One thing that shocked me the most about becoming a mother was how strong my bond to my children would be. I absolutely HATE being away from them. When I returned to the work-force after each maternity leave, I suffered incredible working-mom guilt. I felt really bad for not always being there for them, for missing their first steps, and not having a spotless house. My heart ached for my children while I was away from them ” in fact it still does. When I ‘m at home I want to spend every.single.minute doing things with them ” things like building puzzles:
And playing at the park with them:
This guilt caused me to completely give up my running for the first few years after we started our family, and was part of my decision to give up playing softball. I call this:
I’ve pretty much been paralyzed by training guilt over the past 8 yrs – unless I can take the girls out for a run/workout with me or do it during my work day (ie: lunch). It is then, and only then can I exercise completely guilt-free. I’ve spent quite a few hours running around our neighbourhood with one or the other of them, or even with all of them in tow:
I’ve even raced with them:
(excuse the size of the photo – it’s a proof from a race I did a few years ago)
Then I realised that I ‘m a much happier mother, wife and person if I get out to exercise, and that training for an event makes me even happier ” I love the thrill of preparing to be my best for a race. So I began running on my work lunch breaks (aka Ã…”runch Ã‚Â), and planning my weekend training at times when the kids were either sleeping/napping or playing at their friend’s houses. However, I still have incredible training guilt.
Lately I’ve been starting to battle my training guilt and get more into triathlon training. Unfortunately I can’t fit in all of my tri training at lunch. There just isn’t a lake close enough to work to fit in a quick swim. At first my decision to train for a triathlon was met with support from my hubby. He supports the concept of me doing a triathlon because it means I don’t get injured during my training. I ‘m absolutely miserable to be around when I ‘m injured (just ask anyone who’s witnessed it ” it ain’t pretty!).
So a month ago I began doing some open water swimming on Thursday nights at a beautiful nearby lake with three new friends. We have a blast, especially teasing each other about losing fingers and toes to the snapping turtle that’s been spotted in the swimming area. (People tell me turtles are only aggressive on land ” but I don’t completely trust them).
See ” absolutely gorgeous lake!
Being with friends, getting close to nature (and snapping turtles), and exercising makes me feel so alive!
The first week that I left the girls with hubby to swim he seemed supportive. But as the weeks have gone on (this was week #4) he’s been making more and more comments like: Ã…”are you leaving us again? Ã‚Â etc. I can’t help but feel that the teasing is actually based on real feelings. Perhaps on dissatisfaction over my swimming/training?
Ahhhhh … training guilt. Feeling guilty over leaving my family sucks all the fun out of my training, just the same as it sucked all the fun out of playing softball, which is why I no longer play. I ‘m a people pleaser ” I’ve been known to drive hours and hours (over 160 km) to pick up a friend at an airport, incurring over $100 in extra car rental costs and then causing my own over-tired/dehydrated demise just because I care and wanted to keep my friend safe. Nothing is worse than sucking up all of your courage to leave your family to do something for yourself, only to have someone make you feel guilty about it, intentional or not.
So my question to you is this: Do you suffer from training guilt too? How do you get around it?
I obviously need some help with this because I don’t want it to impede my triathlon dreams or suck the fun out of it. Afterall, the training journey is more than half the fun of a race, isn’t it?