Dear Parents Who Struggle With Self-Care:
Are you feeling guilty about not taking better care of yourself (whatever that means to YOU)? Maybe you took great care of yourself (whatever that means to YOU) before you had kids, but now you feel pretty far off course?
I get it! The other day I caught myself thinking “It is crazy how far off course I was from living a lifestyle conducive to self-care.” If you knew me when I was in my 20s, you would probably say the same thing. I was the most health-fanatical person of anyone I knew! Now, I’ve been working on habits that I would have considered pretty basic back then. I would have thought that these habits were not nearly enough to maintain my health.
This is the third post in a series about role models. (You can read the first post and the second post too).
One of the reasons I chose habit-based goals instead of outcome based goals is that I wanted to keep myself open to whatever outcomes may come as a result of adopting healthier habits. I did not want to attempt to force certain outcomes on myself, which I ultimately could not control anyway.
One of the really nice outcomes I’ve been experiencing as a result of walking away from weight loss pressure is getting a lot more practice speaking to myself kindly – the way I strive to speak to (and listen to!) my own kiddo. I want to care for my kiddo as best I can, and that includes a sense of a emotional safety. Why would I want to do anything different for myself?
Earlier this week I published a post about why I am grateful for fat role models. I have a lot more to say about role models in general, so there may be several more posts on the subject!
In the earlier post, I wrote about how important it is for me to have role models that look like me. Courtney, of Black Feminist Fitness, has a profound way of looking at this. As black woman, she finds that role models who look like her are often few and far between in the fitness world. Any time she wants to try a new sport, she seeks out a black female role model to inspire her. For example, when she wanted to try CrossFit, she looked towards Elizabeth Akinwale‘s example. For powerlifting, Taylar Stallings provided inspiration. For dancing, Jeni Le Gon. She also follows community pages like Black Girls Swim and Black Girls RUN!
When I first heard about Courtney’s approach, it didn’t really stick in my head. As a white person, I am privileged to have never had to consider this before – in any of area of interest, I am fairly certain I can find a white female role model who has gone before me. Recently though, I have found myself profoundly affected and inspired by the journeys of several fat women involved in fitness, and I realized how important role models can really be.
Earlier this week I visited a new gym where I am considering training this winter when it gets too cold for the porch gym. Even though it’s a bit of a drive from my home, I was tempted to try it out, because of the weightlifting expertise of the coaches. After trying it out though, I decided to hold off on joining, for a couple reasons: parenting, and enjoyment of training. Both of these are high priorities for me, so it is important for me to balance these priorities with my weightlifting training.