If you’re new here, I’m Sarah Smith and I’m a mom.
I have three boys all born over the course of 5 years.
From 2010 to 2017 my life was COMPLETE chaos in SO many ways.
But what’s interesting is that I have accomplished more in the past 8, 9 years than I ever did before I had my kiddos.
The reality is that having children is a blessing and I am so thankful to God that His plan included my becoming a mother to my three boys.
BUT if we are being realistic about children and the work that they require, they are VERY much obstacles to accomplishing things.
I don’t care if we are talking about your “to-do” list for the day, a project at work, cleaning the kitchen floor, or simply just getting a shower.
Kids are MAJOR hurdles that you have to get over in order to “accomplish” things.
But there’s the thing.
In our culture, we think too much about obstacles as bad things.
What I have learned in the past decade of my life is that OBSTACLES and how we respond to them, is actually what shapes us!
They carve out the path for our lives FAR more than all of the successes and wins ever will.
And so today, I want to share three major obstacles that I’ve faced in the past 10 years, and how while unpleasant at the time, even painful trying or devastating, they were tObstaclehe best things that could have happened to me!
So keep reading!
Obstacle #1 Grad school with a baby
Ok, so this is not as major and devastating as the other obstacles, but this particular obstacle sets the stage for what I’m going to be talking about.
I was pregnant and then had a baby while pursuing my MS in Soil Science.
NOT the end of the world! BUT the problem was that I came to NC State University as a qualified microbiology and genetic researcher with years of experience during sophisticated lab-based research at the National Institutes of Health and University of Arizona’s grant with the Dept. of Homeland Security.
I had peer-reviewed publications. I was a “scientist”
Except that once pregnant, I didn’t want to work in the lab anymore and expose myself to various chemicals and once I had the baby, I barely wanted to leave him. Like ever.
I almost quit! Because I couldn’t figure out how to reconcile my new life with my past career and reputation.
I took a semester off to stress about giving up on a dream vs. leaving my kiddo to do long hours of lab-based research and what happened was something beautiful really.
I created a WHOLE new project that was research based on teaching cultural competence in urban community garden settings.
I even published an 4H Manual that is being used now to train agricultural students and people working in community gardens how to teach and collaborate with under-served populations comprised of a diversity of people from different cultures and ethnic backgrounds.
I had the opportunity to work on a project with Will Allen
If it wasn’t for my pregnancy and my first born and ALL the limitations he placed on my life, I would never have had such a creative and unique Masters project and learned all the incredible skills that I did.
The restriction of not being able to be like EVERYONE else, which often made me feel inferior, ended up setting me a part and making me great!!
Obstacle # 2 Working out at home with kids.
Kids are a blessing and I feel honored to be a mama.
Having kids is not some horrible ordeal, BUT it is mega challenging.
Children can be an obstacle that we have to contend with when trying to take care of ourselves.
They force us to go back to the drawing board when it comes to accomplishing even the simplest of tasks, NEVER MIND getting in a workout.
For a few years I fought back against my life as a stay-at-home mom.
I tried to pretend that it was realistic for me to routinely get out of the house to exercise and take care of myself.
And while this might be possible for you (yay!) it was NOT for me.
My husband and I were running a fast growing family business and both time and finances were TIGHT.
I finally realized that taking care of myself in movement, exercise and quiet moments to myself needed to not always be an ESCAPE from my life, but had to be inserted into my day.
I decided it was good for my kids to learn to be independent.
I decided that I wanted to focus on growing muscles and strength and stop chasing skinny.
I decided that if prisoners could get in incredible shape in prison (I’m not even kidding, I thought this!) then I could do the same in my gross basement.
It’s a long story and I’m sharing some if in the POP Challenge, but I got innovative in my movement and training practice.
I started figuring out how to build muscle, lift weights and use bodyweight exercises with my kiddos around and built my body stronger and more capable than it had EVERY been before!
I found a new strategy for training that I would NEVER have found had not had the restrictions in my life that I did with kids!
I become more efficient, created programs and workouts that work in all sorts of time frames, situations and with different equipment.
I ended up creating an entire business around the skills that I was cultivating!
Obstacle # 3 Pelvic Organ Prolapse
So this might be the most devastating obstacle that I talk about openly.
Being diagnosed with POP three years ago was a HUGE blow to my mind and ego.
Here I had done ALL THIS WORK and innovation to create a business and cultivate a movement practice that made me feel great, confident and I was told that I had to give all that up.
I could no longer exercise, run, even stand or walk for long periods of time without feeling lots of pressure.
Every time I could feel my bladder prolapsed into the vaginal cavity I felt such shame, frustration and sadness.
I felt like a fraud, coaching women to strength train and exercise when I could no longer do it.
I felt broken.
I felt regret, something I had done had caused this injury and had I known better, I could have prevented it.
For months I wallowed in sadness until one day, I couldn't take it any longer!
I decided to take action.
Prolapse was NOT the first obstacle that I had ever faced-like you I have encountered MANY (not mentioned here) over the course of my life.
I believed that there MUST be a way to work around or through it.
And so I fought.
I tried new approaches to movement.
I found people that could help me.
And it worked!
While prolapse never fully goes away and I am FOREVER changed, mine is no longer symptomatic or detectable.
But what the obstacle of prolapse did for me:
Helped me realize that how we move matters for our health. It’s not just enough to exercise. IN FACT, exercise can cause pain and problems if we don’t learn some basics about breathing and movement mechanics.
Too much of a good thing is too much. Over-exercising can cause damage to our guts, thyroids, adrenals, and MINDS. I developed prolapse right around the time when I was becoming a little too obsessed with exercise. So I am thankful for that obstacle and limitation because as bad as POP is, I think I have avoided some far more devastating health challenges by shifting my relationship with exercise.
Because I had to REALLY get in tune with my body to pay attention to symptom increase and because I could not longer rely upon the same old movement in exercise, i became creative and efficient with my movement. Once again, my training changed and made me BETTER, stronger, wiser and more interesting.
I have become a spokesperson for pelvic health and am helping women every day all over the world, understand and rehabilitate their pelvic floors.
My question for you is what limitation or obstacle is keeping you accomplishing the goals that you have for yourself.
Have you ever tried adopting a new and different perspective about it?
Maybe it is pushing you in a direction that you would never choose otherwise and maybe while unpleasant, it can create positive change in you!
What about accepting that limitation as it is right now and figuring out how best to work with it?
Want help with this? Join the 2019 POP Challenge!! It’s a free 5 day coaching club where I’m sharing MY TRAINING TOOLS for being persistence and innovative.
We will train our minds and bodies to ADAPT to our limitations and get AMAZING lasting results!! You gotta try it!!
Click the image below to learn more sign up!!