My daughter captured this picture of me today.
Yep, that's me working out in my den, wiping the sweat dripping off the end of my nose. When I first saw the picture, I immediately (as all women would) critiqued it. I nearly deleted it, but something struck me. My daughter, the little brown-haired girl who copies my every move and is the spitting image of me, took that picture. She sat and watched me for the entire workout, jumping up and doing some of the moves with me at times. That little girl took my picture, and as she did, she wasn't critiquing my form or muscle tone. She was just watching her mom making a choice to take care of herself. So I didn't delete the picture, and I'm hoping that somebody reading this will remember that you, too, have somebody watching you, using you as a role model.
Being a mom is a super hard task, and being a mom who takes care of herself is even harder. I don't want to play the martyr here, but it's never easy to eat right and work out. It's so tempting to eat what's convenient and not exercise. It's so tempting to come home from work and just go comatose in front of the television with tasty junk food. It's tempting and it's convenient, but it's such a terrible model for my children. It shows them that my comfort is my priority and that my health doesn't matter. It shows them that I don't think I am worth taking care of, and that is a scary lesson for my kids.
Usually I don't work out at home. I'm part of an incredible group fitness studio, and I try to go at least 5 times a week. Sometimes that means dragging the kids with me when they'd rather stay home. Sometimes it means leaving them home with my husband. It always means sacrificing something in order to work out. But it's worth it, and I've finally realized that I'm worth it, too. Not only that, but the hour I spend exercising each day is 100% about me. That isn't selfish - it's necessary. That hour allows me to escape the stress and heartache and worries and troubles that plague me the other 23 hours.
I know that everyone is really busy, and I know that there are legitimate reasons we could all give for not taking care of ourselves. I've heard them all, and I've probably used a lot of them myself. But I also think that sometimes we make excuses and call them reasons to justify our laziness. (This isn't just true about our health, is it?)
The bottom line is this: you're worth it, and others are watching. Are you showing them that you matter or that you don't? You're showing them something, and it's completely up to you.