Tag: self-acceptance

My Parents Are Exhausted and They Don’t Have to Enjoy It

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I was so tired I wasn’t sure if his shirt was real or a very literal and accurate hallucination.

The below piece by Toni Hammer is brilliant, and spot-on for me. As I read it, I mentally screamed, “Yes! Thank you!” because I thought I was the only one. Being told to “enjoy every moment” of parenthood by well-meaning strangers has always had the same guilt-tripping effect on me. “Is there something wrong with me?”  I’ve wondered, while feeling mildly ashamed.

I’ve felt flawed, or emotionally cold, because I don’t yearn for the baby days or look back longingly to when my son was an infant the way I often hear friends saying about their own children. At all. (Okay, maybe the smell of his baby head, but that’s it.) Those were the hardest days of my life. I didn’t yet know my son had ADHD neurology, so I felt bewildered, and like a constant failure. We tried every suggestion from every family member, friend, pediatrician, or book — yet nothing worked for us.

Our son was such a difficult baby and toddler that when combined with a hard look at our finances, we decided to stop at one child. We were being financially responsible, but I often wonder if we’d had a quiet, easy baby the first time around, we might have had the two kids I always wanted.

In fact, even though he’s 9 and much easier, I still often find myself looking forward to my son growing up, becoming easier, and less high-maintenance. So when people tell me to “enjoy every moment,” I’m acutely aware that I haven’t enjoyed every moment, and it makes me feel bad.

Am I a terrible parent because of this?

My son didn’t sleep more than 2 hours in a row for the first 9 months of his life, and then we were still only lucky to get 4-5 hours in a row. I didn’t enjoy a moment of that. I did, however, become clinically depressed from sleep deprivation and start hallucinating because I hadn’t experienced REM sleep in 9 months.

Once he started to walk, my son never stopped moving, but did stop napping by age 2. I did not enjoy that.

He went through a phase where every single time I gave him a bath, he shat in the tub. I did not enjoy that.

He didn’t fully potty train until he was nearly 4-years-old. I did not enjoy that.

Kids with ADHD neurology have a developmental delay in the part of the brain that controls executive functioning, and are generally at least 2 years behind same-age peers emotionally, so we experienced the “Terrible Twos” at age 4. And in case you were wondering, it’s a lot harder physically to carry a wildly thrashing 4-year-old child throwing a fit away from the scene than a smaller 2-year-old, and so unbelievably humiliating. I did not enjoy that.

My son has changed my life for the better and taught me so much. And obviously, there are many, many beautiful moments involved with having a child… but they aren’t all beautiful. And they aren’t all enjoyable. In fact, sometimes things happen that we’d rather forget. And that’s okay.

Great writing… check it out:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/toni-hammer/please-stop-telling-moms-to-enjoy-every-moment_b_6498336.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000037

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Goodbye to the Glorification of Gaunt: 5 Reasons Strong is Superior to Skinny

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“Strong is the new skinny” is a trendy phrase traveling around the Internet via personal blogs, fitness site articles and even Pinterest pins.

To be clear: There’s absolutely nothing wrong having a naturally thin body type. But if starving and obsessively over-exercising is the only way you can attain a lanky physique, it might be time to change your body image ideal. Because that’s a really hard way to live, and you deserve better.

You do. Think about it. Maybe you can work on being strong, and be happy about having muscles showing, rather than ribs. Maybe you can stop obsessing about every calorie you put in your mouth, and instead focus on eating healthfully. Maybe your particular body wasn’t designed to be willowy and ultra-lean.

And maybe that’s okay. Really… it is. Relax. Not everybody is supposed to look the same, and our differences are what make us interesting and beautiful, so why do we try so hard to become the same tired “runway model” archetype? Haven’t we evolved past this mentality of physical conformation?

It’s hard to change years of media brainwashing and negative self-talk, but focusing on having a healthy body rather than reaching a certain number on the scale is a great way to start.

Below are 5 reasons being strong is smarter than starving:

 

1. Because Muscle Mass Raises Metabolism—

That’s right! The more muscle you have, the more you can eat while maintaining a healthy weight. And the more you can eat, the more opportunities you have to give your body the vitamins and minerals it needs to keep your immune system strong, and everything else working well.

Muscle also weighs much more than fat, so ignore the scale, pay attention to how your clothes fit, and trust the mirror to reflect your progress.

 

2. Because You Can Be a Good Influence—

Women look up to other females who are self-assured, and being proud of your body is a great way to make a positive impact on others; especially young girls.

By embracing your physical appearance and focusing on making it stronger and healthier, rather than putting emphasis on changing the way you look, you’ll set a great example for everyone around you.

And really, self-confidence is an incredibly attractive quality, so be proud of who you are no matter what shape you’re currently taking.

 

3. Because You Will Live Longer—

Cardio exercise is wonderful for your health, and even 30 minutes a day 4-5 times a week will decrease your risk of high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. But because so many studies have proven the benefits of strength training, doctors now recommend a blend of both types of exercise for maximum health.

Increased longevity is a benefit of strengthening your body, and better quality of life will carry you into your older years, so be sure to add some form of resistance to all workouts.

 

4. Because Superhero Bones Trump Bird Bones—

Increased bone mineral density is the top benefit strength training has to offer over all other types of exercise, as resistance lightly breaks down collagen in bones so they build themselves back up stronger than before during healing, similar to the way muscles form.

Because we lose bone mineral density at a much higher rate as we age, some form of weightlifting or resistance training is especially recommended for anyone over 40.

 

5. Because It’s No Fun to Get Hurt—

People who strength train as a part of a regular exercise program are less likely to get injured because they’ve got stronger bones and a layer of protective muscle built up around themselves.

If you’re in an accident, your additional muscle and bone density may be the difference between minor versus major injuries; but even on a daily basis, extra strength will prevent muscle and tendon strains and give you better balance.

 

It’s difficult to find self-acceptance when our culture constantly glorifies underweight women in magazines and on television. Women are taught to believe fat is the enemy, and being thin is the pinnacle of perfection – often developing eating disorders when they can’t achieve such unrealistic beauty ideals.

Because the average woman is not skinny, this cultural obsession with thinness can also lead to feelings of inadequacy, failure, and a sense of “never being enough” sadly residing where self-confidence should live.

It’s time to stop the cycle of idolizing weakness and frailty, and start teaching girls that whether they are naturally thin, average, curvy, or voluptuous, the sexiest thing any woman can be is strong, both inside and out.