Be a Life-Giver to a Tired Mom

Motherhood is exhausting, even on a normal day. That’s not a complaint, it’s a documented fact.*

Consider, God immerses The New Mom into the beauty and wonder of Motherhood by giving her a most fragile and fragrant bundle of wonderfulness who, as it turns out, must eat directly from the body of The New Mom every 3-ish hours, around the clock, or the bundle will die.

The wonderful bundle grows, and (hopefully) sleeps through the night, eventually. You’d think a Tired Mom would catch a break by now. But, as all Experienced Moms know, the ‘round-the-clock schedule never truly ends. The beauty and wonder of Motherhood is interlaced with diapers and discipline and driving and dating. (And it sometimes feels like it progresses through those stages as rapidly as you read that sentence).

For some, the Magic of Motherhood is also eclipsed by developmental delays or illness or behavioral issues or relationship struggles or death.

I know Tired Moms with special needs children, in-home nursing care and hospital equipment in their family room.

I know Tired Moms in the throes of baby/toddlerhood (My sister told me yesterday that her sweet boy woke up at 2:30 am. For the day. She was tired.)

I know Tired Moms in the throes of tween-hood/teen-hood, with kids who are making some stupid-bad life-altering decisions. (Just last night, I received a desperate late-night call from a friend telling me her teen ran away and to please let her know if he happens to show up at my house.)

I know Tired Moms holding down the fort alone because a husband is traveling for work. (I call them Super Heroes)

I know Tired Moms holding down the fort alone because the husband is gone for good. (I call them Super FREAKING Heroes)

I have one Dear Tired Mom Friend who is doing everything in her power to keep life normal for her precious little ones while her husband daily slips further and further away because of a rapidly progressing terminal illness. It’s a nightmare.

You probably know some Tired Moms, too.

Maybe YOU are that Tired Mom.

After two of the most exhausting years of parenting I’ve encountered thus far, I can safely say, we’re all getting better. This is partly because the situations are truly improving. And also partly because God is good at reshaping our brokenness into beauty and our weakness into strength. With a combination of confidence and reservation, I tell you, I’m seeing a light at the end of a very, long, dark and scary Mom Tunnel. **

It’s nearly impossible for me to write from the Tunnel.

I can’t see very well when I’m blinded by darkness, broken and hurting and struggling. The best blog post I can manage will say something like, “Ouch. This is hard.”

I do much better after I’ve groped my way back to a place of Clarity and Light. Then, after I’ve stood up, brushed off the dust and allowed my eyes time to adjust to the sunlight again, I can see more clearly, look back over the long path I just groped, and offer you, perhaps, a small bit of wisdom.

I hope this is that for you: a small bit of wisdom, borne from the Tired Mom Tunnel.

The Tunnel

Don’t worry, this isn’t a long list of to-dos (we’re a bit too Tired for that, are we not?) I’m sure there are many things that would have encouraged me or would encourage you that are not in this post. But when I look back over the last two years—the last year, in particular—when I honestly did not know if I or my family would be okay, there are two things people did for me that stand out.

If you want to be a Life-Giver to a Tired Mom, simply do this:

Love Her Children

One day last summer, I walked into a hair appointment for one of my kids. It had been an incredibly difficult couple of months, funneled into one of the worst days of my life. After a series of sleepless nights, my head was throbbing, my nerves were on the outside of my skin, and my stomach hurt. I wasn’t doing well.

I’ve had the same hairdresser for years. She knows me. She knows my kids. She knows a little about what we were dealing with. But never had I appeared in her doorway in such a vulnerable, exhausted state.

I walked in, looked her square in the eye, and managed a feeble, “I’ve got nothing today.”

Without saying a word, she looked at me, looked at my child—blinked a couple times—and then jumped into action. She gently led my daughter by the hand to wash, foil and trim her hair. For two hours, she talked to Rebekah about school and friendship and beauty. She made her laugh. She soaked her in attention and affirmation…in LOVE.

Watching someone take over for me at a time I truly had nothing to offer—it refreshed me and fueled me to continue on the long, weary battle. It revived me.

Tired Moms are tired because their relentless love for their children spurs them on to push far beyond their limitations, sometimes to the point of exhaustion. We’re reluctant to hand over the reins, even for a minute, because no one loves our children the way we love our children. Yet, here I sit, with tears in my eyes, remembering all the times in the last year I watched my dearest friends bombard my kids with hugs and texts and notes and encouragement.

It is overwhelming, really.

