Mamma said there would be days like this.

Life is messy.

It’s full of ups and downs and curve balls.

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of chaos for us. My husband has been doing Maple Syrup with a friend, so every weekend is spent out at the sugar bush in the camper. Last weekend I had to work late so he went off with the baby, and I stayed back to do a 14 hour inventory shift… I just came home and crashed. Then the following day I went out to meet them, annnnd Finn was sick (barky seal cough so I’m assuming croup??) So I just came home with her. She was up the whole night, coughing. Poor, sweet Finn. She seems to be on the mend, so there’s that.

I picked up my kids yesterday from school as we go into an “on week” with them. Rhy was so bubbly in the car and I always love our car chats. He’s full of stories and updates – I just shut the radio off and listen to him recount his week. Avalon was “off”… she told me that she just felt moody today. So I let her be… I knew that the car was not the right place to tell them.

Now we may not be able to predict the things that get thrown our way, but we can sure as heck control the reaction we have to them.

Last night, after we got home and settled, I told my daughter some difficult news. And watching her as she came to terms with it, was heartbreaking.

We went for a drive, just me and her, so we could chat:

“My Avalon Mae, I cannot protect you from life’s challenges. As much as I want to take the hurt away; I can’t. You’re going to face hardships and life is going to rip you apart. Some days it will knock you down; some days you’ll get back up, and some days you’re gonna be down for a bit… but you’ll get up. You will. You’re going to hurt, but it’s not going to last. I can promise you that. You’re going to have bad days – days when you’re sad. And I’ll be right there with you. I’m going to be sad with you. I’m going to be there all the way through it. When we get to the end, we are gonna celebrate together. I am your mother. I cannot protect your from everything, but you can be DAMN sure that I’m going to walk alongside you no matter what…”

Raise your kids to feel emotions. To ride those waves; allow the sadness to wash over you. Teach them to feel it, own it, control it, and then let it go.

We cannot shield our children from life, but we can show them that these days will come and go – and that’s ok. Raising strong children doesn’t mean telling them to “get over it”… strength comes from knowing that this wide range of emotions are a very real thing, and they don’t last forever.

When we teach a child to feel an emotion instead of reacting to it, it allows them to own it, deal with it, and then move on. As adults they learn to accept responsibility for their own emotions, control them, and are less likely to last out and let sadness turn into anger then anxiety.

Not just that, but allow them to feel safe in their emotions. Be there for them while they ride that wave. Hold them, talk to them. You’re not letting them be “weak” – actually it’s the opposite. You are raising them to be strong and independent. For one day they will face sadness again, and the motor pathway in the brain on how to cope will be established.

Being a mom is hard… but you just have to roll with it sometimes!

My mamma said there would be days like this.

My fitness journey

Where did “Supermomgetsfit” come from?

Back in 2014 I joined a weight loss challenge. One of the components was that I create a social media page to document my progress. So Supermomgetsfit was born.

I was miserable and looking for something to make me happy again. I was lead by a coach who cut my calories and had me working out nearly every day. It produced results and I was “happy”… Did it produce results? Absolutely. Of course it worked, because I put in the work. I started running, but my knee was flaring up. So I stuck to cardio and weightlifting in my home gym.

I went through a divorce and then completely took a detour when it came to health and fitness. I went through a summer of eating junk and drinking at the cottage and campground. By the winter of 2015 I was heavier than when I started a year ago.

I joined a second challenge with the same coach and lost 20lbs in 8 weeks.

I won the competition and was awarded $1000 for doing so. But to get those results? I was eating waaaay too little and exercising waaaay too much. It wasn’t sustainable. Again, it worked but you can’t live like that forever.

I then got pregnant with Finn and stopped exercising altogether. I gained 25-30lbs during the pregnancy, which was within reason.

After the pregnancy I found another weight loss competition and went balls to the wall for a whole year. I lost about 40lbs, completely messed up my milk supply, went through post partum depression, and ended up feeling just as lost and miserable in the end. I won $10,000 for this transformation – which was amazing – but I still didn’t feel complete.

