There's too much pressure on women to run our household with superbness, raise our kids perfectly, and look like a fitness model while doing it. This pressure is absurd!
I don't know about you, but I'm not willing to give up time with my family for hours sweating in a workout. I'm not willing to give up ENJOYING life and instead beating myself up about every little thing I do or eat.
Let's stop feeling like failures because we don't run our household or raise our kids perfectly. Let's stop feeling like failures because we don't look like a fitness model. Instead, let's start LIVING OUR LIVES. The lives that God has given us. The lives that God has equipped us to live - specifically for the purposes and gifts He's given us.
Listen, I get it. I love fitness. I love toned, tight bodies. I help women lose weight, eat right, tone up, etc all day every day. I'm not saying we let ourselves go and we don't steward our bodies and health well, to the glory of God. How else would we be able to efficiently live out our callings and lives if we're in terrible health? How else do we keep up with the husband and kid(s) we've been blessed to spend our days with? Our health does need to be a priority, but as I say all the time - it isn't the end all be all. It isn't our #1. God is.
There's a picture, that I've posted often of myself. It's a before and after photo of me, standing in my bathroom, in a pink workout tank. In the before photo I'm 3 weeks postpartum. It's 3 weeks after Allie's birth, my 2nd child. The after photo is 10ish months after Allie's birth. It's a before and after photo that I'm proud of because I know the hard work that went into those many months and the sweat and tears that I shed to be comfortable, strong, and happy in my body again.
But I struggle every time I post it.
I always get such sweet encouragement, notes, messages, etc. from women when I post the picture, and I appreciate those SO MUCH because I'm always a nervous wreck posting it. Why? Because it's hard putting yourself out there and being vulnerable. But even more than that, I never want somebody - for whatever reason - to look at that picture and play the unhealthy comparison game. I never want it to come across like I'm screaming to the world "Hey, look at me. I rock." Ugh, that makes me want to throw up just typing it out. Instead, I'm posting it to encourage and spur women on. I'm simply saying "Look, this is my progress. This is what my HARD work, dedication, sacrifice, and tears have gotten me. IT IS WORTH IT, and YOU CAN DO IT TOO". That's all it is. It's just me hoping that the picture opens another women's eyes - who is so unhappy when she looks in the mirror - to reach out to me and simply say "Help. I want to feel good again."
I just need you to know that.
I have my own insecurities and yucky feelings when I see a before and after photo and I think, wow I don't look like her. I GET IT, believe me.
Recently, I haven't been able to stop thinking about that before and after photo. So, I did something that is even more vulnerable, but it's REAL and HONEST.
I took 2 new pictures. I took them last week. That means they're 13 months post Allie's birth. What some women in the fitness industry would NEVER tell you is the truth behind this first picture.
So, now let's look at the 2nd picture. This picture is how I look in normal life. I'm not pooching my belly out, but I'm not flexing it. I'm just standing there like I would if I was talking to you face to face, or cleaning my dishes, or walking down the street. It's not as toned, sleek or tight as the first picture. THIS IS REALITY.
NOBODY is perfect. No one women does everything perfectly. Nobody does. We're all in this journey of balancing our health and family, all while trying every day to put Jesus first and remember He's the focus, not looking skinny. I have yet to meet a woman who has that all figured out! Even women I know who are doing pretty darn well for themselves in their business or they have killer bodies, they still struggle in one area or the other.
I know this will still rub some women wrong, I hear it all the time. :) BUT, I hope that more of you read this and hear my heart. I hope you click off this post after you've read and vow to think differently or have a different attitude next time you see photos like that. I also hope you'll think "man that was refreshing, she's just like me". I may look different than you, yes. You may have strengths and muscles I don't have, and vise versa. But we're all the same. We're all created UNIQUELY to be us, by a loving God, who just wants us to steward the body He has given us, while not obsessing or idolizing it. We're all made differently and we're all in this together. My body isn't even physically made the same way as yours, so you will ALWAYS look different than me. We could do the same workout and eat the same food, and we would always look different. You are you and I am me. Our bodies will react differently because they are made differently.
I'm sick of the comparison and negative self talk (I do it, too, y'all!) and I'm going to continue to try my best to squash it. At least in my little part of the world. I hope you'll join me.