One Mom’s Journey from Fat to Skinny to Confident

JOURNAL

Mommy Guilt – Should We Feel Guilty?

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I received this comment from Michelle the other day.

I am a school teacher and I just had my baby girl four months ago. I am struggling to keep up with everything and be healthy. How do you manage it? Like getting to the gym. I joined the Abingdon YMCA with the intention of stopping after I pick her up from daycare, but I feel guilty for not going home and spend time with her after she was in daycare all day. How do you get over the "Mommy Guilt"?

Ahhh mommy guilt.  Oh I know it well. I definitely have it and I don’t think it ever goes away. Does it? Those with older kids please chime in.  My little guy is only 2.

So the question is how do we balance what we need do for us with the needs of our children.  I think this is tough for all moms, especially working moms.  We are away from our little ones all day so how do we justify leaving them again to go to the gym? How do we balance what we need to do for ourselves with being a mommy?

I’m not sure I have the answer. I’m just a mom juggling too many things myself but I can share my insights.  First, when my little guy was an infant I didn’t go to the gym. Remember I just started working out at a gym a couple of months ago but that doesn’t mean I didn’t “workout”. 

  • I went for longs walks normally carrying or ‘wearing’ the baby.  I figured the extra weight would do me good.  Not that pushing a stroller isn’t workout enough, especially if you need to tackle some hills! Sometimes I’d even get the husband to come with us.  I love family walks.
  • I made up my own mommy and baby workouts. Whether it was dancing with the baby (just trying and hold a 20lb child with your arms straight out while dancing to James Brown All-Time Greatest Hits!) or laying down and placing him on shins while bouncing him up and down.  He loved it and I was burning calories!

Now, I hit the gym and I love every minute of it.  Really, I wish I started earlier. I try t go during the workday but it’s not always possible.  I’m not going to lie, there are days where I pick up the toddler and go straight to the gym.  It only takes me about 40 minutes and afterward the toddler and I play basketball on the open courts.

Does this make me a bad mommy?

I don’t think so.

In my opinion, I’m setting a good example for the little guy.  He already knows what the gym is and enjoys going.  We get to be active together as a family and I think that’s great. He will grow up seeing his mom take care of herself and know how important it is incorporate physical activity into your daily life.  I don’t think I have anything to be guilty about. Others may disagree, but that’s my take. When push comes to shove, a happy mom is a better mom.

As for today, the same thing happened as yesterday. I’m having a week of nighttime munch attacks!


Morning Scale Reading: 142
Food Points
banana 2
homemade stromboli from this weekend (trader joes whole wheat pizza dough, broccoli, peppers, lean ham, turkey pepperoni and moz cheese) 7
orange 1
Beef Stew with Orange Fall Veggies and Orzo 7
8 oz light flavored yogurt 2
granola bar 2
apple 1
94% ff popcorn big bag 4
Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffin 2
4 Halloween Brownie Bites (that’s right, FOUR) 3
Total 26
Daily Activity Log
nada


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Discussion

There are 26 comments so far.

    Anonymous

    October 24, 2007

    I think maybe she should work in her workout during her lunch hour. A full day is a long day away from a baby.

    Tabitha

    October 25, 2007

    I totally understand the mommy guilt! That is actually what has kept me out of the gym these last few months :( I’m at a healthy weight but I enjoy reading your site, Roni, for tips on how to stay that way ;) I just turned 21, I’m married, my son’s almost 2, I go to school full-time for petroleum engineering (I graduate in May. . . FINALLY lol), and I work approx. 20 hrs/wk at a local energy company. . . by the time our day is done I feel terrible taking him to another daycare (we go to the Y too). . . I think during winter break I’ll start taking your advice Roni!
    Thanks for having such a wonderful website!! :)

    Diet Coke and Zingers

    October 25, 2007

    A happy mommy is a better mommy- The time I take for myself pays off for my kids in the end because the result is a more patient, more energetic mother when I’m with them!

