Taking time to exercise is good mom behavior

I can remember waking up in middle school to my mom returning from a training run with stories of “the nice police man” who followed her while she was running to make sure she was safe. My mom is a trusting soul, she often ran at 4am. Looking back now that I am a mom, three things about that memory are clear: (1) I no longer think she was crazy for running at 4am. It was the only down time she had as a mom and she took advantage of it rather that choosing not to exercise. (2) Her example and those memories are deeply ingrained in me as “what moms do” (3) That police man really was nice! Thank you officer for keeping her safe so she could grow up to be a grandma!

When I first became a mom, I didn’t exercise. I felt it was selfish to take time away from the kids to do something for myself. I “didn’t have time to exercise and be a good mom” with three little children. Honestly, some days it seemed to take an act of God to get 10 minutes to shower. When my triplets turned 2, I realized I wasn’t strong enough to pull the wagon with all three of them, so I started going to the gym. Going to the gym not to take care of myself mind you, but to be able to take care of them. It wasn’t until the kids were school age that I truly realized that by being a “good mom” and not caring for myself, I was actually falling short of my goal. Like the little boy in Rodney Akins song, Watching You, one day I realized “they were watching me”. If I never drank water, how could I ask them to drink 8 glasses a day? If I never exercised, how could I tell them it was important to exercise in order to be healthy? And so, like my mother had, I began to figure out how to find time to exercise even when I didn’t feel like I had time.

I also realized, like the spokes on my bike wheels, that one effort can branch into so much goodness. Biking has made me feel healthier and have more energy. My clothes fit better and what woman doesn’t like that? I have a whole new group of friends to ride with, or as my one bike friend’s husband says “to get out on the road and solve the world’s problems” together. And through charity rides and the kindness of others, I have raised a great deal of money for MS and cancer research. If you look at all of that through the eyes of your little buckaroo who is “watching you” and “wants to be just like you”, now I truly am being a good mom by being a good example.

This weekend in St. Louis is Pedal the Cause weekend. The event begins with a big celebration with face painting and kids activities on Saturday and culminates with a fund raising bike ride on Sunday. All the funds raised go to cancer research done at Washington University, St. Louis Children’s Hospital and Barnes Jewish Hospital. I would love to see you make a donation in honor of all moms out there, but even more, I would love to see you begin or continue to exercise in honor of the kids in there, at your house.

I’ll be at Pedal the Cause riding and so will my mom. Continuing to show by example, how to be healthy and also how important it is to do good for others. For us, this one is a bit more personal. My mom’s lifelong friend has breast cancer again and this time it came back with a fury. We know how strong she is and will be thinking of her strength as we pedal up those hills. Next year, we hope you and she will be there too!


Kelly Ross, M.D. About Kelly Ross, M.D.

Kelly L. Ross, MD is an assistant professor in the Department of Newborn Medicine at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and a pediatric hospitalist at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. She also serves as Director of Pediatric Hospitalist Medicine at Missouri Baptist Medical Center. As mother of premature triplets, Dr. Ross’ clinical interests include multiple birth, neonatal prematurity especially the late preterm infant and post partum depression, especially as it relates to high risk pregnancies. She is the Medical Director of Mothers of Supertwins (MOST), an international organization that exists to support families who have triplets, quadruplets or more. Dr. Ross is also a member of the MOST professional advisory board. She has co-developed two educational videos about multiple birth families, has been featured in a TLC documentary about a family of quintuplets, interviewed by Newsweek, Pregnancy magazine and various other local news programs and is currently editing a book for couples expecting triplets or more. Dr. Ross is featured on a monthly email from Babycenter.com and along with her hospitalist group, runs a health information discussion group on momslikeme.com. Dr. Ross served as a consultant on a National Institute of Mental Health-funded grant to educate medical professionals about post partum depression.

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