If you know a Mom who is reaching the end of her rope, try coming alongside her, jumping in and lifting some of the burden off her shoulders. Maybe she has a little one you can chase around the yard for a few hours so she can take a break. Or maybe she has a tween who would enjoy an ice cream cone and some help with math (Actually, the Mom may also enjoy the ice cream). Or perhaps she has a teen who would appreciate a little note on a scrap piece of paper saying, “You are stronger than you think you are.”***

Tell Her She’s Doing a Great Job

If a Tired Mom just confided in you the depth of her confusion, pain and exhaustion, most likely she is not asking you to fix it. Trust me, unless she specifically asked you to help her fix it, any response from you that begins with the words, “You should…!” or “Why don’t you….?” Or “Have you tried…?” is not what she’s looking for. In fact, that will probably suck the life right out of her.

By unloading on you, what she’s actually saying is, “I feel like I’m failing here. I need someone to tell me my family is going to be okay. I simply need someone to tell me that I’m doing a good job and that I don’t completely suck as a mom.

So tell her that.

“You are doing such a good job. You are such an amazing Mother, and I’m so proud of you and the way you’re handling this. And also, you don’t suck.”

Mom, you don't suck

It’s not complicated, really. To be Life-Giving to a Tired Mom love her kids and tell her she doesn’t suck. You will breathe life into her weary soul so she can carry on with the hard work of Motherhood.

Oh, and if you can manage to take her on a weekend beach getaway, that works, too. As does most forms of chocolate.

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*I have no actual documentation to support this, except for my own years of personal “field research.”

**Mom Bloggers will tell you, the older your children get, the harder it is to share details of your children’s struggle. That is why we so often resort to sharing recipes or complaining about the laundry.

***Actual note given to my daughter at the most perfect time that made me bawl like a baby.

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Fitness Friday: P90X3 Review: Block Two (Days 30-60)

For my review of Block One (Days 1-30) click here.

I’m a little late posting this. Sorry. According my handy dandy calendar, I’ve been doing P90X3 since January 6. That makes today Day 96, not day 60.

But here’s the deal: I took a few days off here and there for various reasons, causing me to skip some workouts along the way. Instead of giving you a haphazard review with mediocre results at exactly Day 90, I wanted to finish the program strong, even if it took me a little longer.

So, I’m continuing to work hard on P90X3 until the end of April (making it more like P108X3) and I fully intend to give you my final review of the entire program at that time.

So, if you are out and about, trolling The Internets, looking for a realistic review of Block Two, here is what you may want to know:

P90X3 block 2

Day 1: Eccentric Upper

First off, that’s not “eccentric” as in odd, strange or flamboyant. It’s actually pronounced “EE-sentric,” and it is the kind of contraction that causes your muscle to lengthen.

For example, in a standard bicep curl, bending the arm would be a concentric contraction. Straightening the arm would be an eccentric contraction.

Got it? Of course you do, because you’s is so smart.

This workout focuses on the upper body, going slowly (counting 1-2-3) during the eccentric contraction part of the exercise. You do a good variety here: all different kinds of push-ups, pull-ups, bicep curls and tricep extensions. There are 19 moves, plus a burnout session, with 10 reps each move. You don’t focus on speed or high reps. Instead, you concentrate on going s-l-o-w during that eccentric (not odd) contraction. It’s a great upper-body strength workout.

Can beginners do this? Sure. You can modify push-ups on your knees, pull-ups with a chair, do fewer reps or adjust weights depending on your fitness level.

Is it Challenging? Yes! I’ve done this workout 4 times so far, and there are still a few moves where I cannot do the full 10 reps.

Day 2: Triometrics

This workout is mostly legs, no weights. The idea here is that you do one move for a full minute, but you do the move three different ways within that minute, changing the intensity about every 20 seconds.

So, you may start out doing a basic squat touching fingertips to the ground at the bottom of the squat for the first 20 seconds, progressing to fists to the ground for the second 20 seconds and then palms to the ground for the final 20 seconds.

You do all kinds of crazy squats, lunges and jumps, many on one leg. This one works a lot on balance, but is a major LEG BURNER!

Can beginners do this? Yes. The modifier stays in the second position while the rest of the group moves to the third. If you needed to, you could stay at the first position. There are no rules here.

Is it Challenging? Absolutely. I’m always sore after this workout.

