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No. YOU’RE Selfish.

I received an email yesterday that sent me through the roof.  Now, it’s not the first one of its kind, I’ll give you that.  But this particular one mattered a whole hill of beans–because, I was so sure in my response.

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Here’s a little story as a background.

So, I started triathlon out of a pure and simple selfish reason.  I was lost and out of shape with two kiddos who were VERY young. I worked (a lot) and I was angry and sad and fatter than i should have been.  Frankly, I needed something for me. Somehow, I needed to escape the crying and the poopy diapers. I needed to find a small space of time and hope that was mine.

I will admit that.

(And guess what… any mother of young children in the world who refuses to admit that she needs time away from the kids is a dirty rotten liar, and I challenge them to a duel. Anyway. )

So anyway. The email.  Yes.  Here it is:

Hi Meredith,
Just wondering who is raising your children when you are busy being selfish and pursuing your selfish interests of swimming and biking and running? I raised my kids. I was there with them every step of the way. I can’t imagine being your age and flipping my children to the side like you do.  Just some food for thought. Cheers.

Ah-hem.

[Insert lots of emojis here.]

Oh! You know the BEST part about this email?  Well, it was a fake email address.

Ah-ha!  A coward too. Love. It. (So much.)

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So I have written tons of posts about the life-family balance, why I tri, and how what I do with MY body matters to my kids. But I also have a confession to make.

When I used to write these posts about motherhood and tri-ing to be a better mother, I really didn’t know what I was talking about.  My kids were super small… I didn’t know if they were going to turn out as serial killers or delinquent (still don’t know, really—they are 6 and 7).  🙂

But I had a feeling that triathlon benefitted my kids for a few reasons.

First, it made me happy.  Rationale: a happier mom makes a better mom.

Second, it made me healthier.  Rationale: a healthy mom is, well, alive to raise her children.

Third, it leads by example – lessons about hard work, perseverance and dedicationRationale: whippersnappers these days need to learn about hard work, perseverance and dedication.

Fourth, it brings balance. Rationale: Moms from a starting point work too damn hard to do it all. Triathlon gives moms a chance to breathe, work and break. Again, happy moms = happier family.  Sometimes, of course, you do have to find the staples

Anyway. Yes. All of these reasons were things I intuited… things I figured to be true. Because why? Well, those things had to be true.

Here’s the thing.  They ARE true.

The kids are participating in their first triathlon next weekend. They wanted to do it.  They wanted to take swim lessons and run and do a race.  They want to be healthy.

Why?

Because they saw me do it.  They saw the Expert do it.

My kids have seen me jump into lakes and oceans for several years now.  And guess what?

When I was doing my race, my kids were doing this:

Our daughter jumped into a lake and just swam because she saw me do it.  She didn’t make it to age thirty-three with an open water swim fear.

She’s already conquered it.  How. Amazing. Is. That.

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They’ve been “running” races since 2012.  How. Amazing. Is. That.

Seriously.

When I receive emails like the one above, I don’t shrink and say, “Oh my. You are so right. Gosh, I’m a terrible mother.”  Of course, I have dealt with some parenting guilt. Of course.  However, after almost five years of doing this while having kids, I now rear up and stand firm and am ready to talk about this.

No, I do not feel guilty. In fact, I am proud.

Why?

Because I receive little gifts like this from my son:

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Because to him, it matters  that I “try my best” and I have “perservererense.”

So there.

In Closing…

Because the email address was “undeliverable,” here is my response to the email.

Dear Cowardly Writer of Email:

What we (as moms and dads) do as triathletes matters.  To be a drive-through feeding parent who is 100 pounds overweight but is “home” with their kids all day is not parenting.  YOU are not parenting better than I am when you are unhealthy and feeding your kids sugar all day long as rewards. You are not a good parent, simply because you are hovering like a helicopter over your children, catering to their every need and whim.  You are not a better parent because you don’t take care of yourself, and you carry the giant cross of motherhood like it’s something to bear—and not something to cherish.

YOU are selfish, not me.

I am making a better life (yes, for myself), but also for my entire family.  

Furthermore, who says we, as women and mothers, don’t have the damn RIGHT to make our own lives better in the process?  Who are YOU to tell me that I don’t have the right to take care of myself?  I did not have children and slip into a state of martydom.  What good does being a Swim Bike Martyr do? 

Get a grip.

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Being an active mother is fantastic and it matters, big time.  Our kids run. They bike. And they want to be healthy.  Because they have parents who try to be good examples. 

The other morning, I woke up early and laced up my sneakers.  Our whole family was in the kitchen getting ready for the day. The Expert was making his lunch.  I had packed the kiddos’ lunches for day camp.  The house was surprisingly quiet for a morning, and there was no chaos.  (Clearly all the planets were aligned.)

The Expert watched me for a second.  Then I saw he was watching our daughter, Stella… who was watching me.

She was studying me.  Watching me put on my shoes, my running belt, my visor.  

The Expert told me, “You know what you are doing matters.”

“What do you mean?”

He said, “She’s watching you. She will grow up knowing that this is good. That running and being healthy is a way of life.  You lead by example.”

As he said this, the little girl snagged a visor from the laundry pile, and placed it on her head.  

“Are you ready to go?” I asked her.

“Yep. Let’s go,” she said.

As for you, dear Writer of the Email, I believe that YOU are selfish.  

You have likely raised your children to be as close-minded as you are… to be as judgmental as you are.  And from the anger in your email, you have also never really tried to be healthy or run or do anything to show your children what health means.

You know how I know?  Because if you had, you would have never sent this email.  Instead, you would be nodding along to all the reasons I listed above.

I wish you all the best of luck.

Sincerely,

Swim Bike Mom

97 Comments

  • Gwen Hill

    July 10, 2015 at 3:17 pm

    Wow! What a jerk. I’m now angry lol. Tri’s and running are what I do for my me time. And races are so family friendly and fun. Some people just don’t get it and never will. I’m a better Mom because of triathlons and marathons. I have more energy then most people without kids. I liked your thoughts on this.

    Reply
  • Beth

    July 10, 2015 at 3:24 pm

    The audacity of some people to judge us and what we do and how we do it. I can tell you from experience that in the last two years of training and doing races my teenagers are now taking exercise and being healthy more seriously and it’s not because I push them or make them do it, they see me tri-ing and leading by example. F everyone who doesn’t get it!

