My Seasons #Motherhood

IMG_0809Here’s Part 1 of my motherhood story. It’s raw, uncut and perhaps not well articulated. But really that’s the beauty of online journalling, it doesn’t need to be perfect. And to be frank, I wrote this more for me as I way to put how I sometimes feel down on paper, as a way to show my readers that we all feel the same, all question ourselves and are always struggling to figure out where we fit in this world of motherhood.

Since becoming a mother, I find myself questioning my ability, my confidence, and my choices more and more. For me, motherhood changed me so much and I am not just speaking physically. My perspective, my goals and my views on how I want to live my life and the sorts of lessons I want to teach my little one. It changes everything. I am saying this in a positive way, so don’t read between lines or read that I am unhappy with those changes, no that isn’t it. That isn’t the point of this post. As I said my point may not be articulated properly …

Recently, after feeling a bit overwhelmed with the chaos of working full time, parenting and mothering a child who is in the heart of “toddlerdom”, pursuing a side fitness business, blogging, and much more I decided to join an Encouragement Café. Originally, I joined so that I could hear and read stories from women, who share my passion to do it all sharing about their challenges and struggles to also balance all these things that they just don’t want to let go. Even if their lives have changed or perspective have changed.  How many of us know people in our lives who go about their days, never openly admitting that life changes as a mother? I am open and honest about these changes. I love building a community to share and discuss.

For me, I do it all because that is who I am. That’s part of my identity, of my being. Who says that when you become a mother, you need to stop doing the things you love? I have always shared that I do these things because my daughter is my driving force. She watches, learns and admires the things I do and often shares in my excitement.

One of our worksheets from the Encouragement Cafe (by Dr. Ariane Machin) required us to reflect on our “changing seasons” (metaphorically speaking). And for me, I think that my seasons changed a lot when I became a mom. It’s interesting really. As I have grown into my role as a parent, as a mother to this beautiful little girl, I have become stronger, more aware of the impact of my actions and the lessons I want to teach my daughter. But as an adult, as a working professional, I have started to question myself and my abilities. It’s like I have lost a certain level of confidence that I use to have. How does one get that back? It hasn’t impact the quality of my work, but it certainly has impacted how I view myself as a working mom.

My metaphorical season represented a combination of a few seasons, perfectionism, confidence and self-worth. I believe that the three of these can often go hand in hand. For some of you, you know that I have struggled with letting go of this idea of perfectionism. I have an issue of setting unrealistic expectations (I know it is important to set high expectations) but I continue to set ones that I expect myself to always meet and/or those around me to always achieve. And usually, given these expectations I find myself easily disappointed or frustrated if I can’t meet the goals I have set.

I would say that the combination of these seasons does have an impact on my personal life, and my husband and I have spent many hours discussing these issues and that for some people in my life, they feel like they can never meet my expectations no matter how hard they try. In recent years, as I became a mother I felt that my level of confidence decreased as my need to strive for perfection also started diminishing. I find myself constantly questioning my self-worth, measuring myself against friends and online mommy profiles, Pinterest pins and social media posts. As an intelligent individual I understand that these posts are unrealistic and often people share only the happy positive side of things.

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But I can’t help but second guess my skill set and abilities, second guess how the world sees me (and at times even my daughter and my husband – who cannot reassure me enough of how important I am to the both of them, and how great of a mother and professional career woman I am).

My personality is one that requires a lot of positive reinforcement, it always has been this way for me, it’s like the need for acceptance. When I don’t get it, I find myself questioning why or replaying the issue over and over in my head.

My seasons make me feel stuck in times where others do not understand my perspective on the issues I have just shared. I feel stuck when I am surrounded by draining, and negative views when all I want to share and have in my life is positivity. I want to be surrounded by positive people, be in positive situations and this doesn’t mean that I can’t handle the situations that arise that are negative or trying, it just means that when something happens I like to search for the positive outcome.

I think overall the seasons have helped me achieve certain things professionally, and in many ways personally. Stay tuned as I dig deeper into my soul to share with you how I have changed throughout my #motherhood journey.

A Fit Mom’s Guide to Surviving HALLOWEEN #wellnesswednesday

 

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I am thrilled to have a guest post this week from my friend and one of four ladies who help to launch the local Sweat Pink Ontario and Montreal Chapter, Jennifer Florence (known as Montreal Runner Mom).  She is here to share her tips and tricks for surviving Halloween as a Fit Mom (and Fit Family).  

 

Over to you Jennifer …

Here it is once again…that beautiful time of year when it’s so easy to throw away all your clean eating habits and go tumbling down the path of Cheetos, Swedish Berries and Caramilk bars. Ahhh… yes, it’s Halloweenmania.

Now, I like to think of myself as a Fit Mom. In my personal life, I run, dance, practice yoga and lift weights. Professionally, I am a health & fitness coach and dance teacher. Clean eating is a huge part of who I am and my family’s lifestyle. I mostly eat a combination of a vegetarian diet with just the occasional meat dish on special occasions. However when October hits, all and I do mean all (!) my bad eating habits tend to emerge! Before I became health conscious I was a big time candy and chip girl. Chocolate was never my thing but offer me a bag of Lays BBQ chips or Skittles and I could inhale them in seconds. During Halloweenmania, try as you might you simply cannot avoid temptation entirely. The aisles of every store everywhere are FILLED to the brim with ooey gooey deliciousness.

So what’s a Fit Mom to do? Well, here are some techniques that have worked for me and hopefully for you too!

Be prepared

I cannot stress this enough. DO NOT shop when hungry, irritable, cranky, upset, frustrated or God forbid when you are PMS’ing. Avoid stores at all costs during these moments. When you do venture out of the house, mentally prepare for what you are about to encounter. I always find that a strong mental picture helps. I start by imaging of myself scarfing down a huge bag of candy..that’s the good part 😉 Then I picture in my mind and “feel” in my body the results of the inevitable pain of regret and the stomach issues that follow such a huge spike in blood sugar levels. This highly scientific technique is usually pretty good at keeping my cravings under control.

Healthy “Candy”

This is what I like to think of a “backup”. When being prepared doesn’t cut it, have some “healthy candy” in your purse to help keep the junk out of your cart. Things like dried fruit and nuts have always worked well for me. Especially those dried pineapple pieces out of the average trail mix bag. Mmmmmmm……..These options may not things that you want to consume too much of either on a regular basis but they are a darn sight better than Aero bars, Fuzzy Peaches and Rocket Candy!

Small Packages

Well, good things come in small packages as the saying goes! If you do cave and buy some naughty treats then at the very least don’t buy the JUMBO size Oh Henry bars. No one in their right mind needs that much sugar. Even if it tastes good for the first 2 or 3 bites, guaranteed by the end you will be holding your cramping stomach and spending the rest of the day in the washroom. Stick to small, preschool size packages. Then aim to give most of it away to your neighborhood preschoolers (not your own children of course, no parent wants to subject themselves to that chaos!)

Hide and Seek

Whatever candy does make it home and into your house MUST be properly stored. Think of storage like a squirrel in hibernation mode. Squirrel away little bits in multiple places until you are so confused about where you started that you can’t find anything at all. Areas like very high cupboards, drawers that always stick and basement storage where you keep Christmas decorations are all good starting places. The kind of places that are easy to find the first time but even easier to forget about 5 seconds later.

These techniques have worked well for me but they are not fool proof. Just accept it, you will eat some candy. And all joking aside, the trick is to enjoy the small amount that you do eat and keep it within reason so that you don’t ruin all the hard work you’ve put in during the previous weeks & months.

So enjoy the season with your little ghosts and goblins and remember these Fit Mom techniques to surviving and thriving during Halloween. Good luck out there Moms! May the force be with you!

Disclaimer: The author of this article cannot be held responsible for any candy induced weight gain that the reader may incur during Halloweenmania.


Jennifer Florence, Runner, entrepreneur & personal development junkie. Inspiring fitness, health & well-being for busy moms everywhere!