Being a mom is hands down the hardest yet most rewarding job on the planet. This is a topic I talk about a lot. I think something that society is really good at, is putting a ton of pressure on moms to be the perfect parent. I know we see other Moms out and about or on social media and sometimes feel like we aren’t doing enough. In reality, everyone is doing their best and we all know the temper tantrums and tears that go on behind closed doors.
At the end of the day, it is up to us to do what is best for us and our families. Since I’ve had my babies one thing I always remind myself is that motherhood can be a part of my life without becoming my whole entire life. I have been determined to make sure that being a mom doesn’t completely take over who I am as a person.
The Balancing Act
When other moms ask me, “How do you balance it all?” or “How do you keep from losing yourself?” I always explain that it starts with caring enough about your family to put YOU first. When you take care of yourself properly, you are then much better equipped to take on the world and take care of everyone else in your life. For me, it is helpful to surround myself with like minded women. We do not need friends that come with additional mom shaming and judgements! Following along and having support from other women with goals, ambition, and drive to both be a kick ass mom and live out a balanced life with goals and passions. These women are not hard to find, sometimes we just need to work together and remind ourselves that we are not just moms.
I asked fellow blogger and fitness inspo Katie McFarland to share her story and tips on this very matter. Katie is someone who embodies being a great mother, but also has her own things going on. Like I said, it helps to hear from other women that we CAN do it all!
Mom’s Little Running BuddY
Hey, I’m Katie, a mom of two elementary school kids, a corporate strategist, a fitness and endurance junkie. I am a former college volleyball player turned fitness competitor turned endurance athlete. Before the kids came around, I was competing in 8 to 10 triathlons a year and at least 3-5 half marathons.
Then I had two babies and triathlon training became more difficult and ultimately fell to sideline but because running basically requires just a sidewalk and some good shoes, I was able to keep that up. I competed in my second and third marathon during the preschool years.
Then the kids grew up some. Both of them took to sports and are now in 2nd and 4th grade participating on a combined 4 soccer teams, two basketball teams, a baseball team and gymnastics. I say this not to brag about them but in the hopes that you start to see that all these things start to generate a lot of demand for my time as a mom. This doesn’t include all the homework and school involvement.
While my kids have been growing, thankfully so has my career. The demands on my time at work are at an all-time high but you know what hasn’t changed? My desire to keep challenging myself and setting and hopefully attaining my own goals. The problem is that lately, I’ve been really hard pressed to make all these things happen in a 24 hour day.
We, as moms, are really good at watching our children grow and develop. We are really good at putting them first. What we aren’t always the best at is remembering that in order to show up for them in the best way, we need to show up for ourselves. I know this is a cliché statement. You don’t have to scroll very far on any social media platform to read it but I want to talk about the why for a minute.
Why don’t we make time? Why don’t we see ourselves as a priority? AND, how do we fix it?
My answer to the first question might also sound cliché but it’s guilt (justified or not). Guilt that time we spend on ourselves is time we’re taking away from our children. Before the pandemic hit, I traveled about 2 weeks a month, mom guilt was HIGH! But I was also forced to spend time away from them and I used my down time on business trips to maintain focus on my personal goals.
My answer to the second question is procrastination. It’s not that we don’t want to, infact, you probably say something like this…”I’ll get back to fitness as soon as my kids get a little older” well, here I am telling you that time doesn’t magically appear because your kids grow up. The demands change, life changes but it doesn’t get any easier.
So how do we fix it?
Well the one thing I’ve learned (the hardway) is that we have to set goals and we have to build boundaries. This applies to any goal. Getting your masters? Wanting to read more? Whatever the goal, these two things HAVE to happen together.
When it comes to a health or fitness goal, one thing I’ve realized is that if it doesn’t make you squirm a little, if it doesn’t create this burning desire to achieve it’s probably not the right goal for you. This is again where social media can work against us or for us, IG is full of people achieving (or sometimes making you think they did) goals. It can inspire but it can also demotivate you. Here’s something for you to think about..
Their goals aren’t yours! Spend sometime to think about what’s really important to you and what does look like if you were to achieve it? Can you visualize it? When I did my ironman 70.3, talking about it with my husband made me want to vomit, not because I was afraid he wouldn’t support me but because the visual of crossing the finish line made me so excited and scared at the same time that I knew it was the right goal for where I was in life. (Side note, it’s feeling like the right goal again.)
BUT setting a goal is just half of the equation. The second half is the important part for us moms. We have to build boundaries. Take those legos that are laying all over your floor and build a wall around the amount of time you need to achieve that goal. This is hard to do…believe me. If we’re all at home and it’s my time, I’ve gotten into the habit of literally professing to the entire house…
“I’m going to workout (most of the time in the basement or out for a run) for the next 45 minutes or an hour…the mom shop is closed”
And then stick to it. It’s easier if you head out for run but if you’re at home working out, you have to be strong. You have to learn to say no. You have to have discipline (for you and them). You have to stick to your guns! This will serve you and your children well as they grow up. What better way for them to learn the power of hard work and achievement than seeing you experience it.
So do me a favor, as we get into the season of giving, look at what you’re giving yourself. Are you setting your own goals? Are you giving yourself time? If not, use the tips above to start. It’s never too late, it’s never too early. Today is a perfect day to start and when the going gets tough remember that the last mile is always the least crowded but the finish line will always be there when you’re ready to cross it.
You can also check out Katies blog
The Easy Choice Isn’t Always The Best
I can’t say that my choice is always easy, but it’s always right for me. I want to live a complete life, and for me, that means having a life outside of my children. Fulfilling every purpose is critical for my happiness, and every day, I am grateful to walk in those purposes and to share them with all of you!