Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Annoyed


You know what really annoys me?

Actually lots of things annoy me. Bad drivers, road construction, patients who show up late for their appointments...oh I could go on and on.

But one thing in particular annoys me a lot. I hear it all the time. Women, who when I'm talking about running, tell me they don't "have time" to workout. As if any of us do.


I don't take these comments personally, because I don't think it's directed at me. But I hear this comment often enough to be annoyed. What is the intent here? Is it to make themselves feel less guilty about not making time for exercise? Is it to make me feel bad because I do exercise? How about turning it around and patting another woman on the back for getting it done? What's wrong with taking time for ourselves?

In my experience, women aren't good at supporting each other. A while ago, another mom told me that I needed to make sure my boys knew that they were more important to me than running. I was really annoyed by this. First of all, MYOB. Second of all, how does that person know that I'm not putting my boys first? I've thought a lot about that statement since then. I think it is so important for moms to have something outside of motherhood that is their own. For some women that something is their career. For others, it's a hobby, like knitting or quilting. For me, it's running.

I've had a lot of melancholy this year as I've watched my boys pull away. It hasn't been as hard with my youngest, who still shares things with me and laughs with me. But my oldest son has become so private, so buttoned up, that I feel like I'm just a roommate with him. A good morning gets a grunt. A text to ask what he's up to gets a one word answer. So I ask more questions, and he gets mad. When did this happen? I know it is the natural course of things for teenagers to pull away, but how did this little boy, who told me everything, become a sullen, secretive teenager?

And what if I didn't have something for myself, my running, to make me feel good? What if I wrapped my whole life up in these boys? At one of my youngest son's rugby games this spring, another mother and I were talking about running. She told me she wanted to do a half Ironman this spring, but she didn't have time to train because she wanted to "be there" for her 2 teens. After all, she told me, this time is going to be over with before you know it. But as she said this to me, I couldn't help but think to myself, how much time would she spend training? One, two hours per day?

I do agree with her that my time with my kids is dwindling. When the boys were little, I didn't run nearly as much as I do now. I was more involved with their school, volunteering in the classroom. I hung out with the neighborhood moms on Friday nights, playing bunco, going to book club and going to Pampered Chef parties. But as they got older and started to pull away to spend more time with their friends, my involvement lessened. I started working more and running more.

My oldest has made it clear, through his actions and his words, that he doesn't want me involved in his life, as much as I try. I do what I can, but I try to be respectful of his need to spread his wings. I do let him know I'm around, even though he says he doesn't want me around. My youngest son is much more open to my involvement. But a great deal of the time, he's gone with his friends. What would happen if I didn't have a job, if I didn't have running? What would I do with myself?

I look at pictures of the boys when they were younger, when we used to do lots of fun things together. I feel a sense of loss that those days are gone. It sounds so cliched, but I ask myself all the time, where has the time gone? And maybe my grief is so pronounced because of the detachment I feel from my oldest son.

Everyone tells me that he will "come back" to me. That while extreme, this separation from me is important. I get that. I need to process it in my own way.

If that means taking time for myself in the form of running, I'm going to do that. But I'm going to continue to let my son know I'm there for him, even if he doesn't want me around.

Maybe my "hobby" is annoying to other moms. But that's their issue. I need to deal with mine. Keeping active gives me something for me, makes me feel good about myself, and gives me an outlet for all my angst.

We moms all need our thing. We need our own identity to help us with the transition from mothering children to becoming the mother of young adults. We need to show our kids that it's important to make time for exercise and even more importantly, to make time for ourselves. And yes, we need to support each other.

My tribe! Thanks, Mish, for this awesome image from last summer. And to my friends, for the tons of memories that go along with this picture.

What annoys you? Do you get annoyed by other moms who run or workout? How do you feel about other women telling you they "don't have time" to run?

I'm linking up with DebRuns who hosts Wednesday Word. Check out what annoys other bloggers!


81 comments :

  1. Wow, women sure can find a way to put other women down! I think the women who told you that really struggles with time management herself, or even self doubt. Honestly, I could care less if other women tell me they don't have "time" to work out or do anything else. It's none of my business. One of my favorite quotes is from aa women's conference I went to many years ago. The speaker told us "We all have the same amount of hours each day. Never say you don't have "time" to do something. Instead say you don't choose to spend your time in that way". Shame on that other lady for putting you own for the way that you are choosing to spend your time. Very heartfelt post Wendy!

