Motherhood: it is wonderful, baffling and frustrating in equal measure. It goes hand in hand with overwhelming love, heart-fluttering excitement, stomach-lurching anxiety and then, to top it all off, a whole heap of guilt.
Yes, Mum Guilt is out there, waiting to judge your every parenting move. And often, you can’t win. Cooked a homemade, nutritious dinner for your kids… but had to leave them in front of Paw Patrol to do so? Mum Guilt. Spent the afternoon partaking in arts & crafts with them (and even refrained from losing your sh*t when your youngest knocked the glitter pot onto the carpet)… but now need to serve a nuggets-and-waffles dinner because you had no time to cook? Mum Guilt. And if you ever DARE to take a little time out for yourself each day? Guilt, guilt, guilt.
But here’s the thing: Mum Guilt is a b*tch. It serves zero purpose. Dropping it is easier said than done, but there is something that can help: running. Yes, it can feel like a big step to actually invoke some ‘me-time’ each week, but it IS worth it and it WILL help ease any stress, anxiety and tension that has built up while you care for your cute, but let’s face it, demanding little ones.
Even a short 15-20 minute run/walk a few times a week will have the desired effect: the fresh air, freedom and headspace will do wonders for your soul, plus you’ll be getting fitter and stronger, helping you deal with the physical demands of childcare. In short, running can make you a happier, more positive mum.
Don’t believe us? These running mums tell it like it is…
‘Running definitely makes me a better mum. It helps to blow away any pent-up anxiety or frustration. I also believe that a running mum is a positive role model for her children, in terms of fitness/strength and body image. I usually feel better about myself after I’ve achieved a running goal. I'm not the fastest or fittest, but it's my thing.’
‘Running (before I went back to work at least) was the only time out I had from my gorgeous girls. I needed that – healthy heart, healthy mind. Even after a disturbed night’s sleep, I always felt so much better.’
‘What I love about running is that if I'm worrying about something, I can just go for a run and it clears my head. And you always feel so much better afterwards, no matter how tired you were before.’
‘I still feel guilty about “my time”, but even my hubby tells me to go for a run when I'm grumpy, as it clears my head so much. I feel so much better for running in so many ways. Meeting a mummy running buddy also helps. We chat and laugh with no responsibilities for a treasured half hour – it's like therapy!’
‘I definitely feel calmer and more energised when I've been for a run. It’s time out for me to take in the scenery and fresh air; to think or not to think; to just breathe.’
‘Running, exercising and even getting out of the house for 30 minutes is essential to my mental health and wellbeing. Guilt is a terrible thing and is unfortunately self-inflicted from one's own imagination. As I exercise and become mentally more healthy, I find the irrational guilt subsides. But it is a leap if faith.’
‘I only started running last year, at the ripe old age of 40. Running simply makes me a nicer person and a better mum – less stressed, healthier, and with bags more energy and positivity.’
‘Running makes me a better mummy because I come home fresh and happy, and it gives me time to miss my children while their dad steps in. I don't feel guilty – I'm setting a great example for my children, and it's helped me cope with the ups and downs of motherhood.’
‘That bit of time and space by myself, plus the exercise boost, fresh air and de-stress, makes me happier and more positive, which makes me a better mum and nicer to be around. I really think it's a great role model for children to see a parent caring about health and fitness.’