    Fitness Health Zone

    October 25, 2007

    Hi Roni,

    You are right long walks always work. Walking is the simple and easiest form of exercise which doesn’t need any special equipment.

    All we need for walking is one pair of comfortable shoes.

    Tiffany

    October 25, 2007

    PLEASE DON’T WAIT UNTIL YOUR SON IS 8, LIKE ME. THE GUILT ATE AT ME. I THOUGHT IT WAS TERRIBLE IF I HAD ONE SECOND FOR MYSELF IF MY POOR SON NOAH HAD TO BE IN DAYCARE ANY LONGER.

    RONI… HAVE YOU EVER TRIED NO PUDGE BROWNIES???? TO DIE FOR!!!

    Anonymous

    October 25, 2007

    I recently trained for and ran my first marathon after losing 40 pounds in WW. My 2-1/2 year old son spent a lot of time with friends and grandparents (after a day at daycare) so that I could run. Sure I felt guilty at times, but having him finish the last tenth of mile running beside me at my marathon made things worth it. He won’t remember all the time away, he’ll remember his healthy mom being there for him throughout his life.

    MAA6334

    October 25, 2007

    To all the mothers out there that feel this way. STOP! I am a father of two of the most beautiful girls, and they are MY children as well as my wife’s. Now I know not every family is made up of two parents, for those that are this is an equal job. Your husbands should be offering to give you time away from the children. It doesn’t hurt my ego either when all the mothers at the park are looking at the daddy with his girls.

    I think it definately takes a second child to realize that you don’t need to be with them for every free moment.Your children will begin depend on you for everything if you are with them 24/7, and that is not always a good thing.
    If you pay the daycare until 5pm and you get out of work a little early take that for YOU! If your husband is sitting in front of the TV watching the RED SOX sweep the World Series, hand them the kid and take off. I know I’ve kinda been all over the place with this post but this subject is very close to me. My final words are… FATHERS NEVER BABYSIT! THEY TAKE CARE OF THEIR CHILDREN!

    Leticia

    October 25, 2007

    I’m so there…to help me, I go work out in the morning, first thing before anyone is awake. If the kids are asleep, then it helps ease some of the guilt for me…but of course, you should not feel guilty.

    My problem is trying to wake up that early when your baby kept you up all night. My baby is 5 months and not sleeping through the night. I don’t want to make excuses, but the times that he wakes up 2-3 times a night i just do not have the energy to wake up at 4:45 to work out. After work, everything is so busy I rarely have time for anything after I get home from work its time to cook then usually start the bath time routines for both kids. I need to figure out a way to get my workouts in no matter what…

    We should be a priority too.

    Tonya

    October 25, 2007

    Hello Roni and everyone,
    Roni, this is a great site; I appreciate you for doing this, sharing and allowing us to share!
    Now, today’s topic-
    Mommy: 1)someone on call 24/7 no matter where you are or where your children are!! 2)the front line to and for our family! 3)nurturer, confidant,cleaner-uper of all sorts,…{feel free to finish the rest of this lengthy definition}
    Guilt: 1)a worthless feeling we put on ourselves because we allow inadequate and insecure feelings. Put those two together, and what do we get: Mommy guilt, feeling like we need to literally ‘be’ 24/7 and we aren’t- WHEW. Something many moms experience @ one point or another.
    I am a stay @ home mom of 5 children (my oldest is five and in K5, the others are 3, 3, 2 and 1). I used to feel bad for needing a break DAILY (outside of my house, away from being “mommy and wifey” a place where I can be just ‘Tonya’)- not anymore. Let me tell you– IT IS OKAY!
    You even writing to Roni speaks volumes- you are family oriented and love your child; working out @ the gym will NOT take away from that. [It is a great thing, side note- start now as time goes on, people will look @ you funny when you say you are working off baby weight and your child(ren) are walking and running all over the place]. Working out, it actually adds to it, it enhances who you are to you and your family. I can go on and on, but I won’t- I am preachin’ to myself to and you w/ my overflow. Anyway, the saying goes “If Mama ain’t happy, no one is”.
    And to maa6334, the father who commented- your wife is blessed to have you. I know b/c my husband is the same way. There are days when we tag time b/c I need a break from my day. I literally stand in our foyer and he calls me just as he is pulling into our subdivision, he leaves the car running and I just hop in the car as he hops into the house.
    Be good to yourself, everyone around you will be blessed for it. I degress, need more adult interaction (can’t you tell?)!

