Elisabeth Akinwale: “Muscle Up Orphans”

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by ELISABETH AKINWALE

Elisabeth Akinwale: "Muscle Up Orphans"
I saw this quote posted on social media awhile back:

I don’t want to be the mom who is too busy to watch her kids because I am working on my muscle-ups.

My gut reaction was to be quite irked by this. My emotions read it as, “Oh, one of those moms? The selfish ones who want to train?” I know and like the person being quoted — she is an incredibly high-level athlete (who has dedicated years to training and competition herself), and I’m sure she was simply referring to the choices that work best for her family.

All the mothers I know (athletes or not) are in a constant daily battle to balance parenting, partnering, work, and other aspirations, all while continuing to develop as people.
Nevertheless, I put some thought into why it bothered me. On a base level it immediately tapped into that lurking, insidious mommy-guilt*. It also had a really “mommy wars” feel to it, a concept I despise because of its assumption there’s one right or superior way to do things. I’m sure I’m reading more into it than is there, but the image conjured in my mind was of a CrossFit version of the mythical welfare mother. A bunch of unattended children running wild while their mother does muscle ups and takes selfies of her abs.

All the mothers I know (athletes or not) are in a constant daily battle to balance parenting, partnering, work, and other aspirations, all while continuing to develop as people. Whether that development comes via hobbies, fitness, study, or whatever avenue, it should be supported and embraced as part of being a whole person who is also a mother. Parenting is like breathing to me; it doesn’t stop because of any other task or activity. “Parent” really isn’t a title — it’s a state of being.

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