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    1. That statement should say "putting you DOWN for the way you spend your time" apparently my "d" key is sticking!

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    2. I knew what you meant! I think she put me down because she feels bad about herself. But I hear these comments enough to think, what the heck? It really annoys me!

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  2. more hugs to you, dear FrIEnD :-) Parenting bites (sometimes), but I think there are so many parallels to running. If it was easy peasy all the time, none of us would appreciate the good times (or the great times, either). My marathon gave me a serious challenge, especially in the final eight miles or so. A lot of that was due to my training (or lack there of), but that finish line felt SO sweet....all because I did it. My endurance base (like that foundation we provide for our kids) pulled me through the stuff I wasn't prepared for, and saw me to the finish line. And I am stronger (and wiser) for the battle. Hang in there, you're gonna survive this :-)

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  3. As I read your incredibly insightful (again) writing, I could not help but think how while we women face this issue with time, involvement, "being there" for our family members (How DARE that women admonish you. You are so right, it is not her business she most likely has no idea how you both care for you family and manager your time), I've never heard anyone say to a man "Make sure your children know you put them before your golfing." (Or baseball or tennis or running, for that matter). I don't know if we'll ever fully be able to get past judgement or own own feelings of guilt. What a shame.
    I love the group portrait, and the caption.

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    1. I thought about that as I wrote this, that men would never say that to each other! Can you imagine?

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  4. I hear that quite often from people, they tell me it's nice I have time to work out. It sounds condescending a bit. I guess it makes them feel better about not doing it somehow...
    My response is usually the same, its not easy for me either. I have over the years, depending on commitments or work schedules, struggled to find a way to squeeze it in, but I DO try to find some way to be active, if I don't I feel like crap.
    I have struggled with the mom guilt over the years too, but everyone has some way they unwind, so if if makes them feel better thinking I am selfish...screw em :)
    Hugs on the teen issues, eventually the light bulb will go off for him and he will appreciate you.

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    1. I have to laugh, when people make that comment about, how nice that I have time...yep, I got up at 430 on Monday to get my run in. Wonder what those ladies are doing at 430? We don't have time, we make time.

      Sigh.

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  5. We must "run" in different circles. I guess most of the people I know are at least trying to live a healthy lifestyle so I really don't hear that.

    Even though I am not a mom, by observation I can see how important it is for moms to have their own lives. Heck, my mom didn't work but that hardly meant she was sitting home baking cookies for me. Women get lost in their children & that's not good for them OR their children.

    Most adult males really just don't talk a lot. What's up with that, anyway?

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    1. I hear this a lot at work and with some of my non-running friends.

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  6. A delicious read with my morning coffee! The time thing is just an excuse. Time is what YOU make of it and I decided years ago it would never control me. Yep, it means getting up extra, extra early some days and you know exactly what I mean about that. Every woman needs something outside of taking care of her family to challenge her, make her strong, gain some perspective and keep her sane. I get it. YOU GET IT, Sista!

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  7. Well, I don't really have many girlfriends who aren't runners so I rarely hear this; I have a co-worker who used to run but, now that her ex-husband is no longer in the picture at all, she very rarely has anyone to help her with her two small children. She doesn't have room at home for a treadmill, but she does take the kiddos out for a little run on the weekends and has plans to get back into it when they are a little older. I have had other folks, in the past, say that they don't feel like they have time; I just respond by saying that people have time for the things that are important to them. That usually shuts them right up! Hope you have a great day, Wendy!

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    1. I hear it a lot at work--most the people I work with aren't very health minded, even though we work in healthcare!

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  8. I feel EXACTLY the same way. We all have our life challenges. If you want something badly enough, you make it work. Saying that there isn't time is just an excuse. I feel so lucky to be surrounded by like minded people though!

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  9. Most of my friends think I am the energizer bunny because I work, run and still have time for my family and friends. They are mostly retired and don't do half what I do. You have to make time for things that are important. Running i important. I know you get it.

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    1. I do get it. And I think that I have more energy because I work out. Don't you agree?

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  10. Whenever I hear that people don't have time to workout, or eat healthy, I want to ask them if they had time to brush their hair, put on their makeup, or tell their kids goodnight. You make time for that which matters to you, and if you want to be healthy, you make time for it. But I would rather make time for my health and happiness now than when it is too late!