    Reply
  • Kati

    July 10, 2015 at 3:25 pm

    In shock. Obviously this person doesn’t follow your Instagram, because I know for a fact I have had the thought, “less kid pics more tri pics” … Now I’ll see your kid pics and say a little cheers to you each time because you are right. All of it. I feel sad for this person and all her hate.

    Reply
  • Susan

    July 10, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    Ok, I couldn’t make it through your post. I stopped after the email and had to immediately comment. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, so I don’t fault this lady on her right to that. However, judging someone else’s parenting is not fair. Unless you are endangering or harming your children, I think judging is just wrong. WRONG WRONG WRONG! I read this quote from Gwyneth Paltrow once and it really resonated with me. She said something along the lines of: you know how when you’re on an airplane traveling with kids, and the crew tells you in the event of an emergency you need to put your mask on first before putting the mask on your children? That’s how we need to treat making time for health/fitness. In order for us to TAKE CARE OF OUR CHILDREN, we need to take care of ourselves first. I am a working mom. There nevers seems to be enough time at the end of the day to fit it all in, but I have to say that my tri training has helped me immensely with stress. Both at work and at home. I am EXTREMELY type-A and get worked up very easily, and have noticed that I react a lot less frequently and a lot less severely than I did before I started training hard (I picked up my training a lot this season). I try to treat everything that I do as an example for my daughter. When I feel guilt about being at work instead of with her, I remind myself that I am showing her an example of what it means to work hard. And, when I train, I want to show her to take risks. I grew up with such fear. Fear to try anything new, fail and embarass myself. I lived with such self-doubt. I didn’t push all of that aside until I became a mom. Wanting to be an example for my daughter is what propelled me to give triathlons a try (after countless years as an Iron Wife). It’s all about showing our girls to develop a strong work ethic in all you do. No parent thinks they’ve got it all under control. We all feel like we’re BARELY keeping all the plates spinning, and criticizing someone else is just wrong. It’s not “food for thought.” It’s mean.

    Reply
    • Kate

      July 21, 2015 at 8:09 am

      I hate Gwyneth Paltrow… but I have to admit that the reference to the oxygen mask in the airplane is SPOT-ON. If we don’t take care of ourselves, who will take care of our children? Well said, Susan.

      And as they say, there is a special place in hell for women who tear other women down. GRRR.

      Reply
  • Carie

    July 10, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    Oh my gosh!!! Am I going to have to start posting my funny sarcastic comments again?!? I can’t believe some people, I can’t believe someone would have the balls to criticize and judge someone like this and then write it out and send it! I seriously have no words. Don’t they realize that you are a better mom because of what you do? Because of the example you to your kids and there is nothing what so ever selfish about it! Oh and let’s just pretend for fun that it was selfish…where in heck is that anyone’s business but yours and your husbands! Last I checked I didn’t recall you asking opinions on how to raise your kids or what is best for you and YOUR life! Sorry, wish I had more sarcastic replies, but I’ve been sitting in a hosptial with my son for 22 days now and I’m completely out of funniness!
    Carie

    Reply
  • Stephanie

    July 10, 2015 at 3:35 pm

    You are an inspiration to your children just as I am! My children play ” swim bike run” or ironman haha… I can tell you I never did that as a child!!! My children just competed in their first triathlon a couple weekends ago… I can’t even begin to tell you how proud I was! Keep up the good work… There will always be haters because they’re jealous!

    Reply
  • Nicole

    July 10, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    Wow….just wow. Isn’t there enough hate already in this world?? It makes me want to cry actually because as moms we sacrifice SO much for our kids and now we’re not allowed to even have ONE thing?? I’m so glad you put the response out here for the universe!

    Reply
  • Karen G

    July 10, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    Good for you! We are not selfish. We do more good for our kids by taking time each week to care for ourselves than we ever would being home (and in my case, grouchy for the lack of exercise!). We are teaching our kids that taking care of ourselves is just as important as taking care of them. Keep it up Meredith! You rock!

    Oh, and I ran that same Superheroes vs Villains 5k. 😉

    Reply
  • ArlaMo

    July 10, 2015 at 3:41 pm

    I learned the truths in your response a bit late in my mothering career – I just did my first tri last weekend and I already have three who have graduated high school.

    But you know, they still watch and learn from the changes and efforts I’ve made over the past 6-8 months. And my younger three are right in the thick of it AND my 9 and 11 year old are signed up to do a tri next month.

    When momma is happy, the whole family is happy!

    Reply
  • Carrie

    July 10, 2015 at 3:43 pm

    You know what? I am glad that person wrote you that email. Why? Because I needed to read your reply. I need to hear that taking care of myself is important, and doing something healthy for me is not selfish, and that my kids will learn from it. I have been wanting to try roller derby for years. But I am very overweight, and I am scared to death. The new training period is in 4 weeks and I wanted to sign up but I keep finding excuses not to do it…one of them being my kids. And then I feel down and out because I am not doing what I want because of my kids. But the truth is, my kids will think it is fun to have a mom who does things with them (like roller skating). Instead of a mom who only eats and watches TV with them. So yea, I am gonna do it.
    Thanks swimbikemom! And thanks weird person who sends anonymous guilt trip emails to fire up swimbikemom, I really needed to hear the reply. 🙂

    Reply
  • Tiffany Johnson

    July 10, 2015 at 3:43 pm

    My kids are just 2 and 9 months and I do IronMan’s! I did them before kids have done 1 between babies and signed up again to do IMFL. My life wouldn’t be the same without my training and races! I get up every morning at 4:30am and train, so I’m with my kids from the time they wake up till they go to bed. My 2 year old will ask me if I have had a great run or a fun bike race and she is 2! She even has her own bike which she rides everyday all day long, because mom does! It’s so important to be positive influences on our children. My girls see nothing but strong women in there lives…I know I’m doing something right!

    Reply
  • Jeannie Bradley

    July 10, 2015 at 3:47 pm

    Now that my daughter is in the teenage years, I am finding more than ever that I need a center for myself other than her. She is moody, morose, snarky and obnoxious frequently. As are your friends. This is normal. I had to remind myself to “get a life” and not focus too much on her. In this era of helicopter parenting that is something.

