I’ve accomplished lots of awesome things in my life, but the one thing that I just simply cannot master is the art of doing a single pushup. I seriously can’t do it, no matter how much I train or how hard I try. In college, I was big into rock climbing and thought for sure I’d be strong enough to do a pushup. Nope. Then, I had kids and lived the life of constantly hauling small people around in my arms. I can easily carry upwards of two 30-pound children at a time…as well as multiple water bottles, coats, two bags of groceries, and snack cups. All moms know what I’m talking about. Parenting is not for weaklings. And yet, still no luck on the pushup front.
It used to bother me, but I’ve learned to just accept it as my lot in life; when you think about it, it’s actually pretty funny. I’ve made it a point to never let my daughters know that it every bothered me. I want my daughters to be strong, of course I do. But, I couldn’t care less if they inherit my arms and can’t do pushups either. I, of course, hope that they will inherit a different kind of strength. The strength that I’ve gained from learning that it’s an uphill battle beating myself up over my inability to do a pushup. The more I accept myself as me, the stronger I am. That’s what I want for my daughters.
My first daughter was born obsessed with princesses. Against all my best efforts—buying her much cooler toys like Business Executive BARBIE and Periodic Table Building Blocks—my daughter stood firm: she loved all things princess. Damsel-in-distress, pink, wearing shoes that kept slipping off her feet…she was the real deal.
And then it happened. She said to me one morning in passing, as though it wasn’t the biggest announcement in her little life, “Mommy, my favorite princesses are Mulan and Pocahontas because they’re so strong.”
I wiped a proud tear from my eye and hugged my daughter, knowing that she would be okay in life.
It’s not news in this day and age of feminism and powerful women everywhere that “strong” doesn’t only apply to physical capabilities.
Strong means happy. Let me say that again, with emphasis and standing apart from any other words so you know how serious I am about it.
Strong. Means. Happy.
When you’re happy, you’ve got a strength attached to you that is really hard to shake. You can stand up firmly for your ideas and convictions because you feel confident in them. And, how do you feel happiness? This is a serious topic that volumes of books written by exponentially more brain-studying people than me have explored, but one idea (that I’m a big believer in) is that you feel happiness when you feel true to yourself.
I like to call it Owning Your Own Strong. When you follow your true life path instead of listening to the noise of others, you have a chance to find real happiness. When you accept that you’ll be better off in life laughing at the fact that you can’t do a single push up instead of fretting over it.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a Pocahontas costume to try to find on Amazon. You’d be surprised how hard they are to track down…I guess there are lots of little girls out there excited to be strong princesses.