April 6, 2014
*** This is an open-letter to Sara. The mother I met in Kansas City, Missouri ***
Thank you for inviting me into your home and allowing me to follow your tasks throughout the day. I hadn’t read any of your criticisms about me prior to Nightline requesting that I meet you and Dionna Ford, the blogger behind the “We don’t need an excuse” campaign. I was initially apprehensive of this meeting because I didn’t want to rehash a controversial discussion. In fact, when they approached me about this meeting, Nightline was at the tail end of filming nearly two days of my life in Sacramento. The last thing I wanted to do was turn a positive story on how I manage work, family and fitness while growing an incredible No Excuse Mom Movement, into another body war campaign.
Of course, as we both know. That’s exactly what happened.
I know viewers will never see us greeting each other with a big hug in your grandmother’s kitchen or hear our 2 hour discussion about eating disorders, hormonal issues, cultural pressures, accountability and what health really means. I wish they captured that injured dog, Lulu, your animal shelter rescued or how your son, Zion, had a voracious appetite for yogurt, carrots, sandwiches, granola and fruit. While it depicted your 9-month old crying nonstop in the car, it didn’t show the worry and helplessness I saw when you couldn’t give her that one thing she wanted – which was you.
I saw that and I felt your pain. I’ve been there also, so many times, often with three tiny toddlers crying, screaming and needing my attention – while I’m running on empty from lack of sleep and working.
As mothers we share this joint rite of passage to be self-sacrificing, often stretching our tolerance, patience and strength in the chaotic routine we perform every day. We work tirelessly to provide, educate and caretake while feeling additional pressure to live up to seemingly unrealistic cultural standards of health and beauty. I never thought I would be targeted as part of the cultural problem, which is why I agreed to meet with you on Nightline.
I wanted to show you I was part of the solution.
I found out there was a working mother of 3 children named Kristi who was so inspired by my message, she established a Kansas City No Excuse Mom group that meets weekly for free in local parks. I told you about my personal experiences with depression, struggling financially and growing up with an unhealthy mother. I wanted to show you that I was human, because it’s so easy to target someone online anonymously, without knowing anything about their story.
Sara, I’m so sorry you are experiencing some of that criticism right now.
People are watching the Nightline segment and making immediate judgments on your life, your kids and your priorities. They are attacking your choices, questioning your values and assuming your history. They are doing all of this without knowing a single thing about you.
The irony of it all…
As someone who has stood her ground for months after people chastised a viral photo taken off of her fitness page, to her followers, who understands her delivery, my advice to you is to know your intention. Be strong in what you believe and don’t respond to every unkind comment. Leave it alone. Nothing can infiltrate your soul unless you allow it to. If a comment feels painful, it may be exposing a certain weakness. Just examine the cause, reflect on the lesson and grow from the pain.
You are responsible for your own thoughts, so protect yourself and focus on your family – because in the end, that’s truly the only thing that matters.
It was blessing to meet you and I do hope one day our paths cross again.
In Good Health,
Watch our NightlinePrime Segment by clicking HERE.
Few things to mention about the editing: when I interjected in the beginning and jokingly made a remark to Sara it was after a couple hours of filming and we were at ease in our conversation. It wasn’t meant to be condescending or confrontational. I also noticed it looked like I was holding my ears in the car. I wasn’t. I was cold. I don’t even hold my ears when I have 3 kids crying in the car!
Thank you Sara for allowing me to spend the day with you. I couldn’t have asked for a kinder group of women.
It was awesome meeting so many of my Kansas City moms, including Gracey, a single mom of two who works full time and lost 40lbs since January! You can purchase NEM tshirts HERE
I love seeing media for our local NEM mom groups. Kelly (seen here) is our group leader in Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia.
Find an NEM group near you or become a group leader by visiting us at www.noexcusemom.com
I usually guest every other week, but I made it to News10 this past Friday to talk about photoshop, extreme running and marrying old.
You can view the segment here.