During a new year, we are surrounded by constant messages to lose weight. Join a weight loss challenge, start an elimination diet, and workout until exhaustion. These are all common ways I’ve started a new year. Our perspective about an upcoming new year can get clouded with thoughts about how we aren’t good enough.
Being a mom is a constant challenge. We can be fully prepared to take on the day, and in an instant, our tools and ability to take on the latest challenge get reshuffled. Each day as moms, we tackle so many different circumstances, challenges, and emotions, I wish at the end of the year, we could say, “Good job, mama.”
Instead, at the beginning of the new year, there is a pressure to evaluate our worthiness by how much baby weight we’ve lost. That’s just not right. We have done so much to get to this day, it is just not about weight and it isn’t about our mistakes.
What matters is how we’ve tackled the multitude of things thrown our way, and how every single time, we got back up. We did this thing called motherhood, all year long, and kept going. That is what we should recognize each new year.
My challenge this year is to think about the gains I made in the past year and the gains I hope to make in the year ahead. What a beautiful way to flip this idea that our motherhood and womanhood is defined by weight and size, to challenge it by saying, “I plan to gain.” Gaining, not losing in motherhood.
It is hard to make this flip. It is hard to rail against the television commercials and pressure from groups to join their weight loss challenge. It is hard to change how you talk to yourself. But, you deserve a motherhood and a life where you are free to do and be who you really are without the constraint of thinking your body isn’t good enough.
Reflecting on the last year, I have gained so much. I’ve gained an ability to forgive in a way I never thought possible, by not carrying around resentment and instead, releasing it. It has helped me be a better mother and teach my kids how to forgive and move on. I’ve gained joy in exercising. I really never thought it would be possible, but I found an exercise class that I love and the instructor even knows my name because I go so much! I’ve gained the knowledge that I have to move my body for physical and mental health and my focus is on strength, not weight loss. I’ve gained resilience to work through really hard motherhood and marriage situations and bounce out of them, ones I couldn’t see the light through, but I made it.
I bet if you start thinking about what you’ve gained, you too will come up with an incredible list of gains.
Start the new year by making a list of gains you hope to make. Challenge the traditional resolutions of losing and stopping and find resolutions of ways to gain. I wish you all the best in the new year and hope you make many new gains!