The truth is, I was looking for weight loss to fix my life; solve all my problems. But it didn’t. I still found something to be unhappy about, something to make me feel like I need more. The program was designed to help you lose weight. And if that’s your goal, then so be it. But fat loss doesn’t fix broken hearts and minds.

But I already had what I needed. A home, a husband, a family, a job, a car etc. I had the basics some people would kill for. Why did I need to take up less space in order to be greater?

I think the pressure on women, specifically, is so IMMENSE to lose weight for aesthetic reasons that we so very quickly forget the benefits of eating better and getting active. It helps with anxiety, helps you sleep better, helps with mood disorders and depression, helps your skin, and helps your digestion etc. Losing weight doesn’t always equate to health.

If you cut calories and exercise excessively, sure you’ll lose weight. But one, it’s not maintainable, and two, it’s not healthy. The focus here is simply to “fix” your outside but put your insides at risk? But why? What’s the point?

I hope that more women begin to lean towards health and happiness, and focus less on aesthetic transformations. Let’s stop rewarding people for the visual changes and start praising them for the spiritual and internal transformations.

This past weekend was a great example of a balanced lifestyle: I ate prepped meals for dinner and lunch (crockpot chicken and sautéed veggies), I enjoyed a dinner with family and had some birthday cake, I sat in bed and watched a movie with my daughter and together we ate cupcakes… I also did a workout on Saturday with a few dance breaks in between with my kids. And on Sunday my girls and I did a fun workout together.

This is balance.

It’s stepping away from the scale and focusing on the FUN of the movement versus punishing yourself for a goal. I’m stepping away from the scale and from the progress photos. I’m embracing the loose skin and stretch marks and cellulite. I’m exercising cause it makes me feel good and I enjoy the time with the music up, dancing and laughing with my kids.

Supermomgetsfit has evolved into so much more than a documentary of my fitness journey. It’s the process of becoming me. And being ok with “me”. It’s the journey to acceptance; and spreading the same message all over the world so that other woman can learn to find that same inner peace.

Cheers to us. And all of our bits. And may we bare them with confidence for the next generations to come.

Supermom

My mom was my superhero. I looked up to her in every way. As a small child I remember going to an amusement park. My mother got on some sort of rollercoaster ride. I stayed back with my grandmother as she climbed into her seat. A wave of anxiety washed over me and I feared for her safety. I cried out to her. She waved and smiled reassuringly; I cried even more… In my child-sized mind, I felt like I was losing her. Like she was putting herself deliberately in harms way. And all I could do was watch. Of course, she ended up being fine. But I don’t think I’ll ever forget that feeling.

When my mother and step-dad split up, I went through a transitional period when I found my mother becoming less of a mom, and more of a roommate. Impulsive decision making, and teenage like behaviour made me see her in a different light. I loved her so dearly, but I didn’t feel like she was the solid caretaker she used to be.

In 2006 when she was admitted to the psychiatric ward was the first time I felt like the adult. Watching her fall apart; sobbing for what felt like 3 months straight. She was broken. She didn’t know how to be a mother, let alone be herself. It was a giant reset button in her life, as well as in our relationship. In 2006 I feel as though I lost my mother.

She moved to another province upon release and has not come back since. I was born in Ontario. I’ve been raised in Ontario. She left my home and went somewhere else, taking my sister along with her. I was left here to do my own thing.

I work and I have my own family now. Up and leaving to go visit is a challenge, time-wise and money-wise. I don’t have the freedom and flexibility to drop it and go. So I see my mother maybe once a year, sometimes even less.

When I got remarried my mother wasn’t there. Was it hard? Absolutely. But I have to remind myself that having a mother alive is more valuable than having a mother being physically present on one single day of the year.

I hope that I can be the mother who always has an open door policy for my kids, and their kids, and so on. We will have dinner together every weekend, and talk on the phone about the going-ons of life. I want to be emotionally available to my children when they go through life’s challenges. I am, after all, their mother. And it’s a lifelong commitment. I am not angry with my mother; she is human. She has her own challenges to face and I respect that. It’s hard to witness from one province over – or maybe I lack any involvement simply because I am an entire province away.

