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Moms Who Lift

Sherine Marcelle

Posted on April 14 2019

Moms Who Lift

“Mommy, where are my headphones? My iPad isn’t working (insert whiny voice and crocodile tears) And I want more snacks.” “Mom, can you help me fix my hair and look for an outfit for ‘90’s Day’ at school?” “Mommy, today this boy in my class was mean to me. I don’t want to go to afterschool anymore.”  “Mom, can you listen to my speech for my debate? Mom, I need more lip-gloss.” “Mom!” “Mommy!” “Mom!” “Mommy!” “Mommmyyyyy!”

As I pack my gym bag, grab my keys and unlock the door, “Boy, your headphones are on the couch behind the pillow.  I’ll bring you more snacks when I get home. You can tell me about what happened at school when I get back. For now, tell Daddy. Girl, I’ll help you with your hair in the morning. Record your speech and send it to me through WhatsApp and I will give you feedback through text while I’m at the gym. We’ll also go over it in the morning.”

This is the typical transitional conversation from my home to the gym. I used to feel guilty about leaving my children in the middle of the “witching hour’ (the hour when they arrive from school and they transition into dinner and homework time.) Now, I walk out of the house with a kiss on each of their foreheads and wave to my husband. Now, it’s my time. It’s time for Mommy to go lift.

My life as a mom-who-lifts requires practice, dedication and determination. I had to learn and practice the art of advocating for myself. I needed to learn the art of saying “No” to things that do not serve my lifting career or family life. My family has a very active life. Our weekdays begin at 6am and end at 8pm. Our weekends include lifting, meal prep, homework review, extracurricular activities, laundry, and rest.  We spend two weekends a month enjoying events as a family (movies, dinner, shows, etc.) and I spend individual time with each child in an event of their choice. All social events outside of this program are highly scrutinized to determine how it will impact my lifting life. I don’t typically attend birthday parties that require adult supervision (my attendance), events that are scheduled on Sundays and any event that is scheduled before or after my lifting sessions. This is an unwavering rule. My family understands this and I’m comfortable with sending the following text, “I’m sorry, that won’t work for me and my family.”

Successful lifting requires stamina, proper planning and rest. When you’re mom, rest and planning are the two most challenging things to achieve. There are nights when I’ve stayed up all night to monitor my son’s fever before it finally broke at 4am; an hour before I am scheduled to go lift. Or, I’d return home from a heavy volume day and I’d need to help my daughter with an essay or work through an issue of teenage angst.

That’s the thing about being a Mom who lifts; it’s not either/or. I’m both a Mom and a Lifter and here’s where I need to dig deep. I defy the fatigue, make a cup of coffee and do what needs to be done for my babies and my lifts. The level of dedication that is my maternal instinct is also my motivation for lifting. As a mom, we can’t surrender when we are tired or sick. There are no days off. It’s the same for lifting. We have no choice but to persevere.

To succeed in this role I have 10 rules that I live by:

  1. Create a schedule and share with your family:  I have regularly scheduled lifting days/ hours and my family is aware that during these days and times I am unavailable. (Caveat: My lifting sessions are typically 60 mins to 90mins.)

  • Create a childcare plan for your gym time: My husband watches the children while I lift during my longer sessions and I scheduled shorter sessions while the children are still in school. I have also secured caregivers for days/sessions when he’s unavailable.

  • Schedule Family Time: I have selected dates and times when my children have my undivided attention. This helps to mitigate the time when I’m away from them during my gym sessions.

  • Incorporate your children into your lifting life: If your gym allows children, bring your children with you. Let them see you lift and include them in the sessions with their own exercises. My children typically attend my competitions and frequently accompany me to the gym.

    1. Be creative: My children are unaware of a huge chunk of my time in the gym. I go to the gym most days before my children are awake or after they are asleep. Deadlifts at 4am and squats at 11pm are definitely an acquired taste, but you sometimes you have to compromise.

    1. Meal prep: I plan my meals so I can feed my family in less than 45 minutes. I also share this responsibility with my husband. We have invested in all the kitchen gadgets: Crockpot, Pressure Cooker, Toaster Ovens, etc so we can provide meals as effortlessly as possible. Also, its ok feed your kids takeout once in a while.

  • Combat feeling overwhelmed: If I feel overwhelmed, I say it. I say it to my children, my husband and my Coaches. After I say it, I establish my plan for combating it. Sometimes I need a day away from training, sometimes I need a few hours away from my family; sometimes I need a day off from work. Whatever I need to mitigate this feeling; I claim it and accept it.

  • Eliminate guilt: There is no guilt associated with advocating myself and my needs.

  • It’s ok to just be a Mom too: I’ve walked away from a heavy lifting session because I have plans with my children. Sometimes, I don’t want to think about mobility drills and recovery. Sometimes, I just want to sit on the couch and watch ridiculously funny stuff with my kids. This is ok. This does not impact my standing as a lifter. Balance is essential.

  • Get on the ‘balcony’ sometimes:  The ‘balcony’ is the space where we can pull ourselves out of the moment and observe everything unbiased. I schedule time to observe my role, responsibilities, and needs as a mom and a lifter. I honestly ask myself these questions:

      • What’s working?
      • What’s not working?
      • What do I need to improve?
      • How do I feel?
      • How do the children feel?
  • Why do I feel this way?
  • What am I projecting to the children?
  • With these questions, I can adjust my behavior to ensure my family gets the best part of me; while I am also giving my best to my lifts.

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