It’s Mighty Mommy Monday! Abbie of Farmer’s Daughter and I have decided to challenge you on a weekly basis. Claim the Mighty Mommy title for yourself — every day, not just Mondays. Every week, we’ll host a link up for you to tell us what you’re doing to take care of your health: workouts, menu plans, how to keep your family active, etc. I’ve set a few goals for 2014, but my biggest is to swim a total of 30 freestyle miles this year AND run a half marathon in October! Join us!
Sigh. Another round of Mommy Wars cropped up over the weekend. Perhaps you’ve heard about the #NoExcuses campaign? A young mother of 3 small boys who works full time posted an “inspiration” photo of herself in teeny, tiny clothes and all her fit and gorgeous glory with a few reasons that people use as excuses to not exercise and how they applied to her. Essentially, she pointed out at although she has limited sleep, time and a small herd of energetic boys to wrangle, she still makes the time to work out and care for herself, so what is stopping the rest of the moms?
I will be honest with you right off the bat, I saw the photo the first week that it was posted, checked out Maria Kang’s site and moved on. Whatevs. I’m not offended by people who post about their workouts. I view it as an opportunity to support them… I know it’s hard to get the gumption or time to workout when you have little children. Believe me, I get it. So when I see a mom making a sacrifice to get out there on little sleep and time restraints, I want to run around with banners cheering them on.
I am used to being active. I like it, but my world doesn’t necessarily revolve around it. It took me a while to work myself back into an exercise routine after having kids. Liam will be 5 in July and I’m still working to shed the extra pounds that have been hanging around. It’s frustrating and discouraging, but that’s why I work out with others. That’s WHY I found support and have people to talk to about my goals and my progress. I work out with people who are in better shape than me because they will push me. In a good way. They don’t shame or belittle me, but they keep encouraging me to try harder. And RESPECT me when I say I cannot keep up or feel uncomfortable with the challenge.
When I first started to exercise with this group, I cried a lot. I felt like a gross, fat slob. I didn’t like how I looked or felt. But you know what? The only way to get over that feeling is to put yourself out there and start somewhere. It totally sucks to step out and try. And there are days when I do. not. want. to. exercise. I don’t. But the reason why I keep going back and asking these women to train me, to teach me and to exercise with me is because they are willing to come alongside me and help. When I ask a question, they answer, they don’t judge.
The other night, Dateline kindly exploited the newest Mommy War and did a piece on Maria Kang vs. the Kansas moms who felt judged and bashed by her campaign. I could hardly wait to watch because one of the moms (Dionna Ford) is one of the sweetest, kindest, and most tolerant women you’ll ever meet. I was stoked to see how this turned out! Then, I got nervous. You know how women’s issues get so sensationalized.
I was right. It was a very uncomfortable segment for me. Because you see, on one hand, I WANT to like and support Maria for getting moms up and active. But whoa. Her tone. Her attitude. Her inability to even soften up her resolve to change Sara and Dionna’s minds. And the snarky, look-at-me-I’m-exercising-at-5-am-to-prove-my-point selfie. In the meantime, Sara and Dionna were game to live out Sara’s day on national television. While at Sara’s son’s therapy, Maria suggested that Sara should work out. I would have flat out told her no. My time while I wait for Liam’s therapy is sacred.
As I mentioned earlier, I’m still working to lose weight. I’m working hard. I’m watching my food choices and making a point to exercise. But I’m not whining about my weight. And perhaps that’s something that should be considered in all this. You and I make the choices we do for our own reasons, but we have to pay the price. I don’t have a whole lot of extra time because I choose to work out. Some of my friends have also made the same choices. They are way more ripped than I am. But they can say that they got where they are because they WORKED.
When I look at Kang’s photo campaign, I can see why people are turned off. I’m turned off by the zillion posed selfies. I’d rather read about how many miles you ran. Or that you met your goal in the deadlift. When these campaigns take the vanity turn, that’s when I’m out. The initial intent to inspire is wonderful, but the addition of the accusatory phrase paired with a body baring photo? *gag* Mean girls anyone?
The Dateline segment did not make me want to go exercise. It annoyed me. I didn’t like how things were clearly edited. I did not like how they zoomed in on Sara standing on the sidelines with a sad face holding her baby. Not once was it mentioned that her child was screaming and needed comfort. How many times have I stepped away from a workout to comfort a child? Or take them to the potty? (BTW, I had to do it this morning.)
You know what would have made me want to exercise? The mothers in the Kansas city group making eye contact with their little ones while they planked. Dionna’s sweet baby girl mimicking her mother. That. I don’t need someone demanding to know why I’m a failure. What I need is someone to look me in the eye and tell me how I CAN make time for myself and run or stretch or lift or whatever. I need someone to show me the correct way to do lunges and squats so I don’t ruin my knees.
After reading this back to myself I wonder if I’m projecting when I call it “vanity”. If I am, it’s my own issue. It’s one I know I need to work on, but at the time same time, if you think some one isn’t in good shape because they’re still fluffy around the middle, that would be your issue. Regardless of how you feel about exercising or Maria Kang or the Dateline episode, self care is very important. I have a friend whose self care is running lots and lots of miles. Another friend cross-stitches. Another friend bakes. Take care of yourself. Think about your health and do what you can to protect it. Our methods may be different but the point is that we all only get one body so we need to choose the method that is best for ourselves and our families. That’s not an excuse, it’s a priority.