As a athlete and coach who helps moms be the best they can be individually and relationally, there’s three things my mom did throughout my physical journey, as I went from a can’t-run-once-around-the-track pastry princess to a triathlete and physical trainer, that I wish every mom knew.
After completing a little less than a mile swim and a twenty-six mile bike, I had finally reached the halfway point in the last leg of my triathlon.
“Mom,” I panted, as she jogged beside me. “I want to be done.”
“Well, you’re almost done sweetheart,” she answered, “and you’re looking great.”
“I just don’t want to walk more than once.”
“No, you’re doing great.” She encouraged. “You don’t need to walk. I’m proud of you,” She called out joining my cheering siblings and watching me turn to complete the last three miles.
Fast forward thirty minutes…Crossing the finish line all I could think was, I did it. I just did it!
You see ten years ago my mom decided to take care of her physical health by training for a triathlon. Because she had heard me commenting that I would like to be a little thinner she invited me to join her. I happily agreed. It wasn’t long before we discovered that I couldn’t even run once around the track!
A few weeks into training, I vividly remember running through Colonial Williamsburg and accusing my mom of trying to kill me (it was a very hot day). Instead of telling me how wrong, she encouraged me and told me how far I had come.
Twelve weeks later I completed my first triathlon – pretty sure I walked half of the run, but I finished!
Ten years later, as a personal trainer and triathlete who helps moms be the best they can be individually and relationally, there’s three things my mom did throughout my physical journey that I wish every mom knew.
I believe everyone is inspired by affirmation. But as a daughter I know there is something special about receiving encouragement from a parent. One affirmation from my mom is the equivalent to kind words from twenty other people. So, when in doubt encourage.
If you’re in a moment where criticism seems opportune, think twice. Try to find something you’re daughter is good at and applaud it. You may still need to critique behavior or decisions, but always encourage first and if you’re upset, wait to address the situation.
*Remember, I’m a daughter who is on your side.
YOU CAN’T FIX ME
In high school I struggled with things that didn’t make sense. My mom didn’t understand how her precious daughter whom she had taught the truth and protected from negative influence was struggling with depression, a warped perception of her body, and self esteem.
As we wrestled with my pain and confusion my mom realized that part of becoming my own person and finding my own identity required struggle. It’s painful. It doesn’t make sense. And, it’s frustrating to watch. But, Moms, it’s not your fault and it’s not your responsibility to solve our problems.
If you daughter is struggling walk beside her. Don’t own her pain and please, please don’t try to fix us.
While you can’t fix us, you can show us the way by fixing yourself. In highschool I remember my mom telling me over and over again, “Sisi, you have to enjoy life.” “Sisi, you need to learn to stop stressing.” “Sisi, take care of yourself.”
I thought she was crazy and I got mad! Then one day I noticed that my mom was taking a lot of naps and smiling more and life was just going better. So I secretly and hesitantly took a nap. The next day I smiled a few extra times. Then I read a book a few pages in my favorite book. Before I knew it I was enjoying life, stressing less, and caring for myself.
But it wasn’t because my mom told me with words. It was because she told me with actions.
I’m so thankful my mom dragged me on workouts with her ten years ago. She didn’t take my accusations of murder personally, instead she told me how amazing it would be to have a fit body and how proud she was of me for doing what’s right.
It wasn’t pleasant or convenient. But only I could find the strength that was buried deep within me. Best of all, I couldn’t have done it without her. There’s no way I would have pressed through so many cramps and trachea spasms without her example and companionship.
Moms, the road is long and uphill. You might be at halfway point of the last leg of your journey or just starting out but know this: without my mother’s encouragement and example I would not be the athlete or coach I am today. You are important. And on behalf of your daughters who don’t know how to say this yet,…
“Thank you! Thank you for believing in me and wanting the very best for me!”
PC: Trenka Gross