Don’t let your Opinion of your Appearance Affect your Physical Capabilities

I’ve spent countless hours critiquing myself in the past; picking out the things that were wrong with me or not good enough! Looking in the mirror and seeing my flaws instead of my strengths.

How many times have you done this yourself? I don’t think I’m alone with these negative lenses I look through. For some reason we live in a society that has a general level of superficial focus…..Do you have a nice big house? A fancy car? Are you thin? Are you attractive?  It’s sad, but true. I feel over the past few years there has been a bit of a change, focusing more on strength over being thin; but it still feels like a competition out there about LOOKS and SUCCESS and not about just being your best you.

After I had my children like many new moms I felt as though my best years (from a physical standpoint) had passed. After 3 c-sections, and complications with recovery on my third, I did feel as though maybe my body was just ruined in ways that could never be repaired. But I decided I wasn’t going to succumb to those feelings and I changed my focus to strengthening and challenging myself. I wanted to get back to a place where I felt comfortable in my own skin. I started taking pictures about 8 weeks postpartum and began training for a half marathon; which was just 5 months to the day after I had delivered my youngest!

I’ve written previously in Respecting my postpartum body about the physical and mental challenges and changes that training and accomplishment had on me. And recently, after completing two half marathons this year, I looked up those old postpartum pictures I took to see what progress I’d made.

Progress Collage-0915 text

Here is a comparison showing my progress. It’s humbling to see myself in the left pictures. I was 5 months postpartum and had just completed that half marathon I was training for. I used that training as my motivation to help me get back into shape. I had lost weight and was feeling good about the progress I was making. Looking at them now it’s interesting to see what perspective and self-appreciation will do to those lenses we critique ourselves with!! That body still needed some work, and the one I have now still needs some work! But I didn’t let my negative opinion hold me back because I started focusing on new motivations. It was no longer a motivation to be thin or look my best, it was a motivation to challenge myself and appreciate what I could do regardless of how I looked. This change in focus has helped me get 10 pounds UNDER my pre-pregnancy weight and has helped me have confidence in how I look for the first time in, well, I can’t tell you how long.

The best take away I can share from my experience is to stop setting weight loss goals, and start setting physical goals that challenge you in a way that seems impossible! Follow through with those goals and the weight will come off, you will appreciate your reflection, but most importantly you will find a real, true sense of self-appreciation and respect. And THAT is the best gift you can give yourself!

Until next time……Thea 🙂

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Ultimately, I really just want my kids to be nice!

kindness

There are many things I want for my children. I want them to be happy, confident, successful, hardworking….the list goes on! But more and more I am realizing, the #1 quality I want my children to possess, is kindness.

I feel like in our society today, being nice is so under appreciated. This is a generalization, but I feel like our society is focused on getting ahead, parents want to give their kids a “better life” than they had growing up, and our children have a sense of entitlement. The most basic expectations we had as children, please and thank you’s, seem to be a rarity with the children of today. Let alone, general kindness to others. Bullying is a norm for young children to deal with in schools, on the bus, at the playground…..where has our sense of compassion gone? I’m not sure if it’s because there are more distractions with technology today, for parents and children that everyone is fighting for attention; or if our society overall is just under valuing the basic benefits and value in being kind!

While growing up my Mom always told me if someone’s being rude, picking on you, don’t lower yourself to their level, just “kill’em with kindness!” It was great advice that I still use today. Now there is a point in which you have to stand up for yourself and I also learned from my parents to not stand for being disrespected; but there is a way to stand up for yourself without lowering yourself to someone else’s level.

I’ve been trying to teach my oldest, Piece’s, who is in Kindergarten, to simply call people out on their behaviors. If someone is being mean, simply tell them, “You’re not being very nice right now,” and if someone else is being mistreated to stand up for them. Sadly, I don’t think this is a common practice among young children these days….

In my personal experience and opinion, being a kind, polite person generally leads to getting kindness in return. The age-old saying of, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all,” is most definitely a simple and true one. Don’t get me wrong, I am not perfect; I have times where I should think more before I speak. But in general, I feel being nice has helped me be more successful in my career and has made me a better mother, wife, friend…the list goes on.

karma

I’m not a very religious person, but I believe in karma; I believe that the type of energy we put into the world comes back to us in that way. The more positive, polite, kind I am the more and more I will get that in return. So that is what I am trying to teach my children. And I hope more than anything that they continue to grow into strong, hardworking, confident and most importantly NICE people!

Until next time….Thea

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How Motherhood Changed my Dreams

I recently had a few job opportunities come my way. I’ve been home full-time, working part-time, most of the past 3 and ½ years. When trying to figure out what I wanted to do I discovered that my goals and aspirations in life have change quite a bit since becoming a Mom.

Don’t misunderstand this statement as me saying I no longer have dreams for myself. I do, I have many dreams and things I would like to do and achieve. But when analyzing and soul-searching the lifelong question, “what do I want to do when I grow up,” everything seems different because my life is no longer just about me; or even just my husband and I. My choices now strongly take into consideration what is best for my family? Not just from a financial stand point, but also well-being.

I have years of successful sales experience. My last few years in the work world I was encouraged to try to move into a Field Sales position and that had always been my plan. I much prefer working with customers face to face, but traveling for days at a time, regularly, that just didn’t sound appealing anymore knowing my husband and I wanted to start a family.

