Maybe you caught this article in the press last month, but I just saw it today when a friend shared it on her Facebook page. My immediate thought was, “I can sooo relate to this,” even though my work environment is a different one. The message, however, is still the same (with a slight twist), “I’m sorry to all the mothers I’ve worked out with” (before I became a mother).
If you haven’t seen the video yet, check it out here. In summary, PowerToFly President Katharine Zaleski was very unsympathetic to the other working mothers in her office before she became a mom herself. The article is her apology and her ideas for a solution, now that she’s walked in their shoes.
Although I do not have an ultimate solution to balancing work and motherhood right now (it’s my constant work in progress, hence my WHAT You Love WHO You Love series), I do have an apology.
Before I had kids, I didn’t truly understand why moms couldn’t seem to find the time to work out. As a “single” woman (meaning no kids) I couldn’t fathom why someone, who wanted to be healthy, couldn’t seem to prioritize a workout. How could a woman not have time in her day or not want to make time in their day to be stronger, healthier, more fit, just because she had kids? Sure, I realized that some people don’t have the interest, passion, or desire to workout, but that’s not who I’m talking about. (After all, there were and are a lot of things, I have no interest in doing.) I’m talking about women like me who became moms and in my mind, they had lost their passion for exercise and keeping their body in tact. Little did I know their passion was probably still there but had just been upped by a bigger and more important passion. I had a hard time understanding the moms who said “I want to exericse, but it’s just so hard to make it happen.”
That’s what I didn’t realize. It IS just so hard. I didn’t realize that when you have kids and plan on going to a Body Sculpt class, that you might discover a dirty diaper as you’re walking out the door, or someone might decide to cry about not being able to find their favorite Star Wars shoes and make you even later, or if it escalates you may not even get there at all. I didn’t understand that your life is no longer about YOU and what YOU want to do.
So, I’m sorry to the moms that I worked out with in New York City and Chicago, before I moved to Santa Monica and started having babies, and I’m sorry, more recently, to the moms with more than one child. I didn’t really realize that the chaos multiplies. I didn’t know that the fact that you got to the gym at all, even if it’s to just be on the elliptical for 15 minutes by yourself, might be an amazing and rewarding feat.
So to all of you out there who are not yet moms, please do not judge the mom working out next to you in the gym, even if she walks into your group exercise class 10 minutes late with eggs in her hair or she trips over your equipment as she runs out in the middle of class because the Kid’s Club is paging her because her baby won’t stop crying. Just give that crazy mommy a big encouraging and reasurring smile. It might be the only workout she gets that week. It might be the only time she gets to herself that week. And ultimately, she might be YOU one day, and you’ll be where I am saying “I’m sorry.”