I signed my two boys up for half-day soccer camp last summer. I was seven months pregnant at the time, and it was the hottest month of the year in Maryland.
Our mornings that week were pretty routine. Woke up, fed them breakfast, got them ready, buckled them in the car, and somehow managed to get to the fields with three minutes to spare. As soon as they were called in by the coaches, I was finally able to take a long, deep breath. Then, while lacing up my running shoes, I planned out my workout. I was making good use of my time — you know, killing two birds with one stone.
There is no question my kids are the greatest thing to have ever happened to me. But, since having kids my entire being has been dedicated to caring for them–and trust me when I say… there is NEVER a dull moment. Whether I am racing to the doctor’s office in the morning to get one tested for strep throat, rushing to school to then get a call that one isn’t feeling well, and can I come pick him up, or chauffeuring them around to their extracurricular activities, it seems like it’s nonstop.
Since becoming a parent, I have learned one major lesson–to NEVER judge or shame anyone. That week while my kids were at soccer camp, I had an opportunity to workout. That workout made me feel good. It made me feel healthy. And, it gave me the strength and energy to be an active, energized mom when my boys were done at camp.
Though it wasn’t, this crazy shaming incident could’ve easily been me. A picture of an innocent mom was captured and shared on social media. A man publicized how desperate she must’ve been for attention because she was working out at her son’s soccer game. Really?
So… to the father who shamed that mother for working out, and to anyone else who has had similar thoughts:
The act of exercise is 100% for the satisfaction of the person working out. Please don’t flatter yourself. No one was running, jumping rope, or doing push-ups to get your attention, or anyone else’s for that matter. As I’m sure she would agree, we moms merely search for a tiny fraction of time in our day where our bodies can release endorphins. Trust me, without it, I will get your attention by my obvious stress, sluggishness, and bleakness. But, again, I don’t want your attention. In fact, I am so preoccupied from my day that the thought of you would not even transpire.
I am positive that you have never juggled both motherhood and a career. And, I assume you aren’t a stay-at-home dad. Because if you were, you would understand how emotionally and physically demanding it is; how you try to multi-task and make the most of your time; and how you take advantage of any small moment in your day when you are not being summoned by your children to do something for yourself.
And, based on your action of shaming a mom on social media for working out during her son’s soccer game, your children probably aren’t looking to you for comfort, warmth, or emotional support. So, the next time you think about a) judging another parent, and b) shaming one on social media… Stop yourself. Focus on your own conduct. And, try finding something else that gives you pleasure and a more positive outlook on life… such as exercise. Even if it means doing it at your son’s soccer game.