I run with losers
While scrolling through social media, the pervasive headlines that we are failing, flooded my news feed. Video clips of negligent parenting, articles outlining the “10 Best Tips to Lose Weight,” and posts about, “How To Do Even More For Your Children,” were the subliminal messages that began to make me question if we will get it right. Will we ever win? I once thought I could, but years of motherhood continue to prove it's impossible.
When I became a mother, I wished someone told me winning was the wrong goal. In retrospect, I wouldn’t have believed them anyway. But, I’m okay with not winning and giving up on the idea, which, I guess, makes me a loser. My thoughts might resonate with some, while dismissed by others, and I’m okay with that, too, because sharing is my goal—not approval.
My journey continues to teach me the values of compassion, enlightenment, and resiliency. And by the journey, I mean life, growth, relationships, and this race I call the Motherhood Marathon. My Motherhood Marathon may be different than yours, but when our paths cross, which I hope they do, we may discover how similar our challenges may be.
There are more reasons than I will mention, but I will attempt to share my thoughts on why I’m okay with being a loser and having loser sisters who always find a way to give up.
We will not win
We will not win the Motherhood Marathon. The sooner we accept this, the sooner we can grow forward. Winning is for the confident, experienced, and relentless. We are not these things.
Winners have the ability to consistently make the right choices, maintain unwavering practice schedules, eliminate distractions, and possess an innate motivation to do what it takes to stay in the lead.
Sacrifice and hard work are rewarded. Wins are acknowledged, praised, and the required entry fee into the winner’s circle. And for many, it is this validation that fuels their desire to be the best. To stay on top requires one goal: to win—every time.
But, is this winning? Unfortunately, yes, it is—at least, until, we are able to define what winning means in our own lives. Until then, the metrics of winning will be determined by society and whom it deems worthy of being called a winner.
Lack of confidence
Winners possess undeniable confidence. Hope is a foreign strategy never used by winners. They do not waste time hoping that they are good enough, strong enough, and mentally prepared. Nor, do they hope that they are worthy enough. They know they are these things, and—I ’m speculating—would find the strategy of hope, laughable.
On the contrary, hope is a vitamin I take every morning upon waking, and one of the many strategies I rely upon. Confidence is a rare side effect of hope, which leaves me questioning my mothering skills at times. I hope I am a good enough mother for my children. I hope I am strong enough to ask for help when I need it most. I hope I am mentally prepared to help my children grow into who they are meant to be, not whom I think they should be. Lastly, I hope I am worthy of the generous love my children give me.
Unlike the confidence that comes naturally to a winner, I am vulnerable and sometimes break, making the next mile marker of the Motherhood Marathon feel unachievable. Luckily, my loser sisters find me on the path and encourage me to continue on.
This is why we will not win. We are vulnerable, and instead of focusing on the finish line, we are looking out for our broken sisters along the way. What we lack in confidence is far less than what we practice in compassion. It is this compassion for others that connect and bring many more of us further along than the confidence in one’s own self.
Not enough experience
Winners know what to expect during a race and how that experience will translate into a win. They follow an unwavering training routine based on past experiences, enabling them to run the same race, but even faster than before. They know at which part of the path they may “hit the wall” and want to give up, but experience allows them to prepare for it, kick it down, and keep going.
However, my experience has taught me to expect the unexpected. I try to do better each day, but my training routine can be inconsistent or abbreviated, depending on what unexpected roadblocks are in my path. The Motherhood Marathon is known for changing its course at any given moment. Becoming complacent with the same routine based on past experiences will not serve me well, and I must be willing to learn as I explore new paths.
Many times I get lost and want to turn back. I become frightened of the dark tunnel on the path ahead because it is unfamiliar, and I don’t know what might jump out and surprise me. I begin to think I am not skilled enough to make it through, but, then, the voices of my loser sisters, echo through the tunnel, encouraging me that I will make it to the other side.
This is another reason we will never win—the path is, too, unpredictable. We will never have enough experiences to master Motherhood Marathon. But when we share our encouragement and experiences, then we will always have enough to continue on.
Sometimes we just stop
Winners do not take days off. Training is as essential to them as breathing, and to take a break from either would risk losing or death—both being equally unacceptable. They are relentless in their quest to win and conquer, despite any injuries sustained during the race. They will finish at all costs.
I don't share the same relentlessness as winners. The distance to the finish line never crosses my mind because it is, too, far to comprehend, and most days I’m just trying to make it to