Sweat & Smiles: On Mother's Day, Emphasize Showing How to Live Instead of Sacrificing Everything

By Melissa Romano on May 12, 2018 from Sweat & Smiles via Connect-Bridgeport.com

As you walk the aisles looking for a Mother’s Day card you’ll notice poem after poem thanking Mom for all of her sacrifices. If you’re over 30 you probably have a prime example of a mother who put herself last. As women we often find ourselves filling that role.
Putting ourselves last in the name of what we believe is love. As a mother I understand, our desire to be a good mother supersedes any goal we could have ever imagined having. But what does that even mean? Is sacrifice the determining factor between a good mother and the rest of us? 
Approximately 15 percent of all mothers experience Postpartum depression, and that’s just self-reported cases. Approximately 12 million women in the United States suffer from depression. Women experience depression at roughly twice the rate as men. One in eight women will develop a thyroid disorder in their lifetime, the most prevalent root cause being stress.
A study led by Cambridge University estimated that four out every 100 people have anxiety. For every 1.9 females, one male is affected by anxiety disorders, and women younger than 35 are disproportionately affected. I may be generalizing and these statistics may or may not have anything to do with being a mother but if I’m speaking frankly for my mom friends and I, we’d all say that the expectations of motherhood can feel crippling. 
I had an eight hour labor, no epidural, no medication. I started pushing at 10:45 and Cannon was born at 11:11. Two days later we went home from the hospital. The following day I was up and on the go, heading out to Target. I brought Cannon to meet family, hosted family at my house, and when he was five days old I went to a wedding. I got up to breastfeed, pumped, and slept when I had the chance. I started walking when he was a week old and working out when he was four weeks old. I did great. Until I didn’t. 
When Cannon was six or seven months old I had that “what have I gotten myself into” feeling. It was winter so we were in the house more often than not. I was rarely away from him for more than two hours at a time because it was so much easier to breastfeed than to pump. Even though Cannon slept for 5 and 6 hour stretches from the time he was five weeks old, I did not. In fact, even the sleep I got wasn’t good sleep. I was crippling under pressure and expectations that I didn’t even know existed. 
It didn’t take me long (thank God for the women around me) to see what was happening. Since then I’ve made choice after choice to not accept the “Mom guilt”. Notice I didn’t say I didn’t feel it, I just chose not to accept it. I made the choice to take care of myself first so that I was able to care for Cannon as the best version of myself. I made the choice to decide what being a good mother meant to me. In honor of Mother’s Day I’d like to share what being a good mother means to me. 
Being my best most authentic self. 
Modeling the behaviors I want my son to inherent: kindness, compassion, confidence and resiliency. 
Helping him every step of the way to build his own confidence and resiliency. 
Teaching him to use his words, his instincts, and to always speak his truth. 
Giving him the space to feel all of his feelings … even the ones the produce the loudest screams and most heart wrenching cries. 
Treating him with the same respect that I want him to treat me and every other living being. 
For me, that’s the best I can do. Everything else outside of that list is far beyond my control. I made a choice when my son was six months old that I didn’t want a Mother’s Day card that said “thanks for sacrificing everything for me”, I want a Mother’s Day card that says, “thanks for showing me the way to live.” 
Happy Mother’s Day to each and every one of you and a special happy Mother’s Day to those of you who have showed me how to live. 
Sweat & Smiles, 
Editor's Note: Melissa (Romano) Robbins is the founder of You First a personal training program created because of a strong belief that the greatest investment you can make is in yourself! After graduating from West Virginia Wesleyan College she completed 200+ hours to obtain her Professional Certificate of Personal Fitness Training from Pierpont Community College.  Since 2009 she has worked full-time as a personal trainer, group fitness instructor and wellness coach. She believes in functional fitness, healthy lifestyle changes and a holistic approach to a better, happier life. She was born and raised in Clarksburg and is married to Bridgeport native Alan Robbins, owner of First University baseball facility. Alan and Melissa welcomed their son, Cannon in September 2015. Visit Melissa's Web site at  https://youfirst.fitness/ or email her at melissa@youfirst.fitness.

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