Successful business woman giving a presentation on flipchart.

I always felt a sense of accomplishment based on my level of success in my career. I think that is very common in our society these days. So once I started staying home I think I went through a bit of an identity crisis, LOL! Who had I become? The answer was just a Mom, and was that enough? For a long time I didn’t think it was because I felt like I have skills, potential, whatever you would like to call it, and I wasn’t using those things to benefit my family. I used to focus on what I did best, or could do the best, to make the most money; which in turn I felt was best for my family. I’m have to be honest! I wasn’t really focusing on what I had a true passion and interest in doing with my life. I felt like financial stability was going to help my family; especially after living paycheck to paycheck for years after deciding to stay home. I envisioned myself going back into a sales career, moving up, maybe striving for management. It’s what I had done, and pretty well!

I remember before having children I told someone my dream job was to be a personal trainer. I love fitness, being active, and pushing myself to continue to do new things; even as I get older. Well, my husband laughed at this statement one time! I asked him why and he said, “Because you say it’s your “dream job” like it’s something that would be hard for you to accomplish. In reality you could quit your job and change careers very easily!” He was right. My hold up was that a passion job wasn’t as lucrative a sales career, and that just didn’t seem like a smart decision. But the saying, “The best things in life are free,” is so true! I’ve been much happier being home and dealing with limited funds. Raising my children and trying to make the best of these years when they are young. So being a Mom has changed me, and changed my goals in life because making sure I can create the best family life for them is my most important goal.

Currently my husband’s job has become very demanding. It’s a good thing! He has a great job but he works long hours and has been traveling recently. When thinking to myself what kind of life do I want for my family and what do I actually WANT to do with my life. The answer is, I want to be there for my family, both in actual time AND I want to be present. Sales, though a great career, is also stressful and can require extra hours. I envisioned myself getting stressed out, overwhelmed and not being the person I needed to be for my family back in that career.  My husband’s job is going to continue to be demanding and I don’t want my kids to spend hours at a daycare and then come home to a rushed couple hours with stressed out parents. I want to give them what I can, and that is time, support and a sane happy Mom!

Family Pic

For now, I’m going to focus on my family and just be a Mom. After thinking about career options personal training would be a great fit in my life going forward. It can be part-time, flexible with scheduling and is something I would absolutely LOVE! So here’s to the future and all of its possibilities!!

(Am I alone in this? Have you other Moms out there experienced a whole new perspective that changed your goals and dreams for yourself? I would love to know how motherhood has changed you?)

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Mommy Wars- Can’t We All Just Get Along!

I’ve read and heard a lot about the “Mommy Wars” going on these days. Mom shaming seems to be everywhere! I know some level of judgment is natural. We all feel that what we are doing what’s right for us, so sometimes, we may feel that our choices are the right choices. But every mother, father, child, family; well they are all different. So really, what’s with all this mommy drama!

high school drama

Here’s a great example!!!

mom enough nursing

So you’re nursing your kid till they are in preschool, kindergarten, a teen, whatever it may be! Well, good for you. People either love or hate this it seems. Breastfeeding has become a really hot topic these days. I’m a big believer in breastfeeding; I nursed my kids till they were 4 months, 8 months and 13 months; but some people just can’t! It just doesn’t work for them for a variety of reasons, or medically they can’t. Whatever the reason you are not a “better” mom because you nursed (regardless of how long). You are just a mom who nursed! And nursing them longer than the average person, well I do commend you for that. I was sad, but ready to be done at 13 months with Miss T. And for me I felt having them drink independently at the age of one was a good thing. But that is what I think is best for my family.

fitness shamer mom

And here’s another example….Wow, you look great! Way to go! I might have found your story motivational had you said, “You can do it,” “Here’s what I did!” But no, you had to use the condescending angle. This really pisses me off as an active mom who tries hard but will probably never have a body like that. And honestly, it’s not an “excuse.” My body is different than yours AND I enjoy some sweets and wine on a regular basis, which can be a bit counterproductive, LOL!

sahm-vs-working-mom

The SAHM vs working mom battle! This one is so complicated to me because I’ve been on both sides. I went back to work full time after I had my first child for almost two years. I left my job after my second child was born, but worked part time until 6 months ago (for 3 years) to make ends meet. It wasn’t an easy decision to stay home. I had a good job making good money. We went from financially stable to pinching pennies and we are just starting to see the light! But that was a decision my husband and I made for our family. And no, I don’t think I’m any better of a mom than a working mom. I feel for the working moms who want to be home but they can’t. I respect and appreciate the working moms who want to work and are kicking ass in the work force. And I feel for the stay at home moms who are making sacrifices to stay home. None of these options are easy!

So what’s our problem?!?! Why are we all trying to say we are “doing right,” instead of saying “way to go?” I mean regardless of what decisions you make from feeding, to working, fitness and more; being a parent is freaking HARD! I don’t know all the nuances of your family and your situation to know what is best for you. I only know that I am trying my best to be the best mother, wife and person I can be. I don’t think I am right, I just know that I am trying my best for me and my family!

So to all of you moms (and dads) out there, I want to change the tone and say, Keep up the good work! And way to go!!

Until next time….. Thea

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