I have to get this off my chest: We don't all have the same 24 hours in a day. Everyone's 24 hours are totally different. We are navigating obstacles, dodging bombs and walking twisty paths toward the things that are most important to each of us. Just as we all have different obstacles, we also have different goals, and I am not down with being made to feel ashamed if my values or goals are different from someone else's.
While I am aware that each lifestyle has challenges, I am writing this blog as the defender of moms. I am a mom. Mom's are busy, crazy busy, no like really crazy fuckin busy. That's a struggle I relate to and empathize with.
A mother of young children does not have the same hours in a day as a businessman/woman, a 20 year old young trainer, or any non-parent. It's quite shortsighted to expect a mom to do all of the things that other folks might do while telling her that she has the same 24 hours as the rest of the population. That is shaming. That mom already feels bad about herself. She knows she's disappearing, and she wishes she had time to exercise but she's lucky if she has time to shower. She isn't lazy or unmotivated. She literally is giving all of herself, her time, and her energy to her family, and I am sorry but she doesn't need to feel bad if she can’t also have abs. I have clients who cry when they weigh themselves, feeling like they are broken and failing while they are excelling in literally every possible avenue. The interventions or expectations being offered don't suit or support their lifestyle, thereby making it almost impossible to achieve their physique or health goals.
Below is an average day for me
4:00- wake up to review my day, journal and get ready to train.
5:00-7:00- Training (includes drive time)
6:30-7:00- it’s home quick to eat, do dishes and get laundry going.
7:30- Take my son to school
7:45- In person client
9:00-10:00- teach a group fitness class
10:00- errands(grocery store, pharmacy, library, pet store etc.)
10:30-12:30- work on online clients, answer emails, social media posts
12:30-2:30- online client coaching calls
2:30-4:00- study, and write
4:00-6:00-leave to teach another group fitness class
6:30-7:30- cook dinner and clean up (wednesday I teach group fitness at 6pm so the family has takeout.
7:30-8:00- sit with family while they watch tv and I catch up on whatever texts or emails I wasn't able to respond to throughout the day.
8:30- shower and bed
I also facilitate an LGBTQ+ family group and do outreach with local families.
I am not whining. I love being a mom,I love my family and I love my career,but I will be damned If I sit quietly while someone tries to tell me or any other mom that we all have the same 24 hours in a day. No the fuck we do not!
I am an advocate of moms. Moms have to do ALL OF THE THINGS, which leads us to lose priority in our own lives. That's not an excuse. That's reality. For most of us,every minute of the day is accounted for and few of those moments actually belong to us. I used to be jealous of my husband’s hour-long commute because that was an hour each way to himself, where he could listen to a podcast or an audio book or just be quiet. When he was at work he would get a lunch break and talk to other adults. His responsibilities had a time clock, but mine didn't, and they still don’t. My kids are older now so it's a little better. But, in reality, the bulk of the doing of ALL OF THE THINGS is on me. The day starts at 4am and I am in go-mode till 9pm when I fall on my bed and fall asleep. Now I get a workout everyday, not because I am special, but because I am blessed: it's part of my career. That's rare. I would never expect one of my clients to be able to do what I do simply because I can do it. I build it into my work day and while I train I am listening to a podcast or audiobook so I can learn more and be a better coach, because once I am home all bets are off. Who does the school nurse call? Mom. Who do the kids call when they are scared or hurt? Mom. Moms have to know how to handle the curveballs, like a puking kid who takes priority over anything else. Should that mom leave her kid to get her workout in because she saw some trainer on instagram post that everyone has the same 24 hours in a day? After all, she doesn't want to fail.
People in this industry make ignorant claims that everyone has the same 24 hours in a day, and if they can't meet a goal like getting a workout in, well then, they just don't want it bad enough. Sure they do! They want to feel good about themselves but fitness and a job aren't their only priority. When I hear trainers, or anyone for that matter, make bold and shaming statements like that 24 hours statement, I wonder if they realize that they are actually contributing to that person staying stuck. Shame is not motivating.
My mentor teaches me to use a charitable mindset and not to call people out but since I am still learning and not quite there yet, I am calling these harmful practices out. I implore trainers to do better. We can't as trainers or coaches continue to expect the general population to be able to do all the things we do because we are able to do them. Each of our lives are set up to do the things we find value in. There are many different values, like parenting and family.When someone is struggling with their ability to accomplish a task , like implementing a training routine, it's actually our job as coaches to help them rather than judge or shame them. Let's help people identify what it is they are seeking and why it's valuable to them. Once we do that we can help them find a path that suits their current lifestyle. that will help someone feel successful,and when people feel successful, they are motivated voila, it's like magic.
Dear moms who are overwhelmed and confused:
Please let me help you make this simple.
Give yourself some damn credit for everything you are doing. At the end of each day make yourself a "done it" list so you can see all that you have accomplished. I guarantee you that list is long. Maybe you really don't have time to exercise but, let me tell you a secret: all that moving around, cleaning, cooking and childrearing, are activities and that adds up. you are getting in steps which contribute to overall metabolic rate. Get yourself a fitness tracker so you can actually see just how much you are actually moving in a day; I guarantee you it's a whole lot. In most of my competition preps I meet my step goal from my daily movement alone. If you want to take it a step further you can absolutely do it, but set up your fitness routine so that it's realistic and something that you can actually accomplish. It's unlikely that you are going to find 2 hours to get dressed, get yourself to the gym, workout for an hour and then head home. The thought of the mayhem that would be waiting for you upon your return is enough to make you run crying for the hills. What about starting with something simple? You could install a tabata timer on your phone (a tabata is a simple 4 minute circuit) and do one in the morning and maybe one in the afternoon. One or two tabata's a day in addition to step tracking is a solid foundation and it's something that's probably manageable.
Now that you have a doable, simple start to fitness, let's move onto some simple nutrition. You don't need another thing to do and starting a whole new diet is absolutely another thing to do. So if the problem is you don't feel good in your skin because you have no time or energy to take care of yourself, let's find the simplest possible solution that doesn't require too much energy. In my experience as a mom and as a coach of moms, the simpler the better.Let's take what you are eating right now in a day and just make it a little better by focusing on plants and proteinKeep it simple. Many of the moms I work with shoot for 3 veggies and 2 fruits throughout the day along with 3-4 palm size servings of protein. When measures are simple we are then able to succeed, and when we feel successful we are motivated. Voila, more magic.
Trainers/coaches- People aren't lying when they ask for help, they really want it. We can help by empathizing more than we can by shaming.
Moms-We don't need to let anyone make us feel inferior. Unless someone else is living the mom life they don't know what time management looks like for us. Decline all invitations to swim in the shame soup.
Thank you for coming to my ted talk.