    Ali

    October 25, 2007

    I personally believe that kids need to grow a bond with mom or dad at home during the first years of their lives. (I just can’t imagine some factory (daycare) with screaming kids who get no one on one attention or interaction is a good environment for growing babies. I get my exercise in with my children dancing to music, playing outside, etc. Maybe sometimes mommy guilt in your inner feelings about what you know you should be doing instead. I’m not saying that getting out for a bit without the kids isn’t a good idea…..I just can’t imagine it everyday 8-5 then hurry because you only have three busy hours before they go to bed for them to get to know, trust, and form a bond with mommy and daddy. They are with other people longer than mommy and daddy during the day. Hmmmmm.

    do what works for you

    October 25, 2007

    Ali, no matter the sacrifices some make to stay home with their child(ren)- putting ourselves first as ‘mommies and daddies’ are putting our children first. We need to be in the best condition for our families.
    As mothers, we need to know for our own individuals selves (and children) why we stay or don’t/can’t stay @ home!! There are some awful stay @ home moms who are w/ their children all day and night (I personally know some). There are also Moms that choose/have to work 9-5 jobs that are GREAT!!!!
    Ali, I know you are expressing your personally opinion, however be mindful that there is nothing like a mother’s love, it is the quality of it, not the quanity of it– it simply can’t be measured!!!!
    This subject is so touchy for so many and from one mother to another, we should be mindful in what we say- not making each other feel bad (directly or indirectly)
    for decisions made. Everyone circumstance is different, everyone is different period!!
    The bottom line is is the child receiving and feeling loved enough to love back, connect, bond, grow,…
    Now, to the school teacher who sparked all of this. I taught school for years before coming home to be a Stay @ Home Mom. I remember leaving that classroom
    T-I-R-E-D and BEAT @ times. So, if you have enough energy to workout, grab your baby from her caregiver and enjoy your family afterwards- GO FOR IT!!!! You are you daughter’s Mommie and she knows it FOR SURE!!

    Kathryn

    October 25, 2007

    Ali, don’t be presumptuous. You don’t know or understand other people’s circumstances, and it’s rude for you to attack people for making different decisions than you have.

    To Michelle–don’t feel guilty. You’re taking the time to make yourself healthy so that you’ll be around to enjoy your daughter’s life. Not only that, but you’re teaching her healthy attitudes toward her body, which is something all girls need good role models for. Just make the time that you do spend with her quality time, and when she’s a little older, you can incorporate your exercise time into your time with her.

    sherijung

    October 25, 2007

    As a mom of a 19 and a 14 year old, I can say that I did not figure this guilt thing out for myself at all. I only just started working out seriously this past year, even after working for many years for a company that had an onsite gym. I just felt like time in the gym was time away from my family that I was not willing to take. It was much easier when they were very very young, and still able to be in the stroller for walks. Of course, I could have gone out after their bed time, or done a video workout right there at home, so I certainly could have done something to be healthier with no mommy guilt. So my advice is to enjoy your children, but do take the time to be healthy, both for yourself and as an example for your kids. If something has to give, let it be housework, not family time or you-time.