    We, too, run races together, even though her motivation is somewhat lacking, we absolutely have a good time.

    And I cheer her on at her swim meets, and we REQUIRE her to cheer for me at my triathlons. Because my only child sweetheart is working on learning that the world is not all about her. What a gift my triathlons are to help her learn that. 🙂

    Meredith, I love that you write from reality and you inspire me so much. Rock on, sister.

    Reply
  • Mary Sue

    July 10, 2015 at 3:50 pm

    Wow, just wow. You are so right, Meredith. I am a triathlete, I work full time, and yet I am also super involved with my kids’ lives. Doing one doesn’t preclude the other (at least, not all the time…:-)) My 7 year-old daughter made a calendar this year and had to share it with her class. They were asked to draw a picture for each season and explain what they liked about the season. Summer for her? Our whole family swim-bike-running. Her teacher sent me a note (proudly) that she explained summer to the class as “triathlon season – because that’s when I get to cheer for my mom, and my mom gets to cheer for me – it’s awesome.” The Expert is right – they notice. You go, girl. Haters gonna hate, but they also need to STFU when they have no idea what they are talking about.

    Reply
  • Tanya Schilling

    July 10, 2015 at 3:51 pm

    I see it like this – some people are capable of parenting, working, training, leading and more while others are not or do not wish to do all those things. To each his/her own. Meredith you ARE capable and it’s inspiring. No reason to hate! XO!

    Reply
  • Amy

    July 10, 2015 at 3:54 pm

    Your response was perfect… and made me happy. Some times Mom’s that came before us are angry that either they didn’t have the choices we have now or were not brave enough to to follow their dreams when “tradition” dictated they stay at home. That anger bubbles up from time to time and takes aim at those of us who have bucked tradition. We can get riled… which I did at first, but we should be thankful that we were born during the era of Title 9 and strong role models.

    Reply
  • Kris

    July 10, 2015 at 4:00 pm

    Nicely put. I think that having parents with lives of their own and healthy goals is incredibly important. I don’t mean to say this to bash my mother, but… she was there for me all the time, she raised me, she did not have a hobby/sport/whatever you want to call it taking up her time on evenings and weekends…

    And if I have one regret for her, it’s that she put me first, always. She had basically no life outside of being my mother. And I did not learn healthy habits, or independence, or autonomy, from her. What I learned was that motherhood was about losing your identity. I loved my mother very much, but… God, all I can think about when I think of her is that she lived her life basically through me, and her own life felt like a lot of wasted time.

    You are teaching your kids to be independent, to be healthy, and to accomplish goals. And that their lives and identities don’t stop when they become parents. Your letter writer has a lot of learning to do.

    Reply
    • Belinda

      July 13, 2015 at 1:35 pm

      Love this. My mom was more like Meredith is, and I grew up with a lot of families that had a SAH mom that judged the crap out of my mom. Now to see these women in their 60’s is honestly so sad. Many of them ended up divorced, miserable women as soon as their kids had flown the nest. My mom is still happy, mountain biking, paddleboarding, traveling, loving life. And due to her example, I try my best to live life to the fullest. I tri 🙂

      Reply
    • Laura

      July 13, 2015 at 2:58 pm

      Oh my gosh, THIS!! My mom absolutely put her live on hold to raise me, and I hated it and felt constantly judged. I assumed motherhood must suck, because she always seemed to unhappy. Now my mom is sad because she’s never going to be a grandma.
      Maybe if she’d done a little something for herself and not tried to live through me. I want Meredith to be my mom….time travel, anyone?

      Reply
  • Sara

    July 10, 2015 at 4:16 pm

    What you said is prefect! I found you this website and Trifecta last summer!! I love triathlons and will continue to do them as long as I am capable!!
    My kido at 2.75 years tells me she is going to run like mom and bike like mom and swim like mom! What we do does matter!!
    Thank you! I needed that!!

    Reply
  • Mary

    July 10, 2015 at 4:46 pm

    Bravo on the response. As a Mom who has raised 4 children who are now adults I can vouch for the benefits of continuing to train, exercise and otherwise remain a human being while they were all babies and teens and Tweens. I believe they are more independent, determined, social and health minded due to the times they watched me (both of us actually) lace up the running shoes when we really didn’t want to or to hit the pool when the weather stunk, or dealt with a bad race. We also have great FAMILY memories of trips to races or others we got to know in our travels – near and far. The best ” response” for me is seeing how they now raise their children the same way- with respect for each other and their bodies!

    Reply
  • Cynthia @ You Signed Up For WHAT?!

    July 10, 2015 at 4:49 pm

    What leads someone to be so filled with judgment and hate that they would write an email like that for the sole purpose to try and make someone else feel horrible or guilty or whatever emotion they were trying to provoke. Good for you for this post, and explaining the reasons why it is a GOOD thing. Don’t we have enough struggles in this world than to have moms judging other moms who want to be healthy and dedicated and have a passion? Ridiculous.

    And who’s to say we aren’t there every step of the way for our kids’ needs? And that those of us pursuing a healthy lifestyle are flipping them aside at “our age” (HA!). Is she living in your house and counting the minutes you spend with your children? No.

    Thanks for this post!

    Reply
  • Ashley L.

    July 10, 2015 at 4:55 pm

    You have my support all the way! I am a wife, mom, and triathlete and I couldn’t imagine NOT doing tri and giving my kids a positive influence in their life. Loved your response. You’re awesome! Keep moving forward ?

    Reply
  • Lori

    July 10, 2015 at 5:07 pm

    I sure hope that, while she was raising her kids every step of the way, this parent didn’t teach her(?) kids crappy manners and to be rude and judgmental of others! Ugh.

    Reply
  • Tea

    July 10, 2015 at 5:08 pm

    I’ve never commented before, but I felt I had to, today. I started triathlon a long time ago, when my sons were very young (elementary school age). I was a runner before then. Every year, I would take my sons to races. When they were babies, I pushed them in the stroller. Then, they were old enough to run the races. Then, they started racing ME.

    My sons are in college now. When my youngest left, he wrote me a letter. In it he said that he learned about perseverance, dedication and so many other things from watching me train all those years.

