Learning to Invest in Myself from Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama and I had a moment today. Well, she doesn't exactly know about the moment, but I still had it.

In this Washington Post article, Obama talks about why she launched her Let's Move campaign, which is designed to get kids moving more and eating better. Some of it I had heard before, like her oft-quoted statistic that one in three children is overweight or obese. It wasn't until the end of the article that I had the aforementioned moment. Talking about what she learned about healthy living from her mother, Marion Robinson, she says:

"I didn't see a mother who had a career. I didn't see a mother who invested in herself and worked out, went to the hairdresser. My parents sacrificed everything for us. And that, in so many ways, made us who we are. But she will even tell me today that she wouldn't want me to do that for my girls. Fortunately, I had a mother who taught me through her own failings and could admit, 'This is what I would have done differently.' And I think because of that honesty, her openness, I'm more, I feel more confident about showing my girls now that you invest in yourself."

Of course, when Michelle talks about investing in yourself, you could say she's talking about more than just working out. But when I thought about it, the hour I spend at the gym (almost) each day is the time of day I feel most guilty.  That's when I'm thinking about all the chores piling up at home, the work emails going unanswered, the family dinner that's simmering on the stove until I return.

It hit me then, that there's nothing wrong with spending a little time (and let's face it—money) on yourself. And really, I need to learn that lesson before I try teaching it to anyone else.

So the next time I start feeling that way when I'm on the treadmill, I'm going to remind myself of Michelle Obama's words, particularly the penultimate line of the article: "Because of my mother I feel more comfortable saying, 'You're going to stay with Dad and I'm going to the gym.'"

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