    Anonymous

    October 25, 2007

    The first comment about working out on her lunch HOUR? Teachers get 23 minutes for lunch, and usually have a lunch duty, a student that needs extra help, a phone call to a parent, make photo copies, etc. There is no time for a teacher during the school day. After school, correcting, planning, tutering students that need extra help (no extra pay for that), answering emails and phone calls from parent, etc. My day starts at 5 am and I’m home (from school) around 5 pm. Then mommy mode kicks in. Dinner, my kids homework, laundry, dishes, make lunchs for the next day, etc. An hour lunch…..gee..that would be heaven!

    breckgirl

    October 25, 2007

    All women should take the time to take care of themselves, no matter if they work at home or away from the home. For me, personally, I have to work out after my son goes to bed. That is my only real choice and so even if I am tired, I do it because I want to lose this weight and I want to be healthy for my son as he grows up. I use workout DVD’s and it works, girls, it really works.

    The whole debate about daycare and working moms is so stupid and I truly can’t believe some people’s insulting attempts to make working mothers feel bad for a) working and b) taking an hour for themselves to exercise. Get real – women who sacrifice their health and their mental well-being to be slaves to their families are not happy people. My son may go to a “factory” (actually it is a loving home) but he LOVES the factory, he LOVES the women who care for him and he LOVES ME when I come and pick him up. He also loves the fact that I have energy to run and play with him and that I don’t sit on the couch, fat and exhausted, complaining about how fat and exhausted I am and how nobody ever does anything nice for me. Do something nice for yourself – get fit and healthy and happy – and you’ll be doing something very nice for your entire family. Mommy guilt is a useless waste of time and energy which is better spent on improving your lives through healthy living. Go for it.

    Anonymous

    October 25, 2007

    Working out with your toddler is a good thing. Even if he goes to the child care room. You do spend time after your done. I noticed you get the muches in the evening. Your muches seems to have alot of carbs; which only make you hungry . Just a thought .

    Michelle

    October 25, 2007

    Wow thanks for all of the great thoughts. I want to be a good role model for my daughter. I grew up over weight and my mother constantly harped on me about it. To this day she still does. When I got pregnant I changed the way I eat (it did not hurt that I threw up three times a day until I was 25 weeks LOL) I ended up losing weight with my pregnancy (I was over weight to start with and I just became very healthy) With in a month and a half of having her, I was 45lbs lighter then when I got pregnant. I have managed to keep it all off and now I want to move back into a losing mode. For the first time in my life I have a real reason to lose weight. My daughter. I want her to be healthy I want her to be happy. I want her to have a happy healthy Mom. That is part of the reason I joined the Y they have so many great family things and it will be fun for us as she gets a bit older. To take advantage of my Hubby we talked and I am going to start going on Sat and Sun and then one day after school. Three times a week is a really good start for someone like me. As I get more into it, then I will start going after school more often. I need to find a buddy, I do better when someone kicks my butt 

    Ali- I don’t want to start something on Roni’s journal, but you don’t know my life. I knew a long time ago that I could not be a SHAM. I like being a teacher. I work with special education students and I enjoy it. It gives my life meaning beyond the identify of wife and mom. Being a teacher allows me certain freedoms that other jobs would not. I do not have my child in a baby factory she is with a very nice lady and one other child. I know many parents that spend more quality time with their children and work than some of the SHAMS I know. I also know some great SHAMS. I admire them just as much as they admire me. We all have our lives to lead. The one thing I have noticed since becoming a mom is that there are many other WOMEN out there who are ready to quickly tear other women down. I am glad that you are a SHAM but you know as much about me as I do about you. I could just as easily say that you park you kid in front of the TV while you surf the net and respond to blogs. See how assuming things can work both ways? Roni I am sorry that I went off on this tangent. I felt the need to address this person. Thank you for this entry. I have only been reading you for a few months, but I find you tips a major source for help.

    hoohah

    October 25, 2007

    I have never commented on this blog before, but I felt compelled after reading all the attacks on ali. Listen, ali is entitled to HER opinion, just as you all are entitled to yours. She has her own perspective. If you open up your mind a little, she may even have some valid points. I’ve even heard of studies out there that have found that QUANTITY time is most definitely AS IMPORTANT as QUALITY time with our children. I know that’s not what working moms want to hear, but don’t shoot me–I’m just the messenger. Re: feeling guilt . . . my husband has always said to me, “No one can MAKE you feel guilty. You do it to yourself.” He has a point. It’s time for we women to be accountable to ourselves and stop blaming “other people” or “society” or even our own mothers for “making me feel guilty.” If you feel that you need time for yourself or you’ll go crazy (or become unhealthy), GO FOR IT. BUT, if you feel that your child needs to come first for a season of your life, GO FOR IT. I don’t see why there has to be such animosity towards people with differing opinions.

