I’m putting myself in time out. I’m actually pretty excited about it – the total opposite of my four year olds’ reaction.
Anyone that follows my blog and knows me personally is aware of the craziness that is my life. I write these blogs to remind myself of what was going through my head during certain times of my life. There are many blogs that have been written that may never see the light of day, but they will always be there for me to read. I go back from time to time and re-read old blogs from a few years ago, just to gain perspective. This one, however personal it is, I felt like sharing.
This is mostly directed toward the moms out there (sorry, guys); although I think everyone can relate to some parts of this discussion.
We all need to stop, and breathe. We are constantly being bombarded with information. We wake up in the morning, the news is on TV or the web, we get updates in our inbox on everything from Amazon deals of the day to the weather forecast, stock reports, etc. Then, we have the radio blaring at us on the commute to work. Advertisements on billboards, commercials, all of it. Then, there’s social media. With our smartphones in hand, we are literally available 24/7.
I see the repercussions everyday. I have kids, and adults, that come into the clinic for treatment that can’t put their phone done to actually participate in their treatment. I see whole families out at dinner, each person with a phone in their hand, no words spoken at the table almost the entire time.
It all breaks my heart. People don’t even put down the phone to drive their car…something has to give.
I, for one, have fallen victim myself from time to time with all of the noise. I have noticed some behaviors within myself that I am not happy about, I’ve noticed that I’m setting unrealistic standards for myself; and I want to change that.
My last couple of blogs touched on my thoughts on racing and multi-sport. I have also discussed my jobs and the effect they have one me. The short version of that topic is: worry about yourself, do what you love, because it’s your journey and no one else’s.
I think as moms today, we have a lot of unnecessary stress on us. Let’s break it down:
Many moms work. Some have to, some feel like they need to, and some are needed at home. Moms are also expected to keep the kids active, healthy, provide nutritional meals, clean clothes, birthday parties….the list goes on. We are supposed to bring up children that are well-behaved, super intelligent, self-sufficient, etc.
At the same time, we are supposed to look beautiful, young, and like we can kick your ass. I have seen it on social media, and I know it’s not reality, but many moms out there seem to be doing it all. Look how little I eat, or I don’t eat carbs, or I can run 50 miles and still report for carpool duty, or I can lift more weights than your husband, all while rockin’ my new hair color and tattoo.
I think back to the early 1980’s when there were shows about families on TV (that were actually able to be watched by a family), and the moms on there were REAL. They were tired, they were busy, they were walking around in sweatpants with bags under their eyes. They weren’t comparing themselves to anybody, they were just trying to get by and not lose their minds. Maybe they did jazzercise, or they went jogging when the kids were at school, but they weren’t trying to train for a 100k race or an Ironman. They weren’t working full time and driving kids to soccer, track, football, swim lessons….Or maybe we just didn’t know because there was no Facebook? I’m not sure.
Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves? I saw a meme the other day that hit home: “Stop trying to keep up with the Joneses. The Joneses are broke.” A true statement that reflects what’s happening today. More is not better. You don’t have to be everything to everyone. And what you see on social media is not the real story.
I have said this before: physical therapists are a dime a dozen. I can be replaced at any time. Same thing goes for coaching. But, I am the only mom these children have. I cannot be replaced.
I am too hard on myself, I demand too much from myself, and at the end of the day, I feel like I fail. Why? Because I only biked 15 miles and not a century like people in the training group? Because I ate a sandwich with two pieces of bread (the horror!)? Because I let the kids stay home and read or watch TV instead of forcing them to go to running club? Or how about that the house is a mess because it’s summer and there are toys everywhere? I don’t have an organically grown vegetable garden in my backyard. I’m not perfect. My house is not perfect. It’s ok.
It’s time to unplug. It’s time to disappear from the radar for a while. I need time to just be. This is good timing, since our annual family vacation is approaching. And I need this break.
I need to worry about the things that are important and that I can control. I don’t need to train like a crazy person for a race that I think I need to do. Especially if it doesn’t make me happy. As soon as I decided to drop some things off of my schedule, I felt a rush of relief. That’s how I knew I made the right decision. I am taking a break from endurance events, because that is what’s best for me and my family right now. I am taking a break from social media, even though it is required for me to be on there for work reasons; I am taking a break from beating myself up because I am not perfect.
I eat chips, I like chocolate, I love a good stout, and I eat cookies. I will never have 10% body fat, I will never look like a professional body builder, and I am ok with that.
If I could teleport back to the 1980’s, or even further back, I think I’d give it a try.
I want other moms out there to know that you are not alone with your struggle to be everything. But, it’s ok to walk away from it a catch your breath. It’s ok to be you, and to be happy about it.
If you happen to enjoy working hard, training hard, eating right, and all of the above, then I applaud you. I don’t want anyone to take offense to this blog. If you are happy, that’s the whole point. I happen to want to change my personal behaviors – I’m not saying there’s something wrong with you if you have a different opinion. We can celebrate the fact that we are different, and have different needs and wants. Be happy in your own skin.
These are the thoughts that were whirling through my mind on my morning run. I came home with a new purpose and a renewed sense of self love. I know what I want, now I need to make it happen.
Whew. Feels good to get that off my chest. Now, to make breakfast for the kids….
Amy is an ultramarathoner and triathlete, a coach, a mother of four, an Exercise Physiologist and a Physical Therapist. She lives with her husband, Dan (also an ultramarathoner and triathlete), and four kids in Ohio.