Expect[ing] to Thrive: An invitation to action, not comparison…

I wrote this post on my bike this morning. No, I am not super-woman. I did not have my laptop propped on the handle bars, typing away while simultaneously sweating away last weekend’s s’more.

But I was spinning away at the gym, focusing too much on my legs that were screaming, “can we be done now?!” And so I asked myself this question, “Why are we doing Expect[ing] to Thrive?”

This is why:

Because thriving as a mom is hard. There is nothing more draining, confusing, stretching, confounding, or sacrificial in my life than motherhood. And with God by my side, there has been nothing more influential in my daily “joy-factor” than fitness. I’ve also struggled immensely with finding the time, energy, money, and place to get my body strong again. I mean as a mom, you have no time!

Working out is hard. The vast majority of Americans would say it is, “not fun.” But you want to know what is not fun? It is not fun being too tired to kick the soccer ball around for a few minutes with your son. It is not fun having someone think your pregnant…when you are not. It is not fun being so tired from the hike that you cannot enjoy the view. It is not fun watching all the other people have all the fun. Excuses are not fun.

Right now this quote from one of my high school ski coaches is banging around inside my head:

The reward of completing painful tasks out-weights the temporary relief of not completing them.”

My Story…or a bit of it.

For those of you new to things around here, I am mom to three kiddos. Spaced a little under two years apart, I spent the good part of six years either pregnant or nursing. This is not a huge accomplishment, I’ve known many women who have done more and far more graciously at that.

All my pregnancies were c-sections. But other than that, all went off without a hitch. But a few things were different with each one. Honestly, I was a big baby during my first pregnancy. Not expecting the flu-like horror that “morning sickness” was, I spent many long days on the couch bemoaning my body. I tried to workout once/twice a week, but every little ache and pain was amplified by my uncertainty on what I could/should do with my pregnant body.

With baby #2 things were far different. For one, I was barely sick. For two, I was committed to working out as much as possible, mainly because I was learning I felt better when I did. Kickboxing, cycling, hiking, skiing. And while my belly still got huge and my back still ached, one thing I definitely noticed was my post-partum push to get back in shape was far easier and faster…

Maybe that is why I am so excited about this event. Because fitness really can make a change in how you feel, for the better.

Why is fitness and motherhood a dangerous topic?

Well, let us just call the elephant in the middle of the room out: comparison. We compare all-the-time! Don’t we? There are going to be guest posts and interviews from many women this week that would simply make me feel like a failure, if I chose to compare myself to them. Women who have never missed a singe workout or climbed harder routes during pregnancy than I do in my best climbing form! There are women who have started companies, gone on outrageous adventures, or simply “have-it-all-together”. I’ve come to be content (most days) with the fact that I am normal. I am a jack-of-all-trades…master of none. And really, it that so bad? I am still thinking on that… 

Let yourself be and let them be a coach to you.

Do not leave feeling like a failure.

We do that, don’t we? Feel like a failure most of the time? I read an awesome article on this the other day: Dear Sweet Mom Who Feels Like She is Failing, check out her blog, it is awesome. Here is an excerpt:

Somehow in the mixed up media world we’ve got these thoughts of moms being perfect. Society doesn’t give us a break. I mean read this article in the New York Times about the pressure on moms to look a certain way after they give birth. And then? Then we’re to be ultra creative, crafty, humorous, happy, chipper, up before dawn, to sleep after dark, with our sinks shined, and the laundry folded, and tomorrow’s breakfast in the crockpot, with tomorrow’s dinner – pulled from our once-a-month cooking thawing in the fridge, while we work out for 20 minutes on odd days and 40 minutes on even days, and our hair is always done, we’re makeup ready, our fridges are stocked, and the craft closet bursting with ideas for that quick perfect afternoon art project that we’ll place on our recycled wood and mod podged adorned hand painted chalkboard.


Don’t compare, instead be inspired. This is what I mean: right now Kaycee (my spinning instructor) is shouting from her bike, “Push it! Dance with your bike! It is your choice, leave it all here, and crawl out the door at the end of class!” It is because of instructors like her than I am a group fitness junkie. I need someone yelling behind me. I need someone reminding me why I am here, getting my stink on. I need a good kick in the butt.

Let these next two weeks be a kick in the butt. Let us challenge you and inspire, without causing insecurity. It isn’t about appearance. I want my body to be useful, strong, able. Not a porcelain container to place on the shelf. It isn’t about being super-mom. But being there physically, emotionally and spiritually for your family. My hope is to move people, with a strong dose of practicals, for remaining active as a mom.

So commit to that run you’ve always said you’d wanted to do. Make the time. Become stronger. Hike higher and faster. Laugh harder. Thrive. This is your invitation. Will you join me?

13 comments on “Expect[ing] to Thrive: An invitation to action, not comparison…
  1. Great post! One that makes me feel a little better this morning about not being being able to fit in my post pregnancy pants yet :). And just incase I’ve never mentioned this before. You are an awesome writer! Seriously.

  2. Alyssa,

    This is so great. Motherhood is definitely a trial in embracing your new body and in the midst of it all, to not compare. I so often do it so thank you for the wonderful reminder.

    With our new baby, it’s taken 9 months for me to finally get working out again & I’m encouraged to be committed right along side you! I read an article that gave simple tips for moms: lunges while you’re on the phone, jumping jacks while the water is boiling on the stove and squats when you have a few minutes to spare – to stay encouraged and motivated. It’s little tips like that, that some days, get me through the day.

    • I saw a video on exercises to do as a climber…and she was working out in the baby’s room. Just that simple side-note encouraged me! Thanks for jumping in with us! I will try to post the video on pinterest for everyone!

  3. This is really nice writing, Alyssa. I remember reading your Newborn Chronicles post as one of the first pieces I ever saw from your blog (no idea how I got there). And I remember feeling a bit guilty and resentful of the tone. I know now, that you were trying to encourage self-love for mothers who worry (among so many other worries) about how they look. And that should be the least of our worries, shouldn’t it? But it’s so easy to fall into that divisive trap of mom-judging. Is a good mom one who spends every waking moment trying to make sure her children are healthy and happy? Can you be a good mom and do things for yourself on occasion? Are you a selfish failure of a mother if you take time out to do hot yoga and cross fit and finish that Phd?

    I think, if we love our children and work towards happiness for all, then we are all good mothers. I think it’s dangerous and painful to compare ourselves to each other, to judge each other, or to make painful assumptions about each other. I’m glad you have this little disclaimer and call to action at the beginning of your series, it’s good to lay it all out on the table.

    I like the post you linked to as well, that is sooo sweet, and sooo true. I had a friend point me to this poem as well… very inspiring. http://www.renegademothering.com/2012/05/12/hey-time-magazine-are-you-man-enough/

    • Kate, How many times I have watched another mom do (insert action) and made a rash judgement. Honestly, if I reversed 2 years in my life and took a look at my time today, I would judge myself harshly for attempting to workout 5 days a week and not keeping my house as clean…how things change when you stop judging and start enjoying! Thanks for your comments!

  4. Alyssa- That means so much to me that I encouraged you! Thanks. Yep, our nursery is a nursery/training room. It’s perfect. The baby loves watching us do leg lifts and push ups the most!

    I’ve also learned to embrace jogging with the stroller. That and hiking while carrying baby are also great exercise and bonding time rolled into one 😉 The hardest part for me about hiking with baby is that she wants to face out and I can’t find a front carrier I like that she can face out in.

    • Yeah, the only front facing carrier I’ve know of it the Bjorn and it is limited once the baby is bigger…I used to run too, with the stroller until I had three. Not seen a three-some stroller and if so, I am not sure I could push it and run!

  5. Thank you for a great post. There is too much comparison and competition in our parenting world today. I believe that it’s doing what’s best for you and your family, getting inspiring, inspiring others and finding that balance that leads to happiness. Expect[ing] to Thrive sounds like a wonderful way to connect with others and I’m looking forward to the coming posts.

  6. Pingback: Rock climbing while pregnant and with young kids

  7. Hi Alyssa! I’ve been dying to connect with you and promise I still will (life got a bit insane this summer!) 🙂 Thanks for this post. I am 4 months into my pregnancy now, and while it was hard to keep exercising in the first few weeks, I have made a commitment to moving 4-5 times a week. In some cases that means just heading up to the gym, which seems silly when I live in Banff National Park. But it’s what was working, and from what I’ve learned, I just have to go with that! The biggest key was not to get down on myself that I didn’t/don’t have my usual energy levels. I just have to give it a shot, do my best and take inspiration from the lovely ladies around me (like you)!

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