    julianne

    October 25, 2007

    I don’t think the guilt ever stops. It’s par for the Mama course. I like the working out at lunch suggestion or somehow incorporating the baby into the workout, although I think gym time is time well spent. I love going to the Y and my kids love the nursery (that helps ease the guilt).

    Roni

    October 25, 2007

    WOW I don’t think I ever started a “heated” topic before! I didn’t mean to go all controversial and start a WOHM and SAHM battle.

    Everyone has to do what’s right for them but I don’t think being a mom and working outside of the home is a reason not to work out if you want to.

    Michelle, I think your plan is PERFECT! I also try to go Sat and Sun and 1-2 days during the week. And If I go in the evening it’s normally a family affair, with quality time on the courts with the husband coming along as well.

    Email me if you want to chat! I may see you at the Y!

    Anonymous

    October 25, 2007

    okay hoohah, are you Ali or related to Ali?? I don’t believe anyone was trying to attack her. I do believe that very few agree w/ her.

    Ashley

    October 25, 2007

    Wow, I can’t believe how many people had biting comments about Ali. All she said was it’s good to spend time with your children. She didn’t say don’t have a job, she just said don’t keep them in daycare all day long, and she even gave some alternatives to what you could do to work out. I also think it’s VERY important to spend time with a young infant. When they’re that small, they’re easy to work out with. All the success in the workforce and in the world won’t make up for failure in your home.

    Chriss

    October 26, 2007

    Can’t we all just get along?? This is the VERY thing I hate about women-attacking each other to “save face” on an issue that’s very near and dear to BOTH of our hearts! To whoever it was who used the play on words, with SHAM-really?? Who are you kidding? Do you really think that’s what stay at home moms are or can you really not type the abbreviation 4-5 times in your email? And you’re a special ed. teacher? Hmm…
    I was a teacher B.C. and I will tell you that I chose to stay home with my children. But that’s me. I can also tell you that I know moms that are at-home who absolutely hate being stuck at home, so would their children be better off in daycare?-maybe. This battle will never be won by a side, but give Ali a break already. This is America-we are entitled to speak our opinions about ANYTHING-no??
    Maybe we should all focus on our children more and less about what everyone else is doing.

    Anonymous

    October 26, 2007

    I am also a school teacher (4th grade) with a 2 1/2 year old and a 9 month old. I work out after I put the kids to bed and pack lunches and diaper bags. 9-10pm is my time to workout . It is sometimes hard to get motivated, but I feel so much better after. As for checking papers (ugh!!), I TRY to do all of my paperwork at school. My advice it to make it part of your daily routine.

    Ali

    October 26, 2007

    Ok….I’m very sorry if I hurt any feelings. I just wanted to give tips on things you can do with your child at home for exercise and not have to feel guilty about putting them in day care to go to the gym. And I didn’t mean to put down mothers that work at all. I just meant that sometimes the mommy guilt is our inside voice telling us that we would rather be spending time with our children, and I think we need to listen to that. There was a time in my life where I had to ask where the guilt was coming from and do something about it because I couldn’t live with it. I deeply apologize to you, Roni, if what I said was harmful and hurtful to others. You have a wonderful site and you have been a blessing to me in my 50+ lb weight loss and now at my goal. Ok, nap time is over. Enjoy your day! And good luck to everyone on this journey we call life….we only have this one….make it the best!

    Roni

    October 26, 2007

    Ali – No worries. I didn’t mean to start such an uproar either. Like you, I was just trying to tell Michelle how I did/do it.

    Congrats on your loss!!

    And I totally agree, make the best of this one life!