Mom Strength: It’s a Real Thing
A few years ago, I started doing CrossFit with a friend. We were both new to it, and while I had some workout experience, I hadn’t been very active since I had given birth a year and a half before, and I was quite scrawny. My friend, who weighed a little more than me and appeared much stronger, didn’t have any kids at the time. I remember in one of our first WODs (Workout Of the Day), she was shocked that I could shoulder press more weight than her. She was legitimately upset by it, and she just couldn’t believe how I could weigh less than her and be stronger than her. I remember laughing it off and just saying, “It’s Mom Strength.” She rolled her eyes at me. I continued to giggle at being stronger than her, but I thought back to what I said later that day and realized that it was completely true. I had stronger arm and shoulder muscles than she did because I was used to carrying around my almost 2-year-old on a daily basis.
Now, two years later, I have two children and my friend has one. She stopped doing CrossFit, as did I, but she recently got back into it and was shocked at how much stronger she was when she began the second time around. She texted me to tell me she finally has the “mom strength” that she was jealous of when we started CrossFit together two years ago.
As I think about the physical muscles that we moms strengthen due to our roles as moms, I also think about the other types of mom strength that we find ourselves with. There are things that I do on a daily basis that I never thought myself capable of. Maybe it’s because I’m an Army wife who sometimes plays the role of a single mom, or maybe it’s because I have to believe the best in and for my kids because no one else can do it in quite the same way. Or maybe it’s because if I’m not a strong mom, I can’t expect my kids to be strong. Despite the reasons we acquire mom strength, it is vital to our survival and to the survival of our kids. And you know what? Mom strength is AWESOME. Don’t let people get down on you for having mom strength, and don’t let anyone trick you into believing it’s not real. And most importantly, don’t let anyone tell you that you aren’t or can’t be strong for yourself and your kids. Make confident and wise decisions for yourself and your family, and your mom strength will turn to husband strength and child strength and family strength, and before you know it, you’ll have infected the whole household with strength and wisdom and peace and encouragement. And those things are far more important and powerful than almost anything else you could give your children or your family.
Physical Mom Strength
Despite what you may think about your muscle definition or physical strength, you have stronger muscles than you would have had if you weren’t a mom. Your arms and shoulders are physically stronger from holding kids for months or years. While you may feel like being pregnant or breastfeeding or stressing out over your kids has negatively affected your body, your strength, and your overall health, I encourage you not to buy into that. Sure, you have a few stretch marks. Okay, you don’t have as much alone time to work out as you would like. Absolutely, eating healthy is harder when you have little ones at your feet as you try to prepare dinner.
But keep this in mind—when you improve your own physical health and get physically stronger, you become a better mom. You’ll be more active for more years and you’ll be physically able to chase your kids (and grandkids!) around and ride bikes and play soccer in the front yard for many years. You’ll be happier because working out gives you endorphins, which boost your mood, give you energy, and improve your self-esteem. You can then pass on all of these benefits to your kids! They’ll know how important it is to work out (and to let Mom work out), and they will start forming good habits because of YOUR good habits.
So yes, embrace the physical mom strength that you got without even trying. But don’t just let it stop there. Be brave, be bold, and work to attain even more physical mom strength to help you become an even better mom!
Emotional Mom Strength
As a female, you’re probably better than your significant other at embracing your emotional side. You can acknowledge the various feelings and emotions you’re experiencing, and you can transition between them with ease, comfort, awareness, and confidence. Now as a mom, this sometimes becomes far more challenging. Chalk it up to hormones or growing another human or loving a tiny little person so much you can hardly stand it. Whatever the reason for the overwhelming emotions you experience as a mom, you still somehow have this incredible emotional mom strength that your childless friends and even some older moms just don’t understand.
Even if you view yourself as emotionally weak or unstable, if you’re a mother, I guarantee that you have emotional mom strength. If your child has ever been so upset that you wanted to cry, but you didn’t—you’ve got it. Or if your child has ever had a meltdown in a public place and you didn’t completely lose your mind—you’ve got it. Or if you’ve turned your mothering side off for a just a few moments to be a friend to your teenager in the midst of heartbreak or friend drama—you’ve got it. Emotional mom strength is something that comes naturally to some extent, but like physical mom strength, it must be nurtured and practiced in order to grow.
Mental Mom Strength
Focus, value, and respect are the key words when it comes to mental mom strength. You can maintain your focus over an extended period of time whether that focus is on your husband, your children, your home, your job, or something else. You value yourself, your opinions, your strengths, and your weaknesses, and you know that you have something to offer those around you. You have respect for others and yourself, and you’re committed to maintaining the focus, value, and respect that you’ve acquired over the years.
Your mental mom strength helps you focus on the endless number of tasks you have to complete each day, and it helps you value your family members as individuals who can contribute to the family and to society. Your mental mom strength keeps you working towards your ultimate goals—of being healthier, of being a better wife, of raising strong, smart children. Your mental mom strength helps you keep your head in the game, no matter what comes your way.
Spiritual Mom Strength
Even if you don’t consider yourself religious, you still have a spiritual mom strength that works inside you every day
. The spiritual aspects of your mom strength include your personal values, morals, virtues, and beliefs. Your spiritual side is what helps you teach your kids the difference between right and wrong. Your spiritual mom strength helps you determine your virtues, stay committed to them, display them daily, and encourage your family to follow them. It helps you respect others’ virtues and live an honest life, one in which you lead your kids with honesty, integrity, and pureness of heart.
Embrace Your Mom Strength!
All four of these types of mom strength come together to form you—your whole self, your child’s mother, your husband’s best friend. You need strength, flexibility, endurance, resilience, and commitment in all four areas of your mom strength. Don’t neglect any one part of your mom strength. Nurture them all and let them flourish in your life.
For more on the four pillars of strength, check out this blog post on Limitless 365.