So, I’m not big on the whole “super mom” thing so when I was asked to read and review a new book titled Lose The Cape: Realities from Busy Modern Moms and Strategies to Survive I hesitated. I’m not sure if I’m just a horrible mother and/or person but, I don’t buy into the whole idea that because I happened to get knocked up and birth children, that I’m now in some sort of competition or mommy war. When I want to compete, you will know it.
However, in an effort to be more open-minded, I decided to give it read and try not to be such a bossy know-it-all. The result? Somewhat surprising.
Competition comes in many forms and, just because I compete with my body doesn’t mean there aren’t a whole ton of moms out there competing with their time, knowledge and crafting skills. It turns out that racing and super mom-ing are very similar.
Upon reading the content page of the book, I flipped (digitally of course) right to the chapter on “Finding Me Time,” since I feel highly skilled in this area.
Here are tips from the authors, Alexa Bigwarfe and Kerry Rivera, on how to wrangle the elusive alone time and then my thoughts on how it’s oh-so-similar to finding time to train (aka my ‘alone time’):
Tip #1: Create a Happy List
What moms do: Like any good list of accomplishments, the authors encourage you to be very specific on what truly makes you happy, and it can be a lot of little things – dog walking, having cocktails with friends every Tuesday or getting a solid 7 hours of sleep every other Saturday night.
What athletes do: Set a race schedule and then plan training around it. It’s very specific and, if you want to succeed, you don’t skip workouts and you ditch the mom guilt.
Let’s have a moment about mom guilt, shall we? It’s complete and total bullshit and here’s why:
1. You are a human being with wants and needs and you deserve to have your own life. Kids are a big part of that life but not life itself. Here’s some news: they grow up and move on if you do your job right. Think more about how to get to that end goal and perhaps you will have a mind shift.
2. Everyone agrees that “date nights” (another phrase I loathe) with your significant other are important. What about “solo nights/hours/days?” To be a good mom you need to have a good relationship with the kids’ other parent and you need a good one with yourself. Think about it. How can you love them if you don’t love you and want to spend some glorious time alone?
*gets off high horse with some difficulty*
Tip #2: Your “Happy” Can Come in Quick Spurts
What moms do: Tell your partner to take over for 20 minutes and then run!…Well you can but you have to come back. The point is, don’t shoot for the all girls’ weekend trip to the Bahamas, and maybe settle for a quiet cup of coffee by yourself or reading a few chapters of a book you’re dying to finish. Keep it simple and short and you can recharge and be ready to take whatever those little
monsters angelic children throw at you. Literally or figuratively.
What athletes do: This is why many, many runners spilt their distances between morning and night – run 3-6 (or 10!) miles before the kids get up and then do another 3-6 after dinner. You get your training in and the house continues to run like a well oiled machine.
This is what happens when mom doesn’t get enough “happy” time:
Tip #3: Occasionally, Go BIG
What moms do: This is when you go for that weekend in paradise with the girls! You deserve it. Talk with your partner, plan it and GO! This can be anything (a spa day, a race weekend, Vegas) as long as it makes you happy.
What athletes do: Big goal races are what it’s all about! From the Olympics to World Championships to iconic marathons like Boston, Chicago, London and New York. You know how athletes roll – go big or go home!…and you’re kids are at home so…
Now, perhaps you’re wondering how to lose your cape for good since that was promised in the title. It comes down to one word: CHOICE. Like racing schedules and training routines, moms make choices every single day to basically care or not care what everyone else thinks. If you love your kids and your goal is to keep them safe and happy, what else matters? Lose The Cape and don’t go looking for it.
You can look for (and buy) your guide to losing the cape HERE!
How do you lose your cape? Any cape – doesn’t have to be a “mom” one.
Do you feel pressured by other moms/friends/co-workers/partners?
What tip would you add?
ahhh I think my being a NOT YOUNG MAMA has helped me not to lose my cape.
in todays blog I wrote and thought and kinda realized I …. didnt take it off but I started to question a piece of it.
if that makes ANY SENSE.
it does in my head 🙂
After reading your blog, it makes perfect sense. There can be many pieces to the cape!
I truly loved their book as I have no capes here either and most definitely need any and help I can get with my gang. So you will not hear me argue on this!! 😉
Oh I so know that about you and that’s what makes you a great mama and person 🙂 Thanks Janine!
This is such a great post and I think anyone should read it (mama or not). I think it’s so important to do your own thing and not worry about what others think. Great reminder.
Love your perspective on this Hollie! Thank you.
I love these tips! So very true… and love how you related them to fitness!
I kind of relate everything to fitness – oops!
I think my biggest pressure comes from myself. I feel bad when I just hold Cooper all day and bring him along with whatever I’m doing. I feel like I need to be actively engaging with him and playing developmental games. It’s silly really but I put pressure on myself to do those things.
I completely understand that!! BUT, stay-at-home moms have the most leeway when it comes to stuff like this since we’re with them oh-so-much! Cut yourself some slack and realize what you’re doing, just by being with him, is enough 🙂
I love how you did a side by side of moms and athletes!
Go Big – that’s what I’m hoping to do next year when I turn 40! (a trip to the USA!!)