But the truth is: life happens and you make of it what you can. Mental Illness can rob you of a person you once knew. It can take them and transform them, and you have to go through a process of mourning someone who is still alive. Do I have my own personal demons that I’m fighting? Absolutely. But these faces: they keep me on course. For them, I’ll choose every day to keep an open line of communication with my kids. To be open and warm and loving. And I’ll take care of myself so that I can be there when I’m needed.

And I’ll be their super mom for as long as humanly possible.

Do you want to build an empire?

Be great and worthy of respect from all over the land?

Have people recognize your face in the grocery store… “Hey! I follow you on Instagram!”

What about having a six figure income? Making so much money that you don’t have to worry about putting your monthly bills on “auto payment”…

What if you travel for work and have to FaceTime you family every night? Or maybe you’re working two jobs. Maybe you don’t even get to say good night some times…

They say that it doesn’t come easy. Good things DON’T come to those who wait; they come to those who work their asses off. So just how far are you willing to go for that lifestyle?

I used to think that having the ultimate hustle meant that I had reached a certain level of success. Working a Monday to Friday job, momming, running a cupcake business, running a coaching business, keeping active, being present on Social Media “building my brand”, a writer… and so on. Staying busy is wonderful. But I was spread so thin.

Jack of all trades, master of none, they say.

I was tired and moody and snippy. My kids and husband got the worst of me. So who was I “hustling” for? Was I rolling in the dough? Was I making dreams come alive? Was I happy?

No.

I was quickly realizing that I was ok with “ok” – not being sensational; I was ok with being mediocre. I was working so hard, wasting away the best years of my life. I’m only 31, I have kids that still need me, and I’m spending all this time working – but for what?

It’s not always about the hustle, my friends. We are making ends meet and that should be enough. Time has no dollar value, and once it’s gone, it’s gone. The kids will grow older, and less dependent on us. There will be so much more time for the hustle and grind later on. But for now, I should choose living. A little less on my plate. A little less money in my savings account. A little more time with my fam. Because I know that when I’m 72 with money in the bank, I’ll wish I had spent a little more time with my loved ones.

Celebrating women

International Women’s Day… what does that mean to me?

It seem silly to celebrate women. It almost gives us this sense of entitlement; a little selfish, even.

“Why should women get a day??”

I get it. It sounds ridiculous…

I’ve seen the memes and celebratory posts circulating on Social Media, and some make me laugh, some give me a sense of empowerment, some ring true, and some make me see how much further we have to go.

Let’s talk about a little history:

In 1884 married women were granted the same rights as men to be able to legally own property.

In 1909 it becomes a criminal offence to kidnap a woman. Yes, you’re reading that. Prior to this year it was legal to abduct a woman over the age of 16.

By 1918 all Caucasian women can vote federally – but it takes until the fifties for provincial voting… and even longer for aboriginal women.

In 1983 they deem sexual assault, including rape, within a relationship a crime.

Women have had to ask for permission, have been beaten by their husbands, and have fought for rights to their own bodies. We didn’t have a say in the babies we carried, nor did we get maternity leave. The list goes on and on.

So when you look at the history, there are so many forward strides to get us here. And for that I am honoured and proud to be a woman.

So yes. Let’s celebrate what we have accomplished. It doesn’t mean we are entitled to a day off – but we should honour and recognize those who gave so much of themselves so we can have what have today.

But can we do better? Can we command more from our fellow females?

Along with the “strong women” posts, I see the diet culture ones. You know the ones…

“Who wants to lose weight from drinking coffee!”

“Ugh, I need to lose ten pounds. I’m SO fat.”

Comments about missing the gym, the guilt, the shame from eating pizza, the “ew cellulite!” jabs.

We’ve come so far, yet we are so hard on our own selves. We have so much to celebrate, yet we choose to self destruct.

I think our next move needs to involve self acceptance. Less hating on our bodies, less buying into diet culture and spending our money carelessly on solutions to problems that needn’t solving.

We are beautiful creatures with stories of triumph. Bare your scars and battle wounds with pride. Your lumps and bumps and sagging skin are signs of life; it means you lived rather than existed.

Here’s to strong women: may we know them, may we raise them, may we be them.

Life gets busy

You ever get stuck in these ruts where everything in life is just… busy?

I hate complaining. I have such a great life, and I’m thankful for that. But…

Last night was my breaking point.

Work is nuts. I have been so insanely busy and I don’t mind it. But when you go from one busy setting to another, with no break in between – it wears on you.

As of this week I am dropping my kids off at their dad’s place in the mornings, so he can get them to school. I don’t have care arrangements for after school, so either my husband or I have to be present to collect them. Monday I went to work early and left early so I could make it on time to the school half hour from my work, and then another half hour home. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday is my husbands turn to go into work for 6am and leave early to pick up my kids from school. I, in turn, have to take the baby to daycare now.

Last night after I got home from work, my husband turned around and went back to his shop to get caught up – until 11pm. Then Finn woke up at 3:30am. My eldest daughter shares a room with the baby and is sick. So I couldn’t let her do the “cry it out” thing… Finn came into our bed and was up for an hour and a half. Our alarms went off at 5am.

So here we sit, blurry eyed and worn out, with coffee in hand. I am wondering how long this will keep up until things just come crashing down.

For one, as a mom I am proud of myself. Proud that I have made this work. Proud that I get up everyday, despite the going-ons of the day/night before and continue to push onward. As a parent it’s my duty. My duty to just make shit happen.

Two, I am ever so thankful for a husband that works so hard to provide for us and literally gives everything of himself to others with no ask for anything in return. I am gracious for his good heart. It’s inspiring, really… his drive is what pushes me on days when I feel like I have nothing more to give.

I guess it’s just the way things go sometimes. Not all days are easy. I’ve put writing on the back burner for a bit while life slowly untangles. Being a mom is my first order of business, and then my career so we can have a roof over our heads.

But I’ll be back.

Making money off your insecurities

Do you know how many billions of dollars are made every year off making you feel like you need to be better?

Try this cream to erase marks!

Wear this bra to make your chest look bigger!

Take this pill to make you skinny!

Drink this shake to boost your metabolism and increase fat loss!

Drink this tea!

Buy my program!

Sound familiar?

Listen to me… these companies don’t want to see you happy. They want to sell you something and make a buck. You are simply a channel to get money into their pockets.

So let’s say you buy a program and pop a pill and you shed a few pounds. Then what? Did you land that job? Get the promotion? Did it fix your relationship, or mend your broken heart?

Did it actually solve all your problems?

I bet the answer is no.

I had to take a step back from coaching. I went into it full tilt legit wanting to change people’s lives. I thought by helping them lose weight, that they would be happy. But were they truly happy? Hard nope. Some of them lost some weight, some lost a significant amount of weight – but none of them lasted long term. And life still kept throwing them curveballs, so they stopped working out and felt extreme shame and guilt.

So I changed my approach… what if we could teach people to simply live. Just be. No diets, no excessive cardio, no macros. Just living. Learning to be happy with themselves and their imperfections. Eating foods that make you feel good… maybe that’s egg whites and veggies all week, and pizza on a Friday? It’s balance and forgiving yourself. It’s also getting active because it makes you feel good; not because you have to.

I also wanted to expose the dishonesty of social media when it comes to trying to sell you something. Social Media is a snapshot of one single second in a person’s life. It shows a twisted, contorted, booty-popping, belly-sucking pose to make that person look better. Why are we trying to look like that all the time when that person can barely look like that for a single second? It doesn’t make sense. Our daughters are going to look to these people and aspire to be something that simply doesn’t exist. Photoshop, filters, poses, surgery… it’s not real life. It only adds to the shame and guilt we feel.

As a mother I am trying to portray something that is attainable: a real and healthy body, with extra skin and cellulite. I am a woman with a past. A woman with daily challenges and less-than-perfect moments. A woman who tries her best to encourage others to do the same.

I don’t have a product to sell you, or a quick fix program for you to buy. I want to teach people how to be a little more forgiving of themselves and make time for them – because they are their own priority. You cannot pour from an empty cup. Doesn’t that mean exercise and diet? Nope. It’s self care and taking mental breaks.

I only hope that more people will get on board with sharing more real moment instead of false expectations. It’s a better message to share for the next generation. We live in a world of filters, so take off the mask and just be you.

You are enough.