Day 3: Yoga

I explained my initial reaction to the yoga workout here, which wasn’t all that great. I have to say, however, this particular workout is really growing on me. The more I do it, the less I feel rushed through it. Plus, I love having a 30-minute yoga option. I’m finding myself wanting to do this when I’m feeling stiff or sore, even when it’s not on the schedule.

Day 4: Eccentric Lower

Quiz time: Does everyone remember what Eccentric means?

See? I told you you’s was smart. :)

Well, this is just like Eccentric Upper, but it involves all kinds of squats, lunges and kicks. Plus, you have weights in your hands during most of the moves.

Can beginners do this? Sure, but you would need to drop the weights and do fewer reps.

Is it Challenging? Dude: moving from Triometrics to Yoga to Eccentric Lower is crazy hard on the lower body. I’m a bit curious, actually, why the workouts are ordered this way. My legs are toasty-toast by this time each week.

Day 5: Incinerator

This is an upper body workout with weights, but it’s different from Eccentric Upper. Here you do as many reps as you can in the time allowed, followed by another move working the same muscle group. That’s two moves, back to back, intended to work your muscle to failure. (In the world of fitness, muscle failure is a good thing.) (Come to think of it, failure in life can be a good thing, too.)

Can beginners do this? Yes. Lower the weights/use no weights and do fewer reps.

Is it Challenging? It’s as challenging as you want it to be. So, yes.

Day 6: MMX

This is a Mixed Martial Arts workout. For the record, I am not a fan of Martial Arts, Kickboxing or any workout that involves punching moves. When I did P90X, always substituted something else for Kenpo, just cuz I hated it. Despite the fact that I was cheerleader for-like-EVER, and happen to pride myself on my swag dance moves (just ask my kids), I cannot coordinate my arms and legs to punch and pivot. I end up closing my eyes, turning my head and flailing my arms like a little girl in a playground fight.

That’s the bad news.

The good news is that there are some moves in MMX where you go onto the floor, kinda like Burpees (they call ‘em sprawls). Those moves kicked my butt, so that by the end, I felt like I actually had a good workout, despite the flailing.

The other good news is the second time I did this workout, I felt slightly more coordinated and didn’t hate it as much as I did the first time. (Notice, I never said I liked it.)

Can beginners do this? Gosh—ummm….I would say, it takes a lot of practice to do this workout well. All three cast members in this workout have some kind of Black Belt, so there isn’t anyone for the beginner to follow.

Is it Challenging? I think I’ve already answered that question.

Day 7: Rest or Dymamix

I reviewed Dynamix here. I don’t do this workout on my rest day. I prefer to do nothing. Even God rested on the 7th day.
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After three weeks of that craziness, you move to the Transition Week. All the workouts listed are workouts we already did in Block One.

Day 1: Isometrix–Love this workout.
Day 2: Dynamix–easy and low-impact.
Day 3: Accellerator–Hard, sweaty cardio.
Day 4: PilatesX–Finding myself substituting Yoga here.
Day 5: CVX–My favorite X3 workout.
Day 6: Yoga–Yay!
Day 7: Rest–Double Yay!

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My Overall Impression of Block Two: I loved having almost all new workouts for Block Two. I started off Block Two coming off a sickness, so my first couple of workouts were fairly pathetic because I was weak. Weeks Two and Three went much better.

My only complaint about this Block is that I would like more cardio. I feel like I have to supplement with a walk or run or the elliptical or something–which defeats the purpose of a 30 minute workout, in my opinion.

Triometrics is a little bit of cardio (a few jumps), and MMX would be a cardio workout, if only I could coordinate myself to do it properly. But most of Block Two is pure strength and balance work.

My Results After Block Two:

I had some weird weight fluctuations during this phase. Partly because of our transition to going Gluten Free. And Partly because I think I was gaining muscle (let’s go with that—muscle. And also, big bones). My biggest results were not in pounds, inches or fat percentage lost, but in strength gained. From the week I started Block Two to the week I ended Block Two, I increased steadily in weight and reps in all moves and every workout! I felt super-strong at the end of Block Two.

Total weight lost since Day 1: 2 lbs.
Total Body Fat lost: .6%
Total Inches lost: 7.5 (about 1-2 inches everywhere)

Be sure to check back for my final review with results in a few weeks!

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If you’d like to buy P90X3, I am a Beachbody Coach and can help you out with that. Click HERE for more info. (this is an affiliate link–if you buy P90X3 through this link, I will receive a small commission. And I would be so happy.)

Q4U: Do you have a Q4Me?

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Linking up with Jill Conyers and her Fitness Friday Blog Hop

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