Hey guys! Today for Mommy Monday, my friend Sam is talking about mom bods and why we shame one another. Er, more like, WHY are we shaming one another. I have never actually hung out with Sam. But this crazy professional dance world is so awesome in the way it connects all of us together! Sam was a Denver Nuggets Dancer before me and I have a vivid memory of her. (She doesn’t even know this story.) I was on Mammoth Wild Bunch (aka Dancers) when she was on Nuggets. Nuggets and Mammoth were in the same building and we had the same director/choreographer. We had a promo or something together, I can’t remember the details, but I remember her infectious smile and she bubbly personality. She was so sweet and had no idea how badly I wanted to be her teammate! (I had dreamed of being a Denver Nuggets Dancer since I could remember!) Sam was smiley, sweet and goofy and I remember thinking, “ahhhh… Someday I hope I’m that cool! Look at those cool DND bags! Those chicks are the bomb.” (Pretty sure “the bomb” was a totes normal saying back then!?)
Anywho, now here we are, a whopping TWELVE years later. Reconnected through dance, reunions, facebook, health, mom life, etc. I think that’s pretty amazing. Sam’s perspective on a mother’s physical and emotional health is refreshing.
The other day I decided to bum around Pinterest for a bit (or 4 hours, depending on how you want to define it), and I spent a significant amount of time in the Health and Fitness section. I have a love/hate relationship with this section, because I DO get a plethora of tips that I can actually use in my (attempted) fitness routine. And as a mom, sometimes I put myself on the back burner, so having an app that gets me motivated to watch Netflix on the treadmill instead of my couch is awesome! But sometimes, I come across a “fitspiration” that makes me think. Or something that resembles that. The one that caught my eye was “if you still look cute after your workout, you didn’t try hard enough”. Well, Pinterest pin creator, maybe I’m just THAT awesomely cute. Or have way better hairspray than you. I seriously do get dressed for the gym. I pick out clothes I feel good in. I make my ponytail, or required mom hair as it is called by some, look a little better. And yes, I am the girl that wears lipgloss, but that last part is for your own benefit. Otherwise we have a Walking Dead/ghastly white thing going on, and who wants to see that?
You see, the thing is, we are truly all different in the way we train, the way we eat, and the way we lose weight. One thing that works for someone isn’t going to work for another. Paleo works for you? Yipee!! Go you! You don’t eat carbs? Good for you! I am not so sure where the picking on each other came from, but it’s almost like we are split into cliques. We have the Super Fit Chicks, the Die Hard (insert diet plan here) peeps, we have the beginners, the regulars, and those that are just trying to make sense of it all. It’s just like the parenting styles: natural birth, c section mommies, formula/breastfed, the list goes on! I myself am in the Spanx, Minivan, and Latte group, we meet Wednesdays at 6pm if you are interested.
I think that as moms and fitness friends, we should start acting more like it, and less like we all know everything. As a nutritional counselor, I see everything. Some people are desperately trying to only drink 1 soda a day, while some are hyper diligent and strict. Every person fights a small war to lose weight, so why do we have such strong battle lines with each other? The most recent fray into this whole idea surrounded around the “6-pack Mommies” that you can find on Instagram. Man, those ladies work HARD and look amazing, don’t they? They can probably do a deadlift and feed a baby at the same time! The controversy around this, however, lies in the tagline some use, which is “I have x amount of kids, what is your excuse?”
Listen, I am not tearing these awesome women down. Lord knows if I had half the dedication they do, I might have a fighting chance of resembling them….You know, if you squint really hard and see me from a far distance. But you know what? My life doesn’t function that way. I have 3 kids under 7. I do carpool, dance, preschool, baseball, church activities, and I attempt to run a business. And I have no intention of stopping any of those things. I also will truly never look like them, 4 major abdominal surgeries, a thyroidectomy, and 2 autoimmune diseases made sure of that for me.
But none of that is an excuse, and I won’t pretend it is. But for some people, the “excuse” is that we aren’t there. Maybe we will get there one day, to the place where we lift really hard and prep for a competition. Or be the mommy in head to toe Lulu that “woke up like this”. But what if this isn’t your end game? What about the mommies that are starting from square one, that just want to make small changes? They shouldn’t feel “less than”. What about those who have more weight to lose than you can imagine? They might have much different goals than that, goals and milestones that are far different than that? I don’t consider that an excuse, I consider that realistic and attainable. Right now, I’m trying to get down to my cute jeans and be able to wear some of the clothes I love. I would love to break up with my Spanx. I want to show my kids that I care about my health. But do I have to do what you are doing to accomplish this? Nope. I can do **gasp** Weight Watchers, or Atkins, or Whole 30, even just cut back on the junk I used to eat and call it good. I can count my macros and keep a rigid weight routine. I can be a yoga enthusiast. I can walk on the treadmill, maybe only for 20 min at a time. Y’all, this isn’t an all or nothing game. It’s falling on your face and getting back up. It’s making small decisions that will add up to big changes in ways that you feel are right for you. It has to be a lifestyle that YOU can live with, not someone else’s, and that includes friends, family, coworkers, etc. This is YOUR life, and you get to choose how to make it the best it can be.
So many of us made resolutions for 2016. I’m sure some were for weight loss, and some weren’t. But maybe we can all add one more to this list? How about we stop judging and start supporting? Us mommies need to stick together, yo! Embrace each other and realize that we are all on a plan, and we are going to keep trying. Some of us just might do it with a little more lipstick and hairspray than others.
Samantha Stiles is a health coach and blogger in Parker, CO. She has been married to Brad for 9 years and is mommy to Jackson, Kendall, and Laynie. You can find her at blessingsoutloud.com in late August 2016.
It’s like we speak the same language and we’ve never even met. I’m with you, Sam. Lattes and spanx all the way! 😉 Oh, and lipgloss at the gym, four hours on Pinterest, thyroid issues and more. We were meant to be in each others path! XO
SO very grateful to all of my friends (old + new) who have taken the time to write for my Mommy Monday series. This has been amazing! I am hopeful that we are reaching other women and helping them to feel less alone, overwhelmed, or maybe just to let them know that, yeah, this mom thing is HARD. And it’s ok to have really bad days. We know you still love your kids even though you want to drop kick them sometimes. (I said want… I didn’t say I DO drop kick them. Calm down.)
You can catch up on previous Mommy Monday blogs here: My Story Caroline’s Story Sarah K’s Story Heather’s Story Britt’s Story Amanda’s Story Emily’s Story Rashelle’s Story Sarah P’s Story Kristin’s (KE) Story Erin’s Story Brittany’s Story