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    1. You and me both. I'm watching my friends put on weight and starting to have some of those "middle aged" health issues...I'm trying to keep that at bay as much as possible.

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  11. OMG!!! This was one of my annoyance too!!! It is sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo annoying!!! uugh!! Glad I am not alone!

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    1. Apparently we are in good company, judging by all the comments here and on my FBpage!

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  12. 90% of Americans don't work out on a regular basis - even though they know they should. So, they need to make excuses why they aren't doing it. Some even have need to make the 10% that do exercise feel guilty, just to make themselves feel better. Just keep your running/fitness train barreling down the tracks - nothing anyone says is going to stop it anyway! :)

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  13. I've found that most people that say they don't HAVE the time, or bash on those of us that do, are simply jealous...let the haters, hate...

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    1. I actually had that meme and was debating about putting it on the blog!

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  14. People really get annoyed at you for making time for yourself to be healthy? What the heck?! And yes - people do have time - you just have to make it! Wake up earlier, give up a TV show - you can do it, people!

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  15. I'm not annoyed by moms (I'm not a mother so can't relate to the "fellow mothers" part of this post) but sometimes by myself on the excuses. I'm really working on being more honest about things - if I'm not going to work out, it's not that I don't have the time to, but rather that I would prefer to sleep, or to do XYZ or that I did not plan to leave work early enough to run before another appointment. Being true with myself is the big thing. The other mother has time (we all have it) but is choosing to do XYZ instead.

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  16. You know, I actually had a discussion with some other moms about this a while ago, but the topic was reading, not running. A bunch of them were surprised that I had time to read so much, couldn't understand how I had time to do it, why I would bother when I am already so busy with the kids, etc. I have gotten some similar comments about running, though not as much (likely because I hang out with a lot of other moms who are also athletes...so to them, working out is OF COURSE part of the daily routine). I think people have time for what they WANT to have time for. If they say they "don't have time", it's not because the hours aren't in the day. It's because they're choosing to spend those hours differently. And why does it matter to others how I choose to spend that time??

    The funny thing to me is that some of the other moms you talked to made it sound like you were shorting your kids by running instead of being with them. I'm sure those other moms aren't spending every waking moment with their children. They may not be running, but maybe they spend 1-2 hours a day watching Netflix, or reading, or knitting, or whatever, instead of running. Perhaps they just don't talk about it as much as we do, as runners. Or maybe their hobbies are less "public" than running is. But like you said, every mom needs some kind of outlet. Your kids are better for it! I don't like being away from my boys some days (especially on looooong long run days, that can be hard), but I also love it that my 3-year-old is already so excited to start running races with me. I'm setting a positive example and showing him what hard work can achieve, and the bonus is that I get to keep my sanity by going for a run every day. :)

    Sorry for the longest comment ever, but I really enjoyed this post!!

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    1. I read a lot too. But I don't watch much TV at night...instead I go up to bed and read my books. I'd rather do that anyways.

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  17. Whose life ISN"T busy? Right? ... you're so right, its all excuses.
    I know I'm busy & its hard for me to get in runs & when I see mom's doing it, I always give them credit. That's dedication. I hate the idea that others sort of shrug off hard work though. That's called DENIAL :) haha

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    1. Everyone's busy, but it's all about making time for the things that are important to you.

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  18. I hate it when people say they don't have time to work out, what they are really saying is that they aren't willing to make the time to work out. It doesn't have to be that long! The whole anti GMO and organic movement is also a little annoying to me... a lot of people screaming about it don't even have any idea what they are talking about. Grr. Now I am getting worked up. :)

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    1. Seriously! This is a dangerous word for me because I have a lot of things that annoy me....

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  19. Everyone is "busy", I think it's all about priorities and what is important. I think it's a great lesson to children to see a parent prioritize themself and their fitness. It's a lesson they may not realize they're learning at the time, but when THEY are a parent, it's something that can be reflected on. My parents were always active and I'm certain that's helped me lead a more active adult life.

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    1. My mom was always active, and I agree, that really influenced me. She always made time for the things that were important to her.

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  20. My teenage son is more interested in electronics than fitness (even though he can somehow do some exercises better than me) so I can't really get him involved in anything. I have made him come with me to the 5Ks I've walked this year so that he's out of the house. I gave up my AM internet time before work to start working out; my husband set that. It was the best decision he's made (besides marrying me of course LOL) because I wouldn't have the time/energy to do it any other time of day.

