One thing that every mom and dad deals with is GUILT. I think this guilt is exemplified when we try to do anything for ourselves. As a triathlete, I find that other people impose this guilt because of what they THINK that it means to be a triathlete. …not what it really is. Most don’t SEE that triathlons can be a family sport. SO, whether or not we will admit it, most of us feel the sting of guilt! I cant’ fix that sting…..even though I do my best to make triathlons a family sport that involves all six of us, but I can try to keep myself from drowning it in (or wine…when needed).
In her blog, THE SWIM BIKE MOM talks about this guilt from time to time, and she eloquently write about it in her book, Triathlon for Every Woman. Despite her encouraging words and her message that you have to do it for yourself in order to be a better YOU, the guilt that comes from being a triathlete sometimes creeps in.
SO…here’s what I think….
- My guilt comes from the dumb stuff people say. For example, the other day I walked into work and was talking with a co-worker about my long run on Saturday (18 miles with my running group). This woman actually said, “Don’t you feel guilty missing those hours with your kids?” The answer is….NO! I actually do not feel guilty when I head out at 6:00 am on a Saturday morning to go run. I’m EXCITED to try my first marathon. I know I have to train to do it. My husband takes the kids during that time. That. Is. That. BUT…when someone says those words, I have the moment of feeling that crap. THEN.I.GET.OVER. IT! Here’s an example that hurts a bit more. My mother, whom I adore, sometimes makes comments about the time. She recently said something to the effect of, “Why don’t you focus on shorter races so you don’t have to train as long.” She doesn’t mean to impose the guilt, but it happens. *sigh*
- People think the training takes longer than it does. I think because the RACES are so long, people assume I train 10 hours a day or something. I don’t. Many days I have two workout sessions, but some days I don’t. Some days are off days. One of my sessions each day is always before the kids wake up. Simply put, training for a triathlon is a lot of work, but it isn’t what people think.
- Most people don’t get that I am nicer because I do this. On “off” days, I am a bit more grumpy. If I am sick or hurt and can’t train for many days, I’m really grumpy. Training makes me a better mom. REALLY! My kids might get more of my time if I never swam, biked, or ran, but I don’t think they would get a better mom.
- Some comments come from insecurity or jealously. That’s all I will say on that one.
- I would feel guilty about some part of my life even if I were not a triathlete. I feel guilty sometimes because I work. I felt guilty during the two years I stayed home because I didn’t work. I feel guilty because some nights I don’t cook dinner. I feel guilty because I have a fat behind. I feel guilty because sometimes I am tired. GUILT is just an integral part of being a mom (or dad). I think it goes back to our Puritan roots. Maybe it goes back to something bad I did as a teenager……. Who knows? I think I am just accepting of this guilt because, hey, I gotta get guilt from something.
More than guilt, though, I feel a lot of pride. My kids are little triathletes and little athletes in general (soccer fanatics). They don’t feel guilt for their sports, so I’m trying to take a lesson from them and let mine go too. They are awesome. I’ll take some credit for their awesomeness. SOME. IF I’m wrong…they need something to complain about anyway! Heck, what kind of mom would I be if I didn’t give them something to complain about? Future therapy bills? Who knows?! Maybe. I hope not.