Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Taking the Athlete into Motherhood

I spent the summers of my youth on a ball diamond night in and night out. I spent most of my playing days as a confident player, but there were those times I wasn’t so confident. There was those teams we’d face and I thought we were beaten before we ever even stepped on the field. There were some batters I’d face down confident I owned them, and others I dreaded coming to the plate because they owned me. Then there were times we’d surprise ourselves or I’d surprise myself and that batter I thought owned me or that that team that we thought owned us didn’t stand a chance against the player(s) that stepped out onto the field to play that day. We came out with a different mentality. We came to win; we came to conquer.

Those days are almost half my lifetime away from me now though. However, the mentality I needed then I found isn’t much different than the one I need now in motherhood. Sometimes motherhood has just flat out owned me. I was tired; I was defeated. I didn’t think I stood a chance to conquer all that I desired to conquer as a mom, as a wife, as a teacher, as a woman with goals and ambitions of my own. Motherhood was owning me. She was the batter staring me down with that determined look that said I didn’t stand a chance against her.

Just like that player that felt beaten by the same team too many times I lost my confidence. I lost my desire to even put in the effort I knew I needed to even compete for the life I wanted. I was losing hope. I was starting to become convinced I wasn’t good enough to be the woman I wanted to be as a mother or any of the other roles I balanced with it.  I was ready to concede, to throw in the towel, to settle for runner up to the version of myself I was aiming for.

But I was an athlete. I was raised with an athlete mentality. Yes, you aim to defeat, but sometimes it’s not always about winning but about how you played the game. If I gave it my very best I could still walk away with my confidence and my head held high. I wasn’t giving motherhood my best. I could do better. I could have what I wanted, but I had to step onto that field of motherhood with a different mentality, not the one that left me defeated.

I had to face the challenges ahead with confidence that I could do this. I could have what I wanted; be who I wanted, but I had to change my thinking. I had to change my game plan. If the old game strategy  wasn’t working to defeat who and what I needed to defeat in order to succeed it was time to throw it out and strategize a new one. I could do this. Motherhood wasn’t going to own me; I would own motherhood. I could balance the kids with my career. I could make time to improve my marriage and for myself with exercise and writing. Just as I wasn’t going to throw a no hitter every time I stepped on the field, I knew I there was going to be failed moments and days in motherhood, but  I could cut myself a little slack and forgive myself for the failed moments, for the ones that got past me. If I shut down my negative thinking and changed my attitude and perspective in the end I could come out the other side of motherhood confident I gave it my best, confident I didn’t just give up and settle for the runner up version of myself I was at one point ready to just accept.

I thought of that girl that use to walk onto that ball diamond confident in the player she was even thought she won some and lost some. I thought I had left her behind sixteen years ago, but now I saw I needed to take that athlete into motherhood.

Check out my recent published essays and articles in other magazines and websites this summer

Home is Where the Work Is on Tribe Magazine

10 Things I've Learned in my Pursuit of Happiness on Lose the Cape

A Mother's Wish: I Hope you Always Dance

A Mother's Harshest Critic on The Red Tricycle

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