I remember it very clearly. Sitting across from a young mother who was really not sure if she was buying the message I was selling. She looked me square in the face and said “I just assume that woman like YOU are bad mothers”.
To say I was caught by surprise, is a huge understatement. I mean really, what do you say to that? Immediately, I felt myself getting warm. If there is one thing a woman is always sure of and equally insecure about, it is her ability as a Mom. In this circumstance, I was in business mode, so it was just “slightly” easier to let it roll off my back and listen. What was soon revealed was as devastating as it was educational. This young woman had been sold a really shitty bag of goods! She bought into the old adage that in order to be a “good mother” you had to sacrifice yourself. To her that meant that extra weight, poor energy, exhaustion and generally feeling uncomfortable in her own skin, were badges of honor that told the world she was a great mother!
Whoever started this piece of BS needs to raise their hand! I’m ready to take it down!
There I was, sitting across from her, a single mom of just one daughter at the time, who was running not one, but two weight loss clinics. Even so, the fact that I somehow managed to exercise (thank the heavens for Bodyrock!) and eat healthy, meant I had my priorities backward. In her eyes, I was a bad mother because of how I looked.
I’ve told this story many times and many people think it’s an anomaly. I wish that were true. This took place in 2009, but it wasn't the last time I had someone say something similar to me. We only have to look at the slack Maria Kang has taken for calling out mothers by asking “what’s your excuse”. Maybe one of the reasons people love to hate her is because she takes away their badge of honour. She erases the excuse that being an exhausted mom with young kids means you get a “pass” on exercising and taking care of yourself.
But let’s look at that. What does it mean to be a good mother?
It’s not what you say, but what you DO!
It doesn’t matter what it is, a personal trainer, nutritionist, teacher, business mentor or parent. It is never what you “preach” but how you LIVE that gives you credibility. I’m not going to take business advice from someone who doesn't have a successful track record, you won’t find me hiring a personal trainer who is less fit than me or trust a nutritionist who smokes and clearly doesn't walk the walk. If you want to be an example for ANYONE you have to have to put your money where your mouth is! The same goes for being a great Mom! Live a life you love in a healthy body (we are not talking size here) that provides lots of energy. Be a good example. Like it or not, how you live your life is what your kids will remember you by AND what they will aspire to.
If the plane is going down, put the oxygen mask on you first!
If your biggest priority is your kids or family, then why are you letting your health fall by the wayside? How can you be there for them if your energy or health is suffering? If you are overweight, or even thin, but unhealthy, exhausted and not loving yourself or your life. How can you be there for everyone you love and want to protect? Your kids need you healthy and strong!
Life is about experiences
We all have a different story. Every single one of us! None of us are perfect and that’s the AMAZING part about life. We make mistakes and we go through pain. But I believe if you look closely, there is always a lesson. I’ve had the blessing of having two very different pregnancies and outcomes, so I can relate to both sides. I can tell you without a doubt that making myself a priority made me happier, healthier and a WAY better Mom. Before you give me the martyr story about how your kids are more important, please refer to the aforementioned points. Ask yourself if you want your kids to treat themselves the same way you treat yourself. Because make no mistake, that is exactly what will happen.
What about love?
It may sound cliché, but life is essentially all about love. That’s what we live and die for. The problem is, we are all so focused on trying to get the love we so desperately want. We forget to give it freely to ourselves first! This is true as kale is green! So choose love! Choose actions and food and people who make you FEEL good. Invest in yourself. You don’t need to be perfect. If you can tackle this, you will be teaching your children and everyone around you the most valuable lesson they will ever learn. Being the best Mom does not mean you sacrifice yourself. It means being your BEST self. Whatever that is to you.
If you’re ready to give up the absolutely INSANE and limiting belief that being a great Mom means sacrificing yourself “Like” and “Comment” below!