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Thursday, May 7, 2015

More Than A Mother?

I spent the past weekend in Kansas City at the Fitness Summit mingling with some of the top fitness experts in the industry.  I picked the brains of my favorite trainers, made new connections with people all over the world, and even learned some new movements to try with clients.  It was Heaven.  

Before the trip, I had daydreams of how much fun the networking opportunity would be.  But as a stay-at-home-mom who has been away from the professional atmosphere for the last six years, I couldn’t help but feel a little uncomfortable introducing myself to others. And come game time, when people inquired about “what I do”, I came back to one phrase over and over again.

“I’m a stay-at-home-mom.”

I couldn’t help myself.  Each time I opened my mouth those words just escaped like a preschooler in Target when they see the toy aisle (which should be avoided at all costs to reduce the likelihood of a tantrum, by the way).  Here I was at a professional event and I’m struggling to lead with my profession.  

A few weeks ago, I was at a powerlifting meet chatting with the owner of 22nd Street barbell, Wes Keith.  Wes was discussing two contrasting gyms in the area.  One of which was a powerlifting gym, the other was a commercial gym where, “moms” go.   

Immediately, I responded with, “Hey!  What are you saying about moms?”.  

Straight faced, Wes looked at me and said, “You’re not a mom, you’re a powerlifter.”  

As odd as it may sound, I took that as an outstanding compliment.   

I have an identity beyond motherhood?  My mind was blown.  

I am first and foremost a mother.  I wear that badge with pride. I’m grateful to stay at home with my children, and my family comes before anything else, but that’s only a part of my story.  I’m also a personal trainer and a powerlifter (among many other things). And while the amount of hours I work as a personal trainer may only add up to a part time job, it’s definitely not a part time passion.  

Regardless of your parental status, activity preference, hobby selection, or profession of choice, everyone deserves to find an outlet that feeds your soul.  Lifting, training, and helping others have done just that for me, in a way folding laundry and blowing bubbles doesn’t.  Which is why you’ll find my social media channels hoppin’ but my laundry room a disaster.  

Being a powerlifter and trainer has become an alter ego of sorts.  And this alter ego has allowed me to channel characteristics that have completely spilled over into other areas of my life, benefiting myself and my family greatly.  

When I’m in the gym, I’m not a powerlifting mom.  I’m a powerlifter.  I’m not strong for a mom.  I’m just strong.  I’m not committed for woman with a family.  I’m just committed.  I don’t use motherhood as a justification for failures, shortcoming or the reason for my success.  Besides, my family and teammates wouldn’t allow that anyways.  

Somewhere in the midst of popping out babies I began to hang my hat solely on being a mother. Clearly, I have some work to do in dropping the motherhood crutch at professional events as
being a mother is a part of me, albeit a big part of me, but it’s not all of me.  The balance between motherhood and fitness has brought out the best in me that one alone, can not.  

So, do I consider myself more than a mother? I’d like to think I am a mother and more.  

Have you ever felt like you lost your identity in motherhood? How did you get it back?

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