    Guess what? To this day, both of my sons run. They come home on Thanksgiving and Christmas and run the local Turkey Trot. They run 5ks. Yeah, so the races between us get a little competitive. Last year, they told me that running the TT on Thanksgiving was one of their favorite things to do.

    It’s not selfish to share the thing you love, with the people you love.

    Reply
  • Meredith Rosser

    July 10, 2015 at 5:13 pm

    Wow, the nerve of this woman! Who is she to judge? I am in absolute agreement that we as moms DO need a break, and we DO need to take better care of ourselves. If that means we go for an hour long run, or two hour bike ride, than so be it! My husband and I started racing in triathlons when our three boys were very little, yet we found a balance and no one was left without. Because our boys grew up around the sport, they all have been racing on a triathlon team and racing kid races all over the U.S. It is the best way to show your kids how to lead a healthy balanced lifestyle. Clearly this woman feels very low about herself and the only way she felt she could make herself feel better, was to lash out at you. Very sad. In the meantime, keep doing what your doing, and sharing the love of the sport. For every bad apple in the crate, there are hundreds of good apples. Inspiring others to lead a healthy lifestyle, and have fun while doing it is a great gift, nothing like it. Being a mom and raising our children to be good upstanding strong healthy adults in life, is the best job in the world and if we can do it while showing them in a healthy manner, than that’s the best gift of all. Blessings to you!

    Reply
  • Kristin

    July 10, 2015 at 5:14 pm

    Meredith, you have no idea how much I needed to read this today. While I didn’t get hate mail- yes, that is what I call this person’s ignorance- I am knee deep in the balance of life/work/kids. And I NEVER feel better than after I have a good sweat on, even if that means getting up in the wee hours at the sacrifice of a little extra sleep….pushing myself in every tri way possible. I wouldn’t be the parent I aim to be. Bravo friend.

    Reply
  • Liz

    July 10, 2015 at 5:14 pm

    As a mom of 4 I will be doing my first half ironman tomorrow! I will be racing for all those moms out there who strive to be the best they can be so their kids can be the best they can be! Meredith and all you moms out there….you rock!!!

    Reply
  • Emily

    July 10, 2015 at 5:18 pm

    I applaud you on your response. I cannot fathom the nerve if some people. I too have been called selfish by someone very close to me. I wish for a second they could understand why I choose a fit life and that the reasons are not selfish at all. I expect that my children will learn what it took for me to lose over 100 lb and work my ass off to become a half marathoner. Selfish? No but I am one determined mother who will work hard to be healthy for my children.

    Reply
  • Dianne Glynn

    July 10, 2015 at 5:20 pm

    So spot on! Our kids need moms (and dads) that are role models – willing to challenge themselves intellectually and physically – willing to fail at what they do – pick themselves back up and try,try, try (or dare I say “tri,tri, tri”) again and again and again – you rock!

    Reply
  • Laura

    July 10, 2015 at 5:28 pm

    Spot on Meredith! This sport makes us better people inside and out?. As I’m ready to tackle my first 70.3 I’m just amazed at the friendships and people I’ve met. This is pure jealously of one nasty hateful person.

    Reply
  • Bonnie Clark

    July 10, 2015 at 5:33 pm

    Oh Meredith you are a beautiful wife, mother and woman! I read this quote and thought of you. Keep Moving Forward Momma!! Love you! <3

    "If it is possible to have children and still live out your heart’s desire to travel or to teach or to advocate or to make art, write, run, garden, or lead. If long-distance service in faraway places or living the life you love on the same block you grew up on is compatible with children. Yes, children are adaptable, and a career and a calling to change lives across oceans or next-door fences does not disqualify you from motherhood. No, God doesn’t ask us to trade who we are for the label of “Mom.” Rather, He builds all the courage and calling of a lifetime into a story line big enough and rich enough to encompass kids, passion, work, creativity, and dreams that don’t end in the labor and delivery ward."–Lisa Jo Baker, Surprised by Motherhood

    Reply
  • Laura

    July 10, 2015 at 5:44 pm

    Hey twin! I am coming to learn that when someone has a finger pointed at you they usually have 3 pointed back at themselves. She isnclearly jealous and full of resentment because she is not even attempting to do what you are doing.

    You and the Expert are amazing parents and exceptional examples to your little ones.

    I am glad you got that email and posted the response you did. It’s inspiring.

    Love you girl. #keepmovingforward

    Reply
  • JD

    July 10, 2015 at 5:46 pm

    I very rarely comment on your posts, here or on FB. Today I feel compelled. I’m a stay-at-home mommy and a runner. My son is 5 and my step-daughter is 17. They’ve been going to the gym with me for years and years, and have traveled to races with me. Whoever is reading this, read this part twice: I. AM. A. BETTER. MOM. FOR. IT. Not better than you or anyone else, but better than the me I would be without it. You know what’s cooler than that? THEY. ARE. BETTER. KIDS. FOR. IT. Yes, it’s true! My kids have learned about discipline, about diet – not in a weird way but in a ‘fuel’ way – about setting goals and reaching them, about community and volunteering, about continuing to gut it out when it hurts, about supporting others. Life lessons, people. All the things that SBM stated above are SO true and SO valuable. Balance, sanity, health, are super important, and they trickle down to the little ones. Part of how my step-daughter and I bonded was through a mutual love of running. My son and I recently drove out to a marathon just to cheer people on. We made signs and everything. It was awesome, and by doing these things with me, my kids learn how to be nice humans. Determined athletes. Granted, fitness isn’t the most important thing in life, but it should be a part of life, and kids are much more likely to follow our example than our advice. It’s been proven that kids who go see their parents engage in fitness activities, whether the child participates or not, are much more likely to take care of themselves later in life because they’ve seen that it is normal, and fun, and makes you feel good.

    Good on ya’, girlie, for not taking it to heart. The person who wrote the email, whose children are grown, has to have done something for escape. Those who say they don’t are delusional. Your kids will grow up and say, “yeah my mom made me dinners, took me to school, this and this and this … AND she STILL found the time to do TRIATHLONS! Isn’t she amazing?” And that is the bar against which they will measure themselves. Parenting: YOU are doing it right.