I’m way ahead of you Allie! I gave a lot of time to my kids so when I did want a little alone time to go out on a run I did so without guilt. We try to do the best we can and still keep our sanities. Also, wtf with that Facebook post…yikes!
And yeah, that FB post was pretty ballsy of that mom – whoa!
I try to not play the comparison game….
Mom terms: this mom is head of PTA and fundraising for this and working and girl scout leader….
Run terms: this person is running this many races per year and their pace is x….
I just do what is right for me, both in being mom and in running/racing.
YES!! Exactly my point. Thank you.
Love how you presented this (it’s oh so athlete understandable!). I decided a long time ago that there were things that had to take a backseat (hello career) in order to keep everything in balance. With kids are in school full time and very self sufficient, I can’t say I am missing any “me” time. I am so happy with my balance right now and I do feel for the moms who struggle to find that place.
And oh holy cow on that FB post…it WAS kind of funny!
I have to put it in terms that runners can understand 🙂 I completely agree with you and finding the right balance is an ongoing struggle for me but I like to think I keep it going in the right direction for everyone.
That FB post was just YIKES but definitely funny and I’m pretty sure a lesson was learned.
I love your attitude towards being a mom! Even though I’m not a mom yet (unless you count a very needy, toddler-like puggle), I 100% agree with what you said about mom guilt. Taking care of yourself is incredibly important, and it teaches kids to take care of themselves and fosters independence (and keeps them from being super spoiled).
I DO count that and yes, independence can be a very tricky thing with kids. Love the points you made and the perspective you bring! Thank you.
I would add that girls’ nights are important too – I love my alone time and my time with my husband, but time with the girls reinvigorates me. When I spend the morning walking around the lake with a girlfriend, I get exercise and good conversation, and I face the rest of the day with a smile.
Absolutely 100% YES!
I’ve never envisioned a cape on myself for any reason whatsoever.
Parenting is definitely difficult work and more so when you don’t really have a mother figure in your life for guidance. My MIL is lovely but her neuroses are so heavy that she’s not much help in the parental guidance department.
It’s hard to realize that *everyone* has their struggles when it comes to parenting. In the days when social media is so prevalent, it’s even harder to be reminded that everyone has days when the world feels like it’s crashing in. Not everyone has the Pinterest perfect life that is often looked at as the ideal.
I never care what anyone has to say about my parenting nor do I ever feel in competition but as you have a child that is in school and growing older, you discover that many parents engage in this activity due to their own guilt, need for reassurance that they’re good parents or just for sport. These people amuse me. They used to make me angry but now, I find them a bit pathetic.
I try to live by my gut when it comes to parenting. There are days that I know I could be better but deep down, I know my heart is in the right place and the fact that I have a husband who partners with me in parenting but respects me as an individual, makes the journey an easier one.
I could not have said (written) this better myself Melissa. I am lucky to have my aunt to help guide me though motherhood, especially in the early years but, as the boys get older the competition grows! Like you, I simply chose not to be a part of it and know that if I parent from a place of love, I can’t go wrong. It’s also immensely important to have a supportive partner. I probably should have touched on that a bit more! Thank you for writing this so eloquently. xo
I don’t feel the super-mom pressure at all. I do what I can do and that is good enough for me…helps that I’m a slacker and procrastinator 😉
I’m sure it does!! 🙂 I think being involved with blogging and running helps you be more of who you are, and that translates in so many ways to being a good mom!
It definitely gives me an outlet, that’s for sure and very much needed. It’s hard to stay home!
This sounds phenomenal! I love how you relate it to being an athlete. I like to keep my cape on reserve. I definitely don’t wear it all the time but I certainly pull it out when needed. I have learned (or maybe have been taught) that mommies are allowed to do whatever they want with their kids–as long as they are taken care of and somehow manage to be decent adults. Now a days with Social media everybody judges, everyone has a opinion and EVERYONE compares. It’s out of control. Our parents just had to deal with whispers–not public ranting. But I digress I can go on and on. I am super curious to read this book now!
We could all go on, and on and on about this topic, right? Social media can certainly be a beast when it comes to mommy comparing…and pretty much everything else, which is why you have to take it for what it is and leave the rest. I hope you get the book b/c it’s just a great way to view parenting.
ha! I love the side-by-side comparison. So true! I was hesitant about the book at first but by the time I finished, I wished that there was a book like this when I first stumbled into motherhood.
Agreed! Friends can TELL you about parenting all they want, but it’s completely different when you’re actually doing it, and can be oh so frightening!!!
i love this! i’m not a mom to humans but have furry babies that i absolutely adore, and a husband, so that’s my family for now.
i’ve struggled with admitting that i’m competitive, but it’s because i’m very competitive with my self. i set some big goals and love having a plan to tackle them. i find that without a (training) plan or list of things, i’m sort of lost. i make time for what’s important, at least i do the best i can. if i miss something then at least i did my best. perfection is non existent, i just try to do as much as i can to make me and the fam happy, but i have to come first. if i’m not happy, the fam is not happy. cliche but true!
I hear you! Sometimes when I’m training hard for an upcoming race I wish I didn’t have such a strict plan but then, as soon as I have “down time” I start thinking about training for another big event.