“Adulting” is a term my millennial friends use when they define doing all the things responsible grown people do as mundane tasks that they don’t necessarily feel like doing; things like paying bills on time or doing the laundry. They usually say it in a derogatory way, like, “I need a break from adulting.”
This week I’m in the middle age version of this, which is #MomLife. As in, “My work schedule just increased but I’m still supposed to miraculously keep up with the housework while also helping my son with his science fair project and my daughter sell Girl Scout cookies.” Add in a “snow” day (snow=sleet in Texas) and everyone’s schedule is thrown off for at least two weeks. You know #MomLife
When you’re a kid you’re mom gets to be the proverbial bad guy. It’s your mom’s job to tell you to eat your vegetables, go to bed at a reasonable hour and complete all required tasks pertaining to school and extracurricular activities by the deadline.
All over social media and the news I see people lamenting that kids today are lazy or entitled, but whose fault is that? Last time I checked the adults are in charge of their kids.
When I was pregnant my mom gave me some advice. “You can’t be too nice to your kids.” It was jarring, but she really had a point. My default as a mom is to want to help my kids, but sometimes the best way to help is to let them fail.
It sometimes takes every ounce of my being to not re-glue the letters on the poster board so that they are straight, or remind my daughter to study for her math test. Sometimes it’s important for them to see the consequences of their actions (or lack thereof) and get lower marks or detention or whatever so they learn to make better choices next time.
It’s a total pain in the ass making them vacuum or clean the bathroom or the dishes because they will either complain or take twice as long as it would take me to just do it myself, but I have to remind them (and myself) that one day they will be adults and will need these life skills.
That goes for health too. When you’re an adult, you have to be your own mom and discipline your inner child who wants to eat crap and sleep in when it time to be working out.
But be honest, how many adults in the room are slacking off with adulting when it comes to their own health? According to the National Institute of Health 70.2% of Americans are overweight or obese. 70.2%! Sweet Jesus, we need to put ourselves in a time out.
I was part of the 70.2%, as is evidenced by this birthday card my daughter drew of me a few years ago.
I’m not sure what the spiders have to do with my birthday, but she was four when she drew it, so I’ll overlook any implied symbolism. What I couldn’t overlook was her picture of me and my giant pot belly! Please note: I wasn’t pregnant during the drawing of this picture, I just looked like I was. Some women are apple shaped, others are the dreaded pear. Me? Bun-in-the-oven. But I digress.
Discipline is hard, but rewarding. It’s not meant to punish, but to push you towards your best. My eight-year-old did not want to do his science fair project. But he worked on it a little bit every day and at the end of the week it was done. He was so proud of his work when it was done.
My daughter had a goal to sell 400 cookies to earn a camping trip. She put cookies in a wagon and went selling door-to-door in our neighborhood every night. She signed up for back-to-back booths to sell cookies around town for the past two weekends. It was cold, she had to overcome her shyness to talk to strangers and was bummed to lose her weekends playing with friends. But when it was done, she was so proud of herself.
Self-discipline is hard. Deciding to lose weight is hard. I know. I did it and it was awful. It was embarrassing to sweat like a pig on the treadmill in front of other people and have to use the pink 2 lb. girly weights while I was learning proper form. It was humbling to have a personal trainer half my age call me out on all my bullshit excuses about why I felt I should be able to skip workouts, eat cupcakes and drink wine and somehow deserve to look like a cheerleader. But when I pushed all the whining and complaining aside and focused on the task of just eating clean and exercising consistently, I lost the weight and felt so much better about myself.
The dress size wasn’t the point of pride, it was the self-discipline that made me feel good. I had lost weight before doing crazy yo-yo diets but knew that it was ultimately bad for me and I never felt good. But when I started bodybuilding, put in the work, learned about nutrition and followed a lifestyle that included movement, lifting and overcoming mental blocks, I wanted to shout to the world all the amazing lessons I had learned. Self-esteem is not given, it is earned daily.
Being an adult is amazing. You get to direct the course of your own life. So don’t be too nice to your kids, and don’t be too easy on yourself either. Demand more of yourself and I’ll bet that you will be more than able to meet that challenge. Because if I can do it anyone can do it and I have faith in you. #AdultingRocks
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Lisa Traugott is a Mom’s Choice Award winning writer, published author, fitness blogger, wife and mom of two….and Original Cast Member of AMERICAN GRIT, starring John Cena, on FOX!
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if you live near me, please buy some cookies from my daughter to get them out of my house 😉