by Sarah Wilson
Welcome to Motherhood: Detour Ahead
I was anxious to get back to the gym after giving birth partially because I love it, but also partially because I wanted to see how quickly I could get back to my old self. I wanted my old abs and my old PR's and I wanted them STAT. So how's that going you ask? Well, a few weeks ago I got my first post-baby muscle-up (yay!)... and this morning I had to stop midway through my crappy double-unders to take a pee break (boo!). So yea, not exactly the stuff elite athletes are made of.
Everything from working out to running a business is more challenging lately. There have been times in my life when I have felt one hundred percent certain of the direction I was headed. Times when I have had a very clear picture of the woman I was going to become and it was just a matter of putting in the work and walking the path so clearly laid out in front of me. Whether it was an athletic goal like racing at Duathlon Worlds, or a career goal like running my own business – I saw these dreams in my head long before they became realities.
There were rough patches, but having such a clear picture of my destination and few distractions always kept me on track. The first time I got on a road bike I crashed, yet I still believed I was an athlete. My first business ultimately failed, yet I still believed I was an entrepreneur. I believed whole-heartedly in my goals, which meant that ultimately no amount of failure deterred me.
I had tunnel vision and for a while this worked in my favor. I didn’t want to think about anything other than training or running my business and I didn’t have to. My focus, hard work, and unwavering passion were rewarded with success. It was challenging, but simple.
After the birth of my first son three and a half years ago, I was hell bent on not letting my role as a mother “interfere” with my “pre-kid” goals. I was also hell bent on not letting my career aspirations pull me away from being a “good mom”.
I worked hard to find a balance and there were actually times when I felt like I had it all figured out. I transitioned into motherhood clinging to the same goals I had before kids. I convinced myself that even though my life had changed dramatically, I could stay on the same course.
Seven months ago my husband and I welcomed our second child into the world. He is perfect and beautiful and every day of my life is better than the last because of my sons. I am insanely happy… but life was starting to feeling insanely complicated as I tried desperately to stay on the same course, now with a second child in tow.
I began to question myself, my goals, my ability to continue to be the woman I used to feel so one hundred percent sure about. The path didn't look so clear anymore, in fact it felt more like I was taking a major detour.
I think sometimes moms are in a huge rush to return to their former selves after giving birth. We feel pressure to get our bodies back, to get our careers back, to get our social lives back - all in the midst of figuring out who we are as new parents. At first I felt pressure to get back to work and back to the gym at the same pace as before. I quickly realized that if I wanted to be the type of mom I had always dreamed of being, the pace of everything else was going to have to change.
What if instead of trying so hard to get ourselves back to where we used to be, we focused on evolving into something new? This does not mean that we give up. This does not mean that we can’t have goals of our own while being exceptional parents to our children. It means that we work on creating a new vision of who we will become instead of trying to get back to who we used to be. At first this revelation scared me, now it excites me.
I believe that life is fullest when we are devoting ourselves to the things and people that we love. Instead of stressing about not having enough time for everything, I am going to be grateful that my life is so full of things that I care so deeply about. Instead of forcing myself down the same path towards the same goals, I am going to redefine what success looks like to me as it relates to my family and my evolving priorities.
So my Mother's Day message this year goes out to all the mom's who feel like they've fallen off track. You are not the same woman that you used to be... and that is a wonderful thing. Motherhood allows us to cultivate new strengths; it changes our perspectives and shifts our priorities. It is quite possibly one of the most beautiful detours your life will ever take.
Happy Mother's Day!
Lift Heavy • Be Happy,
P.S. Please leave your comments, share your experience, or offer advice! I would love nothing more than to hear from a few kick-ass mamas on Mother's Day! XO