Lianna is a longtime Sabertooth member, and mom to a super high energy 20-month old foster son. Since we have half a dozen new gym babies popping out in the next month (and some already here!), we asked her for some advice for new parents.
I recently visited my parents, who are thrilled to be grandparents and absolutely dote on J (who is now 20 months). It’s amazing to see the grandparent-grandchild relationship blossom and my parents truly enjoy every single second they have with my little guy. He loves them so much in return and asks to be held by Nonna or dance with Boppa all the time.
Watching the three of them, it sunk in that I actually am not overjoyed every second I’m with my son. I love him, and there are many, many moments of pure joy where I feel I am truly in the moment. Then there are times when I’m watching the clock for bedtime, or hoping Chris will be home early so I can have a second to sit down. Having a toddler is a lot, but I feel guilty, especially because, even though we’re well on the path toward adoption, J’s future is still a little bit up in the air. I feel I should relish every single second and, to be honest, I don’t.
I mentioned this to my mom, my feelings of guilt and sometimes wanting a break from my own child. She smiled and told me, “that is what parenting is and if anyone tells you different, they’re lying.” I was shocked, but she went on to explain that the loving every second is what grandparents are for and what parents are for is showing up. Just showing up day after day, night after night. Showing stability, warmth, love even when you’re exhausted and burnt out. That’s parenting. And then I thought, “huh, that’s also the gym.”
So here’s my advice to new parents: just show up. Show up for your kid and show up to the gym (I mean, after your doctor says it’s ok if you gave birth). Show up when you’re exhausted and you smell and you haven’t done your dishes in two weeks. Show up when you don’t think you can even do part of the workout at a scaled weight. Show up because your community is here for you. I can guarantee someone will hold your baby or wrangle your toddler while you slog through a workout. It’s not going to be your best workout but it also probably won’t be your worst. Come once a week or five times, just come.
Here’s the second part of my advice, and try and let it sink in: YOU CAN’T DO IT ALL. You seriously can’t have a clean house, happy baby, good sleep, great relationship, daily workouts, dinner on the table, laundry and dishes done and also look put together. Ignore those dumb insta-famous moms who have potty trained their triplets by three months and have their pre-baby body back and are drinking green juice and look refreshed. That isn’t real. Showing up is real. Showing up and finding the little joys is real. Making it until bedtime is real. You are real and you’re a really good parent and you have a community to lean on at Sabertooth.