    Reply
  • Alli

    July 10, 2015 at 5:52 pm

    What a great post and response Meredith!! And how hurtful to receive an email like that?! I think you are awesome and I love your blog and posts because you are not pretending to be anything but yourself! You are a true role model to not only your kids but also to us women! Keep moving forward 🙂 Lots of love xx

    Reply
  • Carol

    July 10, 2015 at 6:01 pm

    You are not selfish mom you are a fantastic mom! I know this because I was you when my kids were small and then I started doing Ironman’s. And I started being happy…. My kids are now 17&19. My 17 year old just ran her first half marathon with me last month, she also told me that someday she will do an ironman. I can’t wait! When she said that I knew what a great job I did if showing her that part of life. And the finish line photo said it all…it showed how proud my daughter was of herself! I love ironman races. You keep doing it. And keep writing, because I love your blog!

    Reply
  • Kristy

    July 10, 2015 at 6:11 pm

    I LOVE your response! I do a lot of running and biking separately (trying to convince myself to do a duathlon) and I do not have kids yet. I am always getting comments from people about do what you can before you have kids cause then you won’t have time. Their comments have left me terrified to think I will have to give up something that helps me be a better me. THANK YOU for sharing this! I will make time because it will be good for all involved!

    Reply
  • Jess

    July 10, 2015 at 6:18 pm

    I don’t have kids yet, but I’ve always admired you and the way you balance everything and you can see it in your photos… you’re kids think you’re a super hero! And OMG… Stella is a killer swimmer btw! When we do enter into parenthood, I hope that our kids the see the joy that doing triathlons gives us and that they will be brave and take risks and try things (like triathlons!) that make them overcome challenges, grow and get stronger and become better people. Keep rocking on, Swim, Bike, MOM! You’re a Rockstar!

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  • Laura Walls

    July 10, 2015 at 6:20 pm

    First, I am again amazed that someone would even write this. As a mother who trained for her first marathon while coping with a divorce when my daughter was little – I am here to tell you she grew up with a role model who took care of herself, exercised, went to grad school – etc. She is now 32 years old and has seen me go from a single parent juggling several jobs and still working out to a triathlete at the age of 62. She tells all of her friends how my husband and I do these events (and trust me, their friends are couch potatoes) and that she she could not be more proud. Were there times when she was with a sitter while growing up? Yes. Did she grow up learning to not eat junk food and a lot of sugar and to exercise on a regular basis? YES!! Meredith, your children have two fabulous (and human) role models who have their priorities in order and are using healthy parenting skills. Parents who make their children the be all and end all of their lives are not being healthy parents. Period. Rock on Mere…rock on.

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  • cheryl

    July 10, 2015 at 6:37 pm

    I wasn’t “there” all the time for my kid – I worked full time, had sitters and day care and she spent time with her dad every other weekend as we were divorced. I raced through her childhood and teen age years and still continue to do so. She is almost 29. She has grown up to be (1.) responsible (2.) self-sufficient and (3.) healthy and active. You are doing the right things. But you knew that.

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  • Monique

    July 10, 2015 at 6:44 pm

    I don’t understand why someone would be so judgemental. Is she saying that she has never gone on a date with her significant other and left the kids with a sitter? She’s never gone out to enjoy a girls night? She’s never put the kids to bed a littleearly and enjoyed a glass of wine?. Does she think that we lock the kids in the closet while we train? Honestly, what the he’ll? I’ll admit managing a house hold of five kids and my husband is trying and hard. Just because you don’t write about all of the times you do what your husband and kids want to do, instead of train doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.
    There are weeks when I get lots of training in. There’s a lot of training that goes on while my kids are still sleeping, because I don’t want to take time away from them. Some training is even done with my kids by my side or strapped to my back.
    Who ever this chick is, is clearly ignorant to the complexities of balancing home, tri and work..

    Reply
  • Lisa

    July 10, 2015 at 7:06 pm

    Girls pick on each other, judge each other. Women empower one another. You empower women like me to believe that healthy and strong is possible. Thank you for putting yourself out there.

    Reply
  • Helen

    July 10, 2015 at 7:18 pm

    I have to confess I have stalked your blog for several years and never posted or commented.. but these kinda comments really drive me crazy. It happened to me just this week when the cashier at the grocery store made a comment about my marathon hat and then said.. “must be nice to have time for all that”. As though I have a full time nanny, chef, coach etc. on staff at home!” GAH!
    In reality I had not yet had time to take a shower after getting up at 4:45 to complete my run before my husband left for work so I can watch kids and try to run my small business from home! We make time for things that we want bad enough. As you said I know that I am a FAR better Mom when I have had an hour to myself before I have to deal with the madness. My training schedule is horrible. I am sure any coach would just cringe. I mostly get workouts done before they all wake up and sometimes I swim while the kids have swim lessons… it is not very long but it would just be wasted time sitting watching. I’ll run while my daughter is at brownies.. the other moms probably think i am crazy as I pick her up looking like a sweaty mess. I have also taken them to the park and run laps on the 1/5 mile path around the play area… but I get it done with as little interruption to the kids as possible. Now that they are getting a bit bigger the kids just completed their 2nd 5K with me and tomorrow they are doing their first swim meet! I am proud to be setting a good example for them to hopefully follow in with whatever sport they choose.

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  • Anna Stedman

    July 10, 2015 at 7:27 pm

    Meredith, one thing i have always appreciated about you from the beginning, is that you pay attention to when you need to take a Tri break. I have read in your posts about times when you have stepped back to pay more attention to your families needs. I have a hard time saying no to activities and have had to learn that you can’t do everything. Anyway, there are always going to be critics. Just do right and keep smiling. love you in the Lord Jesus Christ, Anna in Idaho

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  • Cherish

    July 10, 2015 at 7:27 pm

    I started running about 4 years ago. And shortly after that, I started doing races with my son. We don’t do every race together, but we do some of them. And as he’s a teenager, any time where he *wants* to spend time with me is precious. Setting that example is SO important, and it really can lead to better relationships with your kids. Good for you, and I feel bad for the person who wrote that email and will never understand that joy.

    Reply
  • Marcia Barton

    July 10, 2015 at 8:01 pm

    I think you’re amazing! Always have! And that email… Well. Her children will be the ones who turn out weird. Not yours. They will probably have helicopter or smothering mom issues. Go with it. Be strong your children are watching and learning from YOU! <3

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  • Amanda

    July 10, 2015 at 8:14 pm

    My kids think I’m badass for doing tris and that’s the best compliment I could get as a mom. I have two boys and seeing me train is not only going to influence how they live their lives, but it will also influence how they perceive women. And if they think women are badass and can do it all, then I’m totally cool with that.

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  • fiona

    July 10, 2015 at 8:39 pm

    So last week I.had to travel away for a race and I said to my son, “mummy is really going to miss you and be sad when I am gone”. You know what he says “don’t be sad mummy it makes me so proud when you do 70.3 and coal coast!”. I wonder when the email author last did something that made HER kids proud?

    Reply
  • Jennifer

    July 10, 2015 at 8:43 pm

    Wow! I cannot believe some people! I just started reading your blog, but you are an AWESOME mom and an inspiration for many of us. You rock and your kids are better for it!

    Reply
  • Meme

    July 10, 2015 at 10:42 pm

    Spot on! And Fek Yah!

    The Seed and Manchild refer to my tri-ing as my “delusion”. I too started out on this path seeking just an hour of ME time. 100% selfish and 100% rewarding because im a WAY better person all around after filtering out the BS in my head through sweat in what i call The Asphalt Sanctuary.

    What exactly is the delusion? …. i finally asked The Manchild. To which he responded in a very uncomplicated manner …”you believe that its normal to swim bike and run for fun. Well. Its not for most people but somehow you inspire others to buy into it. And its fascintating to watch”. Me? inspiring? (SMH) Im just a 40yr old mom with a healthy hobby. Whats inspiring about that?

    Well…i am pleased to write that the planets have aligned and on 8/9 Manchild will be drinking the KoolAid and participating in his first tri as part of Team M&M. Its only taken 5yrs but He’s now the driving force in my biking and the one I strive to keep up with on 2 wheels. So. He’s my biking ace in the hole. Watchout. Mems & the Manchild gonna Tri…together!

    Reply
  • Heather K

    July 10, 2015 at 11:52 pm

    Mother of 4 ,ages 3,5,10,16 . I completed 2 full IM in 2014 , 2 marathons and 1 70.3 . 2015 my husband and I are doing Full IM Bouldet and Cozumel . My children are doing there first kids triathlon next weekend . I work full time in medicine . I train about 12 to 14 hours a week . That joyous person has no right to say that MY 12 to 14 hours of me time in a 168 hour week is selfish !!!! Most of us working triathlon parents sacrifice sleep instead of family time, and I’m not going to feel guilty about the handful of hours that I train during Normal hours of the day . So wish we all could give her or him a rebuttal !!! I bet she or he does 15 hours weekly wasting time putting down positive people’s blogging , from the couch , eating potato chips, telling the kids to go play , cause her daytime TV show is on !!!

    Reply
  • Annie

    July 11, 2015 at 1:56 am

    First, who has the time and energy to even write an email like that and send it? If you seriously have that much bile in your heart that it was no big thing to go through the trouble of setting up a fake email account, writing the email, and sending it, then sister, you need to find a church or a life coach or SOMETHING because you are living life WRONG!

    Second, I am a newbie triathlete and now contemplating the kid thing, but have struggled a bit around what I will have to give up, including triathlon. Yes, I’ve even had the thought of “I really want to do that race in October, so we’re definitely waiting until after that.” I’m sure your emailer would consider me selfish for not giving my hypothetical child to be an extra 3 month head start in life.

    After my last race I headed back to transition to collect my gear and noticed Another woman doing the same. That woman had a 5 month old baby strapped to her chest. My mind exploded with wonder and uncontemplated possibilities. I asked her how she did in the race, and she replied that she finished, and that was her only goal. I flat out told her that she was my hero. Ladies like her, and you, make me WANT to have kids and continue doing tris, for all the reasons you mentioned and more. So please keep them coming 🙂

    Reply
  • Judy @ Chocolaterunsjudy

    July 11, 2015 at 3:58 am

    You know what Taylor Swift says about those sorts of people.

    I chose not to be a mom (and many think that’s selfish & maybe it is), but I totally agree with all your reasons. You’re a better mom because you do not make your children your everything (even tho they are); trust me on that!

    Reply
  • Rosemary Dunn

    July 11, 2015 at 5:02 am

    We do our children no favors when they are our only ŕeason for being. Children grow into young adults, and young adults should be free to spread their wings without worrying about lonely mom left behind. I say this from the perspective of both a daughter and the mother or 2 grown children.

    Reply
  • Janhawke

    July 11, 2015 at 5:11 am

    So glad you responded to this misguided person, SBM. You’re right that you’re setting a great example and that it serves your kids more to model self care and perseverance and healthy lifestyle than sitting around judging others and having kids think they are the center of the universe. Well said, keep it up!

    Reply
  • Judy

    July 11, 2015 at 6:45 am

    My daughter travelled cross country to join me at swim meets. She is a fish and is taking her first synchronized swimming class tomorrow with my duet partner!

    Reply
  • Cbgrace

    July 11, 2015 at 9:23 am

    Great job mom! Now stop caring what people think about what you are doing…especially judgemental people who do not know you or your family. The people who know and love you will help you keep balance. God bless you and yours.

    Reply
  • Karen

    July 11, 2015 at 10:48 am

    The problem is here unfortunately is that some parents who sit at home and let their children play computer games and watch TV think that they are doing well because they are keeping them safe!!!! Wrong!!! How many killers have a history of being a loner who spends a lot of time on the computer….. And how many spent their time in the fresh air mixing with people from all walks of life, developing the communication skills you need to get on in life?? Hhhhhmmmm…… Just one to ponder on. I don’t do triathlons but do try to keep fit. My husband does tri’s though. I have 2 daughters one of whom is 10 and wants to be an Olympic swimmer…. She is good but may not make that dream…. However what would I prefer…. Her to have role models such as Rebecca Adlington and Jessica Ennis-hill or a wag?? (I would say a name but I don’t know any!!! Lol) I work full time so that my daughters know that if they have a goal and they work they can achieve it. I am in a very male dominated world and I still have people telling me my husband must be very understanding….. When I challenge them and ask if they said that to my predecessor (who was a man) they blush and don’t know what to say!!!
    So basically….. In my rant I just want to say that it takes alsorts to raise children…. But do I want to lead by example?? Damn right I do….. Oh flip…. Does that make me selfish???? Who cares!!!!!! Lol
    Good luck in the tri’s…. Personally I think u must be mad to do them…. But that’s another story!!!! ???????????

