My husband has long known that it's beneficial for him when I make it to the gym. My boys sometimes complain about me being gone if they wake up early but even they are starting to understand that Momma is a lot more happy when she starts her day with exercise. It's not selfish to spend some time improving yourself. Here's why it benefits the whole family.
1 - More Bonding Time for Dad. I'm a selfish mother. I adore each of my boys and don't like sharing them very much. Especially when they're babies. My husband is an amazing father, but sometimes I hamper his chances to connect with our newborns because I just take control. When I'm gone to the gym, I can't interfere. Dad can snuggle, play, turn on crazy music, or let them watch a TV show before the sun has even shown its face (something Mom would never allow). Dad has different rules and my boys love it. And of course I don't dare say anything because I'm off enjoying myself at the gym. Yesterday I came home to my husband in the shower with the baby (so cute to see that tiny body curled up against my husband's broad chest). The little guy blew out his diaper and Daddy dealt with it perfectly. Mom being gone once in a while is good for all of them.
2 - Exercise Puts Mom in a Good Mood. "Exercise releases endorphins, natural hormones that flood the body with a feel-good energy, a natural high! You release stress through physical exertion and regulated breathing, so you can let go of the day’s challenges and go home feeling relaxed and refreshed." (i)
When Momma's happy, everybody's happy. That is too true. I definitely set the mood for our house. After I exercise, I feel better physically and emotionally. I'm excited to go home and enjoy my children and husband. Exercise quite simply starts my day off right.
3 - Exercise Can Also Help Relieve Depression. This is something I never struggled with until I became a Mom. "In the New York Times recent research, studying twins, indicated that, despite studies that seemed to suggest that exercise was almost as effective in relieving depression as anti-depressants, in fact, the association of exercise with reduced anxious and depressive symptoms could be explained genetically: people disinclined to exercise also tend to be depressed. One does not cause the other.” (ii)
The release of endorphins and relief of depression can lift us as Moms and obviously help the home be a more cheerful, relaxed place for our children.
4 - Mom Being Strong Can Prevent All Kinds of Stress. You can catch toddlers hurtling themselves at your pregnant bellies, you can carry your eight-year old to his bed when he's sick, and win an arm-wrestling competition against your twelve-year old (ah, the glory).
5 - Great Example. We all want our children to be happy and feel great. If we are good examples of healthy living, they will almost always follow that example.
6 - Momma's Looking Good. I remember as a teenager being proud of my mom when she came to school. She was nice to everyone and she also took good care of herself. I'm a year away from my oldest becoming a teenager and I sure hope he's proud of how I look so when I run into the middle school screaming, "Where's my adorable little boy?" I don't embarrass him anymore than necessary.
7 - Long, Healthy, Happy Life. Patricia T. Holland said, “Anyone who reads a newspaper or magazine is constantly reminded that proper diet, appropriate exercise, and plenty of rest increase our daily capacities as well as our life span. But all too many of us put off even these minimal efforts, thinking our family, our neighbors, and our other many responsibilities come first. Yet in doing so, we put at risk the thing these people need most from us: our healthiest, happiest, heartiest self. Unless we take care of ourselves, it’s virtually impossible to properly take care of others.” (iii)
We all want to be there for our children and grandchildren. Exercise is going to improve our health and prevent a myriad of health problems and diseases. If you have a hard time staying healthy for yourself, think about your family. It's worth it to take care of yourself so you can take care of them.
(i) Exercise can Make You Happy & Healthy by David Bohl, read the entire article here.
(ii) The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, check out the blog here.
(iii) Patricia T. Holland, "On Earth as it is in Heaven." Book information here.