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    1. I'm a morning exerciser too. I'm too tired after work!

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  21. I have mixed feelings about it. I do think saying you don't have time for a 20 min workout is an excuse. Everyone has 20 min they can re allocate to do something healthy for themselves. It's their choice what to do with that time. People don't have to be as passionate as we are about exercising to gain a benefit from it. Have an awesome day!

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    1. I love the HIIT workouts Jill Conyers has been featuring! Twenty minutes and done, and a great workout to boot. No excuses.

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  22. Oh Wendy...just ignore those moms.... No one knows what anyone else is dealing with and in what way.... and no one really knows what it is like to be in your shoes. I actually think that it is VERY important to show our kids that we have our own identity... our own thing that we do just for ourselves.... we would want them to have their own identity...we show them how important it is by having our own...

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  23. My mom set a great example for me in taking time for herself. Actually, both my parents did. You do not and cannot be around your kids 24/7. It's not healthy for anyone. People find time for what's important . Sometimes that time is 4:30 am.

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    1. I actually like those early morning workouts, when I have everything to myself!

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  24. The "I don't have time" just means "I prioritize other things above..." And if these moms are also the ones spending hours on Pinterest or watching all kinds of TV shows that I've never heard of much less take time to watch, then I know they've also defined their priorities and they don't involve spending every waking moment with their child.

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  25. Putting other people down is a way a lot of people make themselves feel better. Anyone who puts you down for running is most likely feeling guilty or inept for not putting their own health as a priority. Keep running because that's what keeps you happy and healthy, and being happy makes you a better mom!

    The early high school years are the years that boys seem to need their space. By the time mine went off to college they were delightful humans again, and being the mom to young adult men is fabulous. Hang in there, Wendy, they'll come back around!

    Thanks for linking up! I love having you as part of my weekly Wednesday Word.

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    1. I keep hearing that things are going to get better. I'm hanging on for dear life! Grateful as always for my friends and for running.

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    2. BTW, my oldest son will be attending The University of Chicago Booth School of Business for the next two years while working on his MBA (he and his wife are moving to Chicago next month). My hubby and I plan to visit often so I will be picking your brain for some good running trails and races to enter. Hope to meet you sometime while visiting, too! :-)

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    3. Oh let me know when you are coming! I'm happy to tell you all the 411 and I'd love to meet you too! Congrats to your son!

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  26. I hope things turn around soon with your oldest... being a mom is a tough job! I agree with you that women don't support each other enough. We really should love and encourage each other instead of judge.

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  27. My oldest was home for two days on leave. Boy did those feelings of change really hit home. God bless!

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  28. Ugh, I hate when other moms want to give their 2 cents. Why can we all do what just makes us happy and leave it at that?

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  29. I don't have kids so even more reason for me to keep quiet and not give my 2 cents. :-) I just listen and if anyone asks my opinion then I will give it to them. However, I will give you my 2 cents when it comes to education with the little ones.

    I stopped telling myself that I don't have time. Who am I kidding? See above. So, I just say that I'd rather not go or do it (whatever it may be).

    I think you are amazing and a beautiful person!!!

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    1. Aww, thank you, my friend! We all have time, right? So let's just own up to those days we don't want to get it done.

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  30. Agreed! I work full time in a very demanding job, I ahve a child with epilepsy and a 1 hour a day commute and I find time to train for a marathon. I hate the no time excuse!

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  31. What a terrifically put together post, Wendy. I'm going to play a bit of advocate here though.

    Are you not doing the same exact thing as what annoys you? Aren't you doing the same thing as the folks who should mind their own business? The folks who have no idea whats going on behind the scenes of your life? The folks who rush to judgement about the amount of time you spend running & working out, who comment on your parenting.

    Just like those folks have no idea whats up behind the scenes in your life, you really don't have any idea what's up in theirs? Everyone is fighting their own battle. Yes there are a few people you mentioned who sound like real assholes. But the fact that they don't exercise the amount that you do, why does that annoy you? That, in fact, is what is so interesting about this post. As well as all the comments. Congratulations to ALL the folks who workout and make the time. That is their life and their truth.

    Are we not as bad as the people who shame us for the amount of time we put into training & working out when we shame the folks who don't workout as much as we do?

