kids with me tomorrow so I can pick out new frames for my glasses, do I have to counterbalance that which was done solely for my (and not their direct) benefit with ice cream or trips to the park or other bribery/rewards/”quality time with the kids”?
Today, during my front squat, my coach told me I had to take weight off of the bar. That’s demoralizing. While I was thankful for the lighter load to bear, I also wondered about whether that made me weak. But, his cue to me let me know that in that moment I was taking on too much. I needed to scale back. I wish I had a better system in place to help cue me as to when I have taken on an improper balance of time dedicated to the different elements of my own life.