Dealing with mum guilt

Shift’s Jennie explains how the 1 million steps challenge has caused a spot of ‘mum guilt’…

Time for me

Last night I was in a rare position. My parents had my daughter overnight and my husband was at work until later in the evening. I was completely alone.

As other parents might appreciate, having time to think of no-one but yourself is a pretty exciting concept. So, with the evening sun out and some of my daily steps total to catch up on I set off for a walk into our local country park.

As I was walking I suddenly realised how guilt-free I was feeling. As much as I’ve been enjoying the 1 million steps challenge, it’s sometimes tainted by that tiny feeling of guilt in the back of my head.

Perils of walking with a toddler

Walking for any length of time with a toddler is nigh on impossible. If she’s walking it takes roughly a million years to go anywhere due to her tiny little legs and uninhibited excitement at every single thing we pass. In the pushchair she lasts about five minutes before she wants to get out. Unless you entertain her with a toy. Then you have to stop every few steps to pick it up after she’s thrown it on the floor. Which is all fine and dandy but it’s not conducive to a high step count.

As a consequence if I want to get out for a decent walk it’s easier to leave my daughter at home with my husband.

For some reason this makes me feel guilty and I’ve struggled to work out why. I never feel guilty about having the odd night out drinking wine with friends. So why do I feel guilty about just going for a walk?

‘Just’ a walk?

I think it’s the word ‘just’ that does it. As I was walking last night I paid a bit more attention to the people around me. Not many people were ‘just’ walking. The majority were joggers, dog walkers and cyclists.

It’s as if my brain doesn’t think walking is as worthy an activity. Which is a bit silly really when you think about it. Because we all know walking is good for you. Since starting the challenge I’ve noticed I sleep better if I’ve been for an evening walk. I’m generally feeling a bit healthier too.

Mum guilt will always exist in some form but getting some time for yourself is important and if it involves something which is good for you then that’s definitely not something to feel guilty about.

As some rather threatening black clouds started looming I headed on home. I was even back in time to have a sneaky catch up with some of the soaps.

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