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  • Gillian Spencer

    July 11, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    HI Friend, I call you friend because you have been through what lots of us have been through and I empathise completely. I’m three days into the “Triathalete” way of thinking and you continue to give me hope and inspiration as I read your book. I’m just turned 66 and want to do this for my own self respect and confidence. You’ve made the right choices so let nobody bring you down. xx

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  • Jenn

    July 11, 2015 at 1:07 pm

    Opinions are like ***holes. Everyone has one.

    I’m sorry someone felt the need to send you this email. I’m sorry it made you angry and I’m even more sorry that it took up some of your time to respond to it.

    No, you’re not selfish (not that you needed me to validate that). You are setting an excellent example for your kids. You are establishing your identity outside of being a parent (because you are, first and foremost, an individual). And you are taking charge of your life. These are all admirable things and your family will be better for it. You are better for it.

    Keep on doing exactly what you’re doing.

    Reply
  • Haley

    July 11, 2015 at 1:32 pm

    bravo to you. And shame on her for trying to make you feel like you’re being selfish. If you’re anything like me, you probably don’t leave the house until every little detail is ironed out and the children are secured for care while you’re out. I have been late for run group so many times because I’m so worried about this and that with my children’s care. I thought ONCE that I may be acting selfish, but I immediately smacked some sense into my noggin and realized I was completely justified in my search for self worth through fitness.
    Kudos to you and all the other moms out there keeping themselves healthy and persevering through the trenches.

    Reply
  • Axel (@ Iron Rogue)

    July 11, 2015 at 9:10 pm

    Rage building… HULK SMASH!!!! Ok, got that out of my system…

    1.) Who is raising Meredith’s children while she’s swimming/biking/running? Umm… how about that guy they call ‘Dad’? I just love busting my ass raising my kids only for society (or at least the nimrod contingent this lady belongs to) to assume that when mom’s not around the children are abandoned, unattended and neglected.

    2.) She’s busy raising her kids… into what? Bitchy inactive internet trolls?

    Reply
  • Gina

    July 12, 2015 at 9:07 am

    I could not have said it better!We lead by example in our homes with our children good or bad that’s who they become. You have chosen good our writer has chosen to be judgemental as her children will also become.It is a taught behavior in the home It’s so sad that she most likely had a mother that taught her this. Your growth in yourself brought tears to my eyes. Being a single mother myself I remember needing time for me away from the poop….

    Reply
  • alexis

    July 12, 2015 at 9:36 am

    I just so happen to see this and wanted to briefly share my experiences. All my kids were in their twenties when i realized that I missed living while raising them. I looked up to an older, overweight, non educated woman who was still leasing apartments & cars. I wish I had the courage years ago to do what you have done for yourself and children. Just recently I began to walk 1-2 miles which then turned in 6-7 miles. Walking turned into power walks that turned into interval jogging. And just like the postman, I am hitting the pavement no matter of rain, sleet, or snow. I is the best feeling ever. I can think, feel, cry, cheer myself on, fit my college clothes again, throw away the meds, and inspire my kids and family. I was twenty five years late and if I had a chance to do it all over again, I will do it exactly like you have.

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  • Karen

    July 12, 2015 at 12:14 pm

    No matter what you do in life, there is always someone waiting on the sidelines, ready to criticize and insult your lifestyle and intentions. That ‘someone’ may be a stranger, a friend, or a family member. During those times, it’s comforting to know that 99.99999% of the strangers, friends and family members in our lives are good, kind people. They matter. The naughty people don’t matter one bit. God knows what’s in your heart Meredith. Honesty. Goodness. Kindness.

    Reply
  • Lyn

    July 12, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    I want to high five you so hard right now. I love health and fitness. It got me through the passing of my daughter a few years ago. During a time where I could have spiraled downward, I put that dark energy into getting healthy (since I had put on some pounds after her funeral). I began to love the way I felt so much that I kept raving about exercise. So many people told me I was trying to disappear (because I lost weight), that my boobs looked like mosquito bites, that it must be nice to have time in my day to workout, etc… whatever! I felt and looked awesome and I exuded that!

    Forget about the mean, jealous, ignorant people out there! There’s no end to how beneficial health and fitness is to every part of your life! Not only did it lift me out of my mourning, it helped ALL of my relationships. My husband and I were SOLID once I got my health in order, I was able to keep up with my daughter who was 3 at the time, it prepared my body for another pregnancy, I was happy and confident all the time – literally no end to the perks of being healthy. 🙂

    I’m proud of you, fellow fit mom! You keep being excellent!

    Reply
  • Karen Lachance

    July 12, 2015 at 9:38 pm

    I never comment – been reading your blog for years but tonight I have to. 19 years ago I learned that I was a better and happier Mom when I had a job outside of the home. When I hear of people judging like your commenter or when other Moms ask me I tell them there are only three things that matter. 1) are you happy? 2) are your kids happy? 3) if you have a partner or spouse are they happy?… Nothing else is important. Nor is it anyone else’s business. ROCK ON and keep doing what you are doing because it works.

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  • Cheryll

    July 13, 2015 at 11:14 am

    I’ve never commented but I love your blog. I’ve done a couple of sprint triathlons and enjoyed it but will probably not do another one. So, why do I continue to follow your blog? I identify with your journey, plain and simple.

    Here’s the thing… I never understand why people spend time reading blogs that so clearly upset them. If a blog I read goes in a different direction from my interests, I just stop reading. If I disagree with someone’s philosophy or choices, I think, “that’s not for me.” People who feel free to criticize strangers for their life-choices baffle me. Do they talk to their family and friends that way? If a co-worker decides to train for something (or have any interests at all besides her children), does she loudly call her out and tell her she’s selfish? So odd to me… I feel sorry for this woman (and for her children–they are bound to disappoint her as well).

