Hannah Walker of Eton Fitness
When it comes to exercising and taking time out for ourselves, the gender imbalance is still all too obvious.
Having spoken to a few of the Mum’s I train in my sessions, it is clear that they are very time poor when it comes to being able to fit in 3-4 workouts each week. They squeeze me in to keep themselves on track between working full time and being a hands on Mum.
As a single mum who works full time to support my two kids, I am used to being strapped for time and have trained with my kids for years. It is the only way I can fit in exercise each week, and my kids are so used me training around them they don’t bat an eyelid when I drag my weights out into the back yard to bust out a workout. If I relied on attending an exercise class or gym time, I wouldn’t have exercised for years!
Whilst chatting to my Mum’s some more, and suggesting workouts at the weekend, or a run on a Sunday morning whilst their partner gives the kids breakfast, it becomes clear that the majority of the husbands (and this is not a feminist rant in which I am suggesting this applies to all couples) have their sports and fitness time booked in weekly which my Mum’s also have to work around. Be it gym time or a team sport, this is booked into their weekly plan and no one gives it a second thought. I am pretty sure a husband has never felt guilty for going to play in a rugby match on a Saturday, or felt guilty for working long hours to support his family. Two things I know cause huge amounts of Mummy guilt.
As Mum’s we feel we have to work like we don’t have a family, and parent like we don’t have a career. It is such a tough balance to get right and to balance in our minds and in our lives without endless worry and feelings of guilt.
So guilt is the other issue for a lot of my Mums. It is the guilt they feel when they set aside time away from their kids to do something for themselves, especially at weekends which are seen as family days. But if there is no guilt or ill feeling attached to a husband keeping himself fit and looking after his health and wellbeing, why do we still feel so guilty?
I chuckle to myself a lot about inequalities that still exist between men and women, not just in the major issues reported in the media such as the gender pay gap, but everyday things society does and possibly thinks without even realising the imbalance.
I read a comment on a social media post the other day from a woman calling a Dad she knew ‘super Dad’ because he had taken his sons for a day out. I can’t tell you the last time anyone called me or any of the Mums I know ‘super Mums’ for taking our kids out for the day, it is something women do every day with no recognition whatsoever.
Sadly I feel gender inequality is still very much here.
So what can we as women and Mum’s do about it to make it more even?
We can make our lifestyles as even as possible. We can ditch the feelings of guilt when we plan in time to exercise that might mean taking an hour or two at the most out of a family day at the weekend. After all, the up keep of your health and wellness through exercise is the best investment you can make for your kids future.
You can also exercise around your kids when they are having an hour of TV or some down time watching a movie and not feel guilty. Or, get them out in the garden with you, my kids love swinging off the TRX! They also know how to do press ups, squats, burpees, deadlifts……the list goes on.
We should all strive to get to a point where we don’t see exercise as selfish time, but just part of our family’s lifestyle.
Watching you value your health, your fitness and respecting and valuing your body is one of the best things your children can see you do, so don’t feel guilty.