    And why do you care what they think?

    You do yourself and this blog and your kids a disservice with feeling the need to explain what you choose to do with your time and how you parent.

    You are a rock star. And an awesome parent. If your teenage son hadn't pulled away from you by no, I'd be questioning your parenting THEN!

    You are my hero.


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    1. Tahira! I've been wondering where you've been! Thanks for your thoughtful comments. I think you misunderstood me tho...I'm not annoyed about people not exercising, I'm annoyed that they tell me they don't have time. Feels judgmental to me. That's all...

      And yes, you are right, I shouldn't care. I wish everyone would just support each other. Throw a busy mom a bone, say "good for you!"

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    2. Haha! Uhm, I've been training for a Half Ironman that will take place in 7-ish weeks! From getting out the door to getting back home on any given training day will take anywhere from 4-6hrs. But please PLEASE don't think I haven't been following all my favorite blogs! I have! I just had decided to mentally check-out. But even when I do that, I am still around.... even if I just lurk about.... and be the devils advocate.

      I am throwing you a bone.... GOOD FOR YOU, girlfriend! I am your number one cheerleader even when you don't hear me cheer-leading!
      xoxoxo Miss you!









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    3. I am cheering for you as well...keep me in the loop about your progress! I'm so proud of you and this challenge that you've taken on! You inspire me, you know... XOXO

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  32. This is so great on so many levels. I do think women who say that to you are justifying to themselves why they don't take care of themselves and then adding a jab at the end to let themselves think they are superior. I started running at o'dark thirty am so it wouldn't interfere with the time with my kids. Now that they are older I could run a marathon every weekend before they'd be up! I also agree that mothers need to find there own thing. Just for themselves. But if you have to justify it from a parenting perspective, it sets a good example and enables you to be a better mother -- the whole "put on your own oxygen mask first" thing.

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    1. I used to get up at zero dark thirty to get my runs in too...that's what we do, put our kids first but never stop training, right? I don't know about you, but running always makes me a better mom.

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  33. Although I'm not a mom, I completely agree with having something that's just yours. The same thing is important just in marriage, in my opinion. Plus look at the example you're setting for your kids - that you do take care of yourself and that exercise is an important thing. If you don't take care of yourself, how can you possibly take care of anyone else?

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    1. I agree. So many of us (women) are caregivers for everyone in our lives, and we aren't always good at taking care of ourselves. At least, that's what I see...and I don't think we need to make excuses for ourselves when we do!

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  34. That doesn't annoy me too much when someone says they don't have time to exercise. I can't let comments like that bother me. I do have more of a problem with people who make comments about being away from my family or giving off the vibe that I'm not a good mother because I run and take time for myself. I'm a better mom because of it. I'm setting an example for my daughter to find something that you love and do it. I'm showing her that the importance of self love and taking time for yourself.

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    1. I agree with you 100% that exercising/running makes me a better mom. It's so important to have your own "thing".

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  35. Great post, and as usual your honesty is amazing. I 've been really lucky to find a very supportive group of women in my MRTT group. More supportive than I've ever seen women be. And yes, I get the same thing from people not in the running group, some think I'm doing this professionally, LOL. That is funny isn't it. If only that were so. It's important to have an outlet for yourself, and I will NEVER feel guilty for it!!

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    1. Me either! But I get annoyed when other women try to make me feel that way!

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  36. Ha! My friends and coworkers know that I rise at 4AM to workout, so none of them ever tell me that they don't have the time to workout! They know the lengths I go to to MAKE time to workout!

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  37. This is a fantastic post Wendy ! Agree with you 100%. Anyone can fins sometime for fitness as long as it is a priority. Exercising several days a week for me is not selfish, but it helps me be a better mother and person because I am less stressed. It also makes me feel confident about myself and I think showing the fact we are confident and respect our bodies is one of the best messages / things to pass on to our children.

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  38. Wendy.... So many emotions hit me when I read this post! I love your honesty so much. It's true about the "time" thing too. I don't have the time either... But I make it. 4:45 am. Full time mom. Full time job. One hour for myself. My babies (3&5) actually comment in the morning.... "Mommy did you run today?" It's a question of how much do you want it really?!?!? That's my time. Done days exhausted... Other days I feel ALIVE!!! Most days I feel ALIVE!!!!

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    1. Isn't that why we do it? To feel alive? I knew you'd get it.

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