    Reply
  • Christine @ accidentally running mama

    July 14, 2015 at 1:05 am

    The anger in her email leads me to believe that she might just be full of tons of jealousy!! You are doing what is good for you and that makes it good for your family!!

    I totally get the lead by example. I have 3 sons who will grow up to know that a woman can be strong, confident, and have a life outside of the home. Yes, I am a SAHM but that does NOT mean that I can’t and shouldn’t have a life outside of the home. That just isn’t healthy for anyone!

    The writer of that email needs to get a clue.

    Reply
  • elizabeth Molina Campos

    July 14, 2015 at 11:08 am

    I am so pissed! Selfish? you are leading by example, teaching your kids to be healthy, that anything is possible, to work hard, to try, even if it seems impossible. You are happier, and healthier… And by the way, why is it OK, when a dad does it, but you are a terrible person because you are the mom? shouldn’t it be equal? Does this woman live in a plastic container? has she not known that we woman can do anything and everything and still be amazing moms?!

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  • Nancy

    July 14, 2015 at 11:17 am

    I think you took the right approach and replied via this format rather than a direct email. The former is more instructive to the audience in general, and the latter would have just resulted in a useless peeing contest. Or just more Haterade being poured into the poisoned well.

    They say anger is usually an outward sign of depression. Was this person angry? Perhaps. Was this person jealous? Maybe. Everyone keeps saying it’s a “she”. Maybe it’s a he! What’s the source of jealousy? Maybe this person feels saddled with kids and is overwhelmed to the point where they can’t fathom training for anything. Or, maybe they USED to do triathlons, and once the kids came along, hung up their cleats and wish they could be back out there. Or, maybe it IS a husband (or wife), and feels like he (or she) can randomly vent his/her ire at you rather than discussing it with his/her spouse, who is training full-tilt for something and feels abandoned. It’s a marital/life dynamic neither you, nor anyone else, can know. Or should be expected to know. In any case, in organizational behavior it’s known as “crab mentality”. Where someone can’t get to the top of the pot, so they keep clawing at everyone else, trying to prevent them from getting there, too.

    So, I think you took the high road, but I think you devoted too much mental juice towards this person. People like this should be regarded with pity, but devoting your time is like feeding a stray cat. They keep coming back, and then start complaining about the quality of the food.

    So, good on you, gal. Don’t let the stray cats get into your mental space. You have to much going on this year to concern yourself with the crabs at the bottom of the pot!

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  • David Tietz

    July 14, 2015 at 1:57 pm

    Faceless internet trolls are the worst. They see your success with your life and your web site and there only purpose is to drag you down to their negativity. Keep doing what you are doing because you are a great inspiration to many. Great response and great conversation here. You need your time so that you can be a better person for you and your family. I always encouraged that for my wife!! You are a good positive influence, please do not lose sight of that!!

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  • Amanda Fortino

    July 23, 2015 at 9:41 am

    I absolutely love your response. Due to now being a single mom, the availability of early morning or late day care, and adjusting to a new work schedule, I haven’t had time to train and I know it is affecting my ability to parent effectively. Eventually it will all fall into place and I’ll get back to it, but I know that training makes me a better mom.

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  • Cyndi

    July 24, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    I love your blog! I’m a fantastic mother of 6 and both my husband and I are Ironmans! Seriously though, for us, triathlons and training have saved us! We are better parents and partners when we have an outlet! We are a very active family and spend a lot of time together as a family! I love being a mom and I appreciate motherhood a lot more since I can keep up with my kids because I’m active and not a couch potato. I totally agree with your response. Motherhood shouldn’t mean your life and dreams and health are over. It should be a celebration. We sacrifice so much to be moms – we don’t have to sacrifice everything – I want my kids to know that being a parent adds great joy and fulfillment to your life – it doesn’t end your life!

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  • Chip

    August 3, 2015 at 3:39 pm

    OK, I just was shown this site, I wish I had seen it before. First thing. I love your blog. Second just pretend you can hear me applauding for this post, otherwise I will look like an idiot clapping at my computer. This was really well written. I’m older than you and a guy, and I too get the selfish comment from some people. Now I want to print this out and post it in a few places. One thing that I have been saying is, as a Dad, when I do a triathlon even as middle of the pack guy, what does this show my kids? As an image of what a grown man does, compared to channel surfing on the couch. What does it show them about perseverance, and setting goals? It is important that as adults we demonstrate by doing. It is hard for kids to see what positive adult behavior is. In the modern world of examples of bad behavior to be found everywhere, as a parent we are the best ones to show our own kids what kind of person they can be. The person who questioned you anonymously, what do they do with there kids anyway? Have they ever had an 8 year old ride there bike beside Daddy while he runs 6 miles. I do, its a bonding moment even when she complains. She found out she can ride her bike pretty far, even at that age. Ever have a five year tackle you while your on a foam roller? Guess what, Kids do tri’s too and have fun with them. They also like to show off and say “look what I did”. They feel accomplishment too, and its because their parents showed them how to accomplish goals. Great post. Consider me a new fan.

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  • LeAnne

    August 24, 2015 at 10:45 am

    I love your response and agree 100%. I am a mother of 3 and work outside the home. My husband has always supported me throughout my years of triathlon as I grew into longer IM distances that required a lot of training time. My girls all support me and watch me train and compete cheering me on. The term “selfish” or “narcissistic” gets thrown around toward triathletes and I have heard it on more that one occasion. Sometimes people who do not understand something choose to criticize or ridicule that person or their way of life. The writer is most likely very insecure and unhappy with her current situation. Too bad you were unable to write back. Hopefully since she took the time to write to you, she will see your post and know that her cry for help is heard and only she can change her current disposition. She is not doing her kids any favors. Thanks for your post.

    Reply
  • Cindi

    May 16, 2019 at 3:04 pm

    This popped up on my Facebook newsfeed today, and boy is it timely. I needed a reminder to take care of me first so I can take care of my kids and my parents (and my husband, who is capable and independent but I want to help out his training/racing life too). Thanks for getting the message out – a tri-ing mom is a happy, healthy, helpful, freakin’ amazing role model!

    Reply

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