Mom Goals

I remember sitting in the doctor’s office when I was pregnant with my first baby and I came across a magazine that had a professional soccer player on the cover. The headline said something like: “Back on the field six weeks after delivering a baby!”

I remember reading that and thinking,“Yea, you go girl!”. I felt so inspired. I had visions of all the races I would run after having my babies, how quickly I would get back to Crossfit and all the things I would accomplish with a happy baby on my hip. I would not lose an ounce of myself, NO SIREE. 

Ah the blissful thoughts of somebody who has never actually been a parent, they are something huh?

What. a. Joke. 

The media calls the women on these magazine covers postpartum heroes. Feminists love them. The world praises them. Tired moms curse them. These women are amazing, it’s true. But stories like this also set unrealistic expectations on new moms. I should know, I tried to be like them. And it left me feeling like holding onto my sanity in new momhood wasn’t enough of a feat during a very very hard season. I had to do more.

When this picture above circulates every year, it makes me cringe and sends my mind racing. Do I have pride when I see it? Of course I do. There I am in my post-baby fit body, holding said babies after completing a marathon in a pretty respectable time when my youngest was just a year old. 

 But mostly I feel angry at myself. Because behind that picture of a proud mom of two who just ran a marathon is an overwhelmed soul, a struggling marriage and a woman hanging on by a thread. The reason I get so mad at myself is not because I didn’t hit my goal that day,  It’s because I should have never set that goal in the first place. You know what I needed that year? So many other things that did not involve running 50 miles a week on no sleep. 

I needed help with the babies. I needed to work on the resentment that was building and would eventually lead to me turning into a massively- dangerous -ready- to-erupt volcano. I needed space to breathe and think. I needed to work on my marriage. I did not need to get up at 4am after being up all night with a baby and go out for a 20 mile run just to prove something to myself and the world.  Just to have the gold star of an instagram post showing “Look at me! Look what I did with two kids at home and nursing and working and all the things! I am so awesome, right?!” Ugh.

Let me be clear. I am not against goals. And I am not against Moms going after their dreams and doing something that makes them feel good. If I am honest, running this marathon did not make me feel good, in fact it caused injuries I am still dealing with 3 years later. It was something I felt like I ‘should’ do. It was an effort to prove my worth to myself when I was feeling lost in motherhood.  I am against goals that do not match our season in life. 

My husband was traveling an insane amount for work. I had a flexible job but it was still full time and a lot to manage. My body was recovering slowly. I was exhausted. This goal did not help my hard season, it made it harder. 

We are so desperate to cling to our past selves after having kids, to know that the woman we knew is still there somewhere.  And I get that.  I never understood the idea of missing myself until I had my kids.  But that old self is long gone and my gosh you guys, I am SO GLAD. It was exhausting to be her. Always searching for my worth, for the gold stars, always going after SOMETHING. Why was I always needing to go after something? (I learned this answer in therapy btw).

I don’t want to do it all anymore. I want to do as little as possible. I want to do work that sets my soul on fire, work that I was put here to do.  I want to actually enjoy my family and the simple pleasures in life. I want to go on long walks and read novels on my back deck. I don’t care about the hustle. The hustle is a ploy to get me to do things for other people, for gold stars, to feel worthy by others’ standards. No thank you. 

I feel worthy just as I am. Even when I take naps in the middle of the day and don’t finish my to do list or don’t squeeze a workout in (gasp!). Took a lonnnnng while to get there, but thank God I did. It’s so freeing. It is all I want for my girls. 

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