Thursday, February 23, 2017

Losing Yourself, Finding Yourself & Redefining Motherhood

The Grammy's were a hot minute ago, I know. I've been ruminating on this post for a while and I finally decided it was time to sit down and write it. 

I missed some of the Grammy's. But, what I did NOT miss was Adele winning awards for Song of The Year, Artist of The Year and finally Album of The Year. Like, WHOA. Those are some big honors. She is very talented; and super cool, from what I have seen and heard about her. As she excitedly spoke her thank yous, she said something that really caught my attention. Here it follows in quotes:

"As you can see it took an army to make me strong and willing again enough to do it. But thank you all from the bottom of my heart. Five years ago, when I was last here, I also was pregnant, and I didn’t know. And I was awarded that shortly after — I found out shortly after, which was the biggest blessing of my life. And in my pregnancy and through becoming a mother I lost a lot of myself. And I’ve struggled, and I still do struggle being a mom. It’s really hard. But tonight winning this kind of feels full-circle, and like a bit of me has come back to myself."

Adele, Grammy award winning artist & extremely talented singer, said how hard it was to get back out there and make music again. Because she lost herself in motherhood. But, you and I can easily see how her purpose is to make music and how her talent would seem to be wasted, for lack of a better term. And, we can agree how CRAZY it would have been for her to not get back out there and make more beautiful music, right?

I know it's easy to lose yourself in the role of being a mom. You had things you did before the baby came along. And some of those things aren't even a blip on our radar after the baby arrives and motherhood hits us full force. I took time off from fitness stuff when I got married and then we got pregnant right away, so it ended up being a 5 year gap before I was ready to get back into the gym and take on clients and teach and do MY thing. I worked outside the home a bit during those 5 years, and I HATED office jobs. I am not a 8-5, sit at a desk kind of gal. I thrive in the less structured world of fitness, and I have a LOT of crazy to burn off while teaching multiple classes a week.

Some women have full careers inside an office. I am NOT knocking them. They are actually who I am talking about. You went to college, you made a career path choice, and sometimes becoming mom means staying at home with your kids. Sometimes it means giving up that corner office or that promotion. Sometimes it means working and being mommy full time. 

Putting on your mom hat makes it hard to wear your "Jodie" hat. (And, I assume you get that your hat would have your own name on it!) I liked to paint and play the bass guitar, once upon a time. And, no, not at the same time, in case you snarkily wondered. We sold that guitar in a garage sale when I was pregnant with Cade and I regret it. I would love to learn to play acoustic guitar now. And, I may very well do that eventually. 

It's important to take a step back and remember that you are someone's mom, yes, but you are also an individual with talents and a purpose. For now, that purpose may be to raise wonderful human beings (preferably ones that groom themselves well and listen to music WITH headphones when they're in public). Your purpose can evolve as time passes. You may find yourself returning to the studio and recording the album of the year again. 

Your family needs you. They need you to take care of yourself. Do things that bring you joy. Make time for you. A mommy friend of mine told me this:

"About a year after I had the baby and I was on the right medications, the fog lifted. And I remember thinking 'it's okay to take care of myself'. Taking care of myself mentally and physically makes me a better mom. I think it was on a birthday weekend, just my husband and I, when he looked at me and said 'I miss this'. That's when I knew deep down I had to make the time for us and me."

So, you may lose yourself in motherhood. That's OK. You will find yourself again. You may come out a bit different. Hey, my body changed with two pregnancies, and I bet yours did too. You may find your priorities have changed a little. You may find that you have MORE compassion, less judgement and more love. But, overall, redefine what motherhood means and make it your own. Stay home with your babies. Work a full time job outside the home. Work from home and take your kids to the daycare anyway. Start your own business and be your own boss. Make motherhood work for you. And, remember, you're "Mom" but you're also a totally kick butt woman who can do just about anything she wants in addition to being someone's mom.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Let Me (re)Introduce Myself

I wrote almost a month ago about how I wanted to write more. I have several reasons and I plan to delve into them, but I felt like the stepping stone should be to update a bit about where I am in life these days.

I started this blog in August of 2009, mostly because we were expecting our first baby and I wanted to document it. I did not really write much until after Gage was born. Then I wrote almost weekly and of course his first year of monthly letters are there in the 2010 files if you want to cry remembering when YOUR babies were babies. I read just a few posts and cried and promptly decided I want another baby.

So, here I am almost 8 years later, and I am committing to more posts. A lot has changed in 8 years. Cue the "last week on The Life of Jodie" announcer.

Curtis and I have a garage door repair business. I teach group fitness. Our boys are 7 and 5. We have a cat named Alfred and Harold the Bassett Hound, and my favorite son: Mister Belvedere the English Bulldog. Yes, I said my favorite son. I say that in front of my kids too. They know I'm joking. (or am I?)

I enjoy cooking (but not cleaning) and reading hilarious things on the internet. I would love to be considered one of the hilarious things people read on the internet. I would also love to make a difference now and then. Mother Theresa said "If you want to change the world, go home and love your family." Well, sometimes they're not so lovable.... I'm kidding! I know I am called to love and make an impact on my family, and I do that work every day. But, I have recently had a clear calling to use my pain for God's purpose. He can use my mess for a message. That is the long reason I have finally gotten back on here to write.

If you look back through my older posts, you can read here and there about my struggles with post partum depression and having been a victim of sexual abuse. Motherhood is hard when you're perfectly healthy. When you have a history of depression, the changes during pregnancy can bring those same issues up and even magnify them. When you have past hurts, being a parent can be a struggle as you look at your children and KNOW you could never hurt them or allow anyone to hurt them. There will certainly be some heavier, meatier posts about unpacking traumas and hurts and all sorts of other issues. There will also be some silly, light-hearted and extremely sarcastic posts.

I don't consider this a "mommy blog". I am a mom, yes, but I have a lot of other hats I wear. I don't consider this a "lifestyle blog". I won't be writing about DIY anything. Unless it's DIY ear plugs to drown out the noises of your children asking for dinner. I like to share recipes. I like to share fitness stuff. But, this won't be a fitness blog either. Maybe it will just fall into  the "un-categorized" list. Labels are for soup cans anyway.

So, I have kids and a husband and some pets. I have issues. Let's talk about our issues together!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Lady Gaga, Body Shaming, & Modesty

If you happen to live under a rock and you missed the Super Bowl LI Half Time Show, then you can watch the highlights here and come back to finish the rest of this post.

Everyone on the same page? Ok, so I promised more writing and this seems like a perfect topic for today's post. There has been some ridiculous commentary on Lady Gaga's body, specifically her stomach during the half time performance. She is in amazing shape. As a fitness professional, the amount of endurance she exhibited during that show was impressive to say the least. Dancing, singing, being "on" and never stumbling, missing a note and THANKFULLY no wardrobe malfunctions. Amazing job. Not that she will ever read this, but LG, you rocked that halftime performance!

People like to sit behind their keyboards and say ugly things on the internet. That should NOT be news to anyone reading this. It's very easy to be a bully with the protection of the world wide web between us. Lots of people have made comments about Lady Gaga's stomach that gently overlapped her sparkly shorts. Like, I wish people with six pack abs would all post a picture of themselves wearing a pair of tight waist banded pants and show that skin isn't always taught, no matter how impressive your abs are. I have some loose skin (and a little extra pudge) over a VERY strong core. Could I have a flatter tummy? Of course. But I like pizza and cupcakes.

It's ridiculous to read all the vitriol spewed over how a woman looks. It's rampant. It's everywhere. Body shaming is a common word because of it. The majority of the people saying rude things about Lady Gaga probably wouldn't look nearly as amazing as she did in her show outfits. I know I could not rock the leotard bottom or sparkly shorts she had on right now. I hope she is not sitting at home trying to remind herself that she is beautiful and talented after reading that. Even if she didn't look amazing in her outfits, it would not matter. She is talented, she put on an amazing performance, she was completely non-divisive & she should be applauded for that. (I hear she lives for it. HA!)

In the same thread of body shaming, I was treated like a bad Christian for applauding her performance. And, what I said was "she did a great job. what a great showman" essentially. I made no moral statement. I made no comment on her pantsless-ness. I made no comment on her midriff baring top. Because, it's a costume on a performer. She doesn't even perform under her real name.  It's a persona, a character she puts on and entertains with. We applaud gymnasts in leotards, olympic swimmers in speedos, and volleyball players in bikinis. Their talent and performance is more important than what they're wearing and it's a part of what they put on for their "show".

I personally don't think there was anything wrong with what she wore. There was nothing wrong with her physical appearance at all. Would I wear something like that on TV? Lord, help me, no. But do I wear a two piece swimsuit? Eh, the jury is still out on that one for this summer, but I WOULD if I wanted to. Do I wear pants in public? Yes. Do I hate pants? Yes. Do I prefer leggings? Yes. You get my point. I don't think she was immodest or inappropriate. I don't think she should be shamed for a roll of skin along her waist line.

 I don't think we should be so quick to judge others based on our own personal feelings. And, if someone is being immoral or unbiblical? Still not my business. I have a few close people I have given permission to admonish me when I step out of line as a believer. I have people I weigh my concerns against. You should have those people in your life too, if you're a Christian.

I tend to dress on the modest side. That's how I was raised. I grew up in the Baptist church. "Below the knee, above reproach" was a half-joke about the length of shorts and dresses for us girls. I've had my husband ask me to dress LESS modestly, because I cover up. Am I wearing sequin booty shorts in public? No. Would I wear them at home alone with my husband? You bet. I hold myself to a Biblical standard of modesty, and I think that can vary from person to person, based on your personal relationship with Christ. Also, let's face it, some bustier ladies can't help how their chest looks in a shirt that is perfectly modest.

So, let's quit judging and be supportive. And leave Lady Gaga alone. She looks amazing.