I’ve learned a lot in the 6.5 years I’ve been at it here with MommaStrong. I’ve learned that mothers are the most tough of all humans. I’ve learned that our society neglects the female body. I’ve learned that everyone has crappy posture. I’ve learned that a lot of women pee on themselves and it took until 2018 to really start talking about that. I’ve learned that your butt muscles matter more than your core. I’ve learned that showing up every day for exercise is actually possible and entirely brilliant. I’ve learned that you can’t do anything alone. I’ve learned that groups of women are literally the most healing quality of modern civilization.
And I’ve also learned that mothers are tired as fuck.
I get tons of emails from incredible women all around the world and, I kid you not, the main underlying theme in them all is: “I’m so exhausted and I’m really hurting, but I’m still going to show up. Can you help me?” In response to my observation of this, I’ve been watching documentaries lately on feminists in the 60s and 70s and after every single one I can’t help but think: Wait, what happened? Where’s the freedom?
Here we are in 2018 and while we have all the resources and supposedly all the rights, women are still exhausted, still in physical pain, and still burdened by the invisible emotional labor we experience on a daily basis. And we know the deal, right? This has been talked about ad nauseam: The original intent of the feminist movement was to create an environment in which all people (not just women) share the privilege of raising children while also supporting each other to have autonomous choices about our life. However, instead of that happening, what we did was create an environment where we invisibly and subtly squashed autonomous choice for women by never installing the support systems we truly need (ahem, affordable childcare, maternity leave rights, paternity leave, equal pay, and on and on and on).
This means that we, as mothers, are trying our damndest to claim our rights and our choices for our life, but we literally can’t fulfill any of them fully because we are still doing most of the other stuff too. And, yes, most of us have incredible partners and, yes, most of us consider ourselves to be autonomous, but let’s get real: Most of us are still doing it ALL. And I know that because we are all still so tired. So tired.
And while we could go into the details of this, I personally would like to stay out of the weeds and focus our attention on the ramifications of exhaustion in the female experience. We hear all the time how important sleep is for our health and wellbeing. We are told that without rest, we can’t expect sanity, strength, or good health. And to that I say, yeah yeah yeah yeah. Blah blah blah blah. Most women have to bypass all that advice and hide in the dark rooms of their children at night, rubbing backs and soothing fears, knowing that sleep and rest will escape them. We accept that fate and, to make it worse, we then feel like failures because we can’t seemingly prioritize self-care and sleep. And THEN, we lose our health and our minds and our motivation, but try really really hard to act like we’ve got it all handled.
Well. POO ON THAT.
Dear fellow momma: It is NOT your fault. You are responding to your children and their ever-growing needs in this messy world. You are responding to the call of the wild to not forget what you want for your life. You are responding to the fact that most households require two incomes now just for basic survival. You are responding to less outdoor time for your children and more mom-play-with-me time. You are responding to your dear partners who are equally strapped and stressed. You are responding to your best intentions of not falling prey to the traps of martyrdom like your own mother did. You are responding to the incredible pressure placed on you by the whitewashed world of social media. You are responding to your desire to still feel strong in your body. Fill in your own blanks. You are responding to ________.
If you tally up all those responses above, can’t you give yourself a break? Can’t you see that your lack of good sleep and your lack of self-care is actually a casualty of the reality of what we have NOT YET DONE in service of the true autonomy of women? It’s not your fault.
So, I can tell you one thing. In January 2019, while the rest of the world asks you to pony on up and get all shiny and bright in the New Year, I will not be doing that. I will be saying quite the opposite. I will be saying: Let’s start the New Year claiming our right to rest so that we can begin to serve our true autonomy and engagement in this world.
Join me in January 2019 for a fitness challenge that is not like any other. Don’t mess around with fantasies about sweaty classes and getting buff and all that. Come learn how to show up for 15-minutes a day of enough exercise in a way that is not a big deal and requires zero superhero effort. And then join a hearty, intelligent, and proactive conversation about how to be our best with rest. Slow down in order to make 2019 better than 2018. Dial it back. Get real. Get support. And get off the train that leads to burnout.
Here's how our January Challenge will support your rest, while giving you access to blood flow, vitality, and sustainable strength: