Attention all MOMS!!!
Stop, pause and breathe. Take time to read this. That means stop tasking. Stop cooking. If the floors are dirty now, they can wait another five minutes. The babies can hang out on their own for a bit, and you should feel empowered, not guilty for providing them safe independent time. They grow and you grow, with self care.
Despite all the challenges (can’t say that word does it justice sometimes), being a mom is the greatest thing in the world. Sure, it is absolutely hands down the hardest thing, but the greatness of the reward always outweighs to toughness of the role. My boys are 9 and 6. I still love to watch them sleep and even in their meltdowns, I love them HARD! I know I am not a perfect mom. I have flaws upon flaws, upon flaws. Some days, I am impatient and don’t give them all the love and coddling they deserve, but some days I totally ROCK it!
I take pride in being a mom. Most days, it is the one and only thing I want to feel accomplished at. I strive to make sure my life is put together enough, that theirs is. This means they have great lunches packed for school, dinner is served hot and at the table as a family, bed time routines are consistent, and family time is a checked box. THIS is my happiness. BUT, I can kick ass as a mom, because I also choose to make time for ME. I started this, “I matter too” journey 6 years ago when my youngest was 6 weeks old! YES, you read that right. I put me first for a minuscule part of a day with a 6 week old and 3 year old. Let me crawl out of the mom guilt, or maybe shame, that we all have experienced and tell you my why…
At 9 months pregnant with my youngest, I was topping the scales at about 220! And, I just had a flashback— oh my! I haven’t always looked like I gave a damn, like I do today. I can still vividly remember taking pictures of myself holding my newborn in the mirror with only my bra and shorts on and feeling incredibly grateful for my little love, but also feeling an incredibly deep depression for the image I saw in the mirror. It was such a bag of mixed emotions, along with all the other hormones coursing my body. It was in that moment that I saw myself. Saw myself in its rawness, including the deep purple stretch marks all over my body. Signs that I carried two healthy beautiful babies, but also signs that I let myself go. I was so sad, but also so motivated. I have never been skinny. I have always been a little “thick”. In retrospect, I was an athlete and a catcher most of my life. My legs and arms have always had a little looseness. I never really desired to be skinny because, I LIKE FOOD. However, that like for food turned into an obsession with food after collegiate ball was over. Years later, I was at that breaking point.
So, I did what most people do when they’re trying to regain control of their image, aka livelihood, I started searching for a fix. In the wee hours of the morning, as I was breastfeeding my baby boy, I started searching for ways to get motivated again. In the six weeks I recovered from delivery, I developed a plan. I had a group I became involved in, a meal plan, and a workout I wanted to start on. When the time came, I dove in head first because it was important to me. My willpower took over my doubts, and before long my negativity about my body faded into optimism. I began to care about feeling good about myself for the first time in a really long time. It felt great. It felt right.
What didn’t change, was my newborn and my toddler. They didn’t just magically vanish when I took me time. In the beginning, I was more tired than I have ever been in my life. A baby that was up multiple times during the night and a toddler that was still very needy, and not to mention I was a working mom. I knew that the most important piece of the equation was finding the perfect time to workout. Initially, I was only giving 30 minutes to myself out of the many other hours during the day I was giving to others. But, I kept moving forward.
I made sacrifices to get gains. I was up some mornings at 4:30. Some at 5:00. Some mornings workouts were paused (not stopped) so that I could feed my baby. Some mornings workouts had toys spread out all around me to keep the toddler busy. And, some mornings I worked out whining and tears, but that was ALWAYS ok to me because I knew I would be able to give more to them in the long run, by giving to me. The fact that I was moving in the right direction towards loving myself meant everything to me. Taking the mom out of me was not part of the equation, but putting self-love into me, was.
Slowly but surely, my morning workouts saved me. They became MY time. My time for reflection, my time to sweat, build confidence, and my cost efficient therapy. I did not love my kids any less. If anything, I started loving them more, because I had more energy to give to them throughout the day. Within months of giving to myself, I started losing weight (even with breastfeeding), and started gaining confidence. It was one of the most invigorating times of my life. I would wake up every morning and feel so accomplished!
Six years later, I still give to myself…every single morning! Not because I have to, but because I want to. Some days, the boys will get out and workout with me! Or, just want to watch what I’m doing— which is more rewarding than words can say. They know it is apart of the routine. They know, it’s hard work turned into WORC, and they are proud of it— of ME!
MOM GUILT is a thing! Anyone that says its not, is lying. There is this underlying pressure that moms have to do EVERYTHING and give EVERYTHING to our kids and our family. All of our time, money, body, every bare essential— moms are always expected to make the sacrifices. I am here to tell you that the societal expectations placed on moms is ruining us, one by one. Do not feel guilty for giving to yourself for 30 minutes or an hour every day. Do not feel guilty for turning on Paw Patrol and giving your kids an iPad, while you workout. Honestly, as they watch your good habits they learn good habits.
Do not feel guilty. Period!
You, mom, are a badass because you gave birth to a child, but that child should not take away YOU. What drives you, what moves you, what makes you, YOU. If you want and desire to be healthy and workout, you not doing it can’t be because of the kids. YOU are important. The day I chose to put me first, my kids started thriving. I no longer felt sad when putting on clothes. I no longer wanted to stay in the house to hide my appearance from the world. I wanted to be out and exploring life, because I loved ME again and I began to love life. This is the reason fitness is still so important to me. I know the value it brings to me personally and the value it brings to my family. I know the difference because I have lived the difference. If you feel any inkling of sadness surrounding where you currently are— move, go, push, pull, drive, thrive- go feel good about YOU. Feeling good about yourself in the mom world is underrated. Don’t loose yourself in all of the task of the day. Give to you first and then the task don’t feel like task. They feel like things that bring you peace because you know you are already doing things for you. This is bigger than Target trips or Amazon shopping orders. This is about fulfillment.
If you’re wondering where to start. Start here. Know that I am a mom, know that mom’s surround you in WORC and that we are in this together. Make movement towards something. Move, GO, in the direction of what brings you happiness. Find a space that is right for you. It could be your living room. I have dripped lots of sweat on my mat in my living room. Maybe its your garage. Maybe it’s a gym. Whatever makes you feel like you can both be a mom and a badass! Once you find your place, then commit. Don’t just commit to a workout, or a nutrition plan; commit to a lifestyle that if you give to it, gives to you!
Your babies (even teenagers are still our babies), will watch you, copy you, see you happy, and want to belong in your happiness. Choosing you— uplifts THEM! They matter and so do YOU. Be bold, be courageous; this is your LIFE. LIVE IT.