Dear Simplicity: Nope

 photo by Anna Sneed

photo by Anna Sneed

There ought to be a class in high school called, “Reality Check.”  And in that class the teachers would be brave enough to share the fact that, yes, life is complicated.   And this class ought to be taught by parents, who would dish it out in a real way.  It’d be a real winner, this class:  A combo of Scared Straight, Home Economics, and Sex Ed.  Oh, and it would also involve even a little P.E., as they would take you on a field trip and deprive you of sleep for three days and then have you chase tiny toddlers with various sorts of unknown viruses while trying to run a taco truck in order to earn some cash.  

Yes, I’m being a wah wah wah poohead.  I know.  But, there’s a positive spin to this, headed your direction soon.  First, I’d like to just take a collective breath and together yell with fervor, “WHY OH WHY IS THIS SO COMPLICATED?”  

Motherhood is by nature, complex as fuck.  It just is.  No matter how much the world and Tim Ferriss tell me to simplify and outsource, it’s still complicated.  Especially in 2017, when the world is burning and its quite clear women are needed more than ever before.  Yet, viruses still exist, bills plague your life, children have fears and questions, and interpersonal relationships often still teeter on zygote levels of maturity.  I mean, before 8am, I go through an entire day’s worth of planning, cooking, negotiating, counseling, packing, traveling, and overall handling .  And then, at 8am, I start my actual work day, which HELLO.  Then school pickup at 3.  I won’t get into the other shifts that exist after this, the longest one being perhaps bedtime, when - as someone else said - your kids "become thirsty philosophers with insomnia."  

Now, here’s what happens when women open up about the situation above.  People immediately tell us:

1) "You need to get a nanny."

To this I say, first up, thank you for your concern.  I hear you.  I’m not against it.  In fact, I have a badass babysitter.  But, here’s the truth:  I want to do ALL these things with my kids.  After I say this, people then say:

2) "Well, you can’t do it ALL."

To which I say, yes, I know.  I’m not a superhero.  And I don’t want to be.  I just want to be a woman who happens to be a mother.  And I actually want to talk to my kids and play with them.  And those morning drop offs and that insanely tiring afternoon time is so incredibly important to me, even though that seems illogical.  And I also have to make money and provide for my life and my kids, so I have to work.  And, excuse me, but I personally feel that if I have to work, then I damn well want to do something dynamic and fulfilling.  Because, BECAUSE.  To this response, people then reply:

3) "Then, stop complaining."

I shrug with heaviness and say, this is the kicker.  I’m not complaining, although I know it sounds like it.  But, instead, what I am doing is explaining a problem, a discomfort that feels unsustainable.  And, I can’t explain why I feel the need to vent so openly about the incredible complexity of motherhood, but it makes me feel better to get it off my chest.  Huh.  Yeah.  That’s it.  You know what?  That is it.  I am not going to be secretive about how much fucking shit goes down in my life as a dynamic woman and I don’t think I ought to be silent about it.  Because something ain’t right.  Even IF I had a nanny, I’d still feel this way.   And the fine smart people of the world say:

4) "Ok, then, I think you should simplify and learn to meditate."

To this statement, I am quiet.  My whole body goes limp and my heart dives into a giant shame cycle.  I recount quickly and with immense internal disgust all the programs I have started and not finished.  All the books on decluttering and 4-hour-work-weeking my life that have crumbled into non-use.  All the mantras.  And the hours in therapy.  And all the ways I have surrendered the multi-doored tomb of ideas and value that live inside me in an effort to be a silent, seemingly joyful woman who happens to be a mother.  How, yes, you smart people of the world must be right:  I am just simply not doing enough or doing it the right way or not wholly or with the right balance or the perfect lululemon wardrobe.  You are right, I say, under my breath.  And my body moves robotically back to the obsessive cycle how I can rein it in more.  How can I reduce myself and pretend like I’ve found simplicity?  Because then, then, it’ll all be ok.  And I’ll get to eat this golden carrot of life you say exists when I reduce.  Once I have assumed this position, the smart people of the world will feel much better and they will then hug you tightly while saying “yes, you understand now” and remind you that they love you most of all.

I put my wild away and walk towards the container.  


Bull shit.  Women are ready to be wild.  We’re ready to claim ALL of what we want, and we’re gonna need more than advice of simplifying to figure this modern motherhood thing out.  And I think we’re gonna have to define our own version of strategy here.  We’re gonna have to put down the - albeit, smart - books written by other people concerning life hacks and productivity and happiness and write our own.  Interestingly, for women, these books won’t be simple, in fact they will be full-on battle plans with nuances and backups and forward thinking innovations for the basics of life.  And, in the end, they will create incredible efficiency and they will demand automatic resources for our life as women who happen to be mothers.  

Our lives as women are not serviced for the complexity that they truly embody, but are rather seen as unnecessary, trite, and even cute blips of temporary unease.  We need Efficiency and Automatic resources.  That’s it.  Instead of telling us to simplify, the smart people of the world ought to be saying, “How can I serve you?”  Do you need PT after birth?  Check.  Do you need a village of other women to help you keep an infant alive and also not go insane?  Check.  Do you need paid time after your baby comes into this world so you can keep the infant alive and not go insane?  Check.  Do you need flex time at work, EVEN in high dollar, super professional settings?  Check.  Do you need a village of badasses to form a meal co-op so that you don’t have to cook dinner every night and kill your soul?  Check.  Do you need automatic resources for the incredibly complex experience of being a woman who happens to be a mother?  CHECK CHECK CHECK.

How can I serve you?

Damn.  I’ll finish this by saying that while MommaStrong is all about fitness, deep down, it’s about getting fitness out of the way so that you can do the complex task of YOU.  It’s about unpacking the bull shit around fitness and boiling it down to its true purpose:  To make you able.  And it’s about the rather provocative idea that you 100% don’t need a class, a whole lot of motivation, a certain kind of body, and certainly not a lot of time to BE PHYSICALLY ABLE TO BE A WOMAN WHO IS A MOTHER.  

Your body, like motherhood, is extremely complicated and complex.  But, my job as an activist and a healer is to create efficiency within that complexity.  Is it easy to accomplish?  No.  Do I constantly have to fine tune how I am cueing so that you can work out for a mere 15-minutes a day from home without getting injured and while activating your pelvic floor and while not getting bored and while not stressing out your already drained body?  YES.  But, this is my job and this is my passion and, honestly, I think I’ve figured it out.  That takes a lot of wildness to claim that, but ... yeah.  

Fortunately, after a little bit of a depressing time in my life business-wise and personally, I got some much needed proof:  I was in Seattle visiting my talented executive strategist, who also happens to be a MommaStrong member, and I had had a few long days of not a lot of sleep by the time I arrived.  But, we were there to do some truly remarkable work on high-level functioning for this here brand.  And we did it.  And I also got to meet her village (which is another blog post in the making) and enjoy the company of other complex and inspiring (and tired) women.  It was a beautiful and full-on exertion by all parties involved. 

So, on my last night there, we had eaten dinner and had had some dessert.  She and her husband had gotten the kids to bed and we were gonna watch a movie and just slide into puddles on the couch.  Right before, though, she looked at me and said, “Hey, I haven’t done the Daily 15 in two days and I’m feeling it.  What do you think about us doing it together right now?”  I was like, “UM, NO.”  She was supportive and kind of my defiant "NO," but kept probing a bit.  And we laughed and then she was like, we’re doing it.  So, I dragged my resistant ass on to the floor and we signed on to the site (which, holy crap, to my surprise works like a charm on your phone) and pulled on that day’s Daily 15 and did it.  Barefoot.  No mats.  In our clothes.  Tired as fuck.  After dinner and dessert.  And at the end of it, I was like, “HOLY SHIT, this MommaStrong chick knows what she’s doing.  I feel so much better.  Like, beyond.  And it was just not a big deal.”

And then we sat down and had more dessert and watched a movie and ate more snacks.

And we felt better and we were more able.

Do it barefoot.  Do it without a mat.  Do it in your clothes.  Do it while holding a popsicle.  Do it while your kids throw darts over your head.  It’s so not a big deal in the span of your day to day and I’ve managed to make it that way because it matters that I serve your complexity with the most efficiency and with as many automatic resources as possible.  Because you deserve to be able to handle with joy the glorious complication of life.

Join me April 3rd for the next round of The Hook, a 28-Day strength challenge where I serve the complexity of you without requiring the reduction of you.

15-minutes a day.  $2.  Barefoot.  Dessert.  Darts.  Screw it, do it.


Oh, and for those of you who would like a little peek into stuff here, voila, this workout might actually give you some idea of what will be happening.  And if it feels too hard, then click here sign up for MommaStrong anyway ($2/month) and enjoy four other programs that will get you strong enough and integrated enough in a mere two weeks.