I follow a lot of exercise accounts. I love to exercise. I love moving. Exercise isn’t about making myself a “happy mom” or a “fit mom”, it’s a way of surrendering myself because I know that I am human.
While I do thoroughly enjoy exercise, that’s not why I prioritize it. I prioritize it because I know my body has limitations. I know exercising has health benefits that I want as I grow older.
Many of us want to say we make time for things (like exercise) so our kids will see a “happy mom”. I would argue what our kids need to see most is a surrendered mom.
The thing is, happiness comes and goes. Do we give our kids less of a mom in the moments we don’t feel happy? Do the children of the single moms or moms with no family around deserve a “less than” mom because she hasn’t found her time to make herself happy?
Don’t get me wrong. It is important to take care of yourself, even as a mom, maybe especially. But we can’t look for those weekends or hours to fill us enough to be a good mom.
A surrendered mom knows life will change daily, some times hourly. A surrendered mom can still find joy in a day, even though she ends that day in tears. A surrendered mom can give her kid 10 more minutes (even when it’s the last thing she wants to do) because she knows her kids won’t keep. These are characteristics kids need to see. They need to see a mom who can be long suffering, selfless, and dependable in middle of the hard days. They’ll have hard days, probably seasons, too.
If we are to “fill our cup” in order to “mom well” we must draw from a source that never runs dry.
We can mourn and be comforted like the Psalmist in Psalm 42 who said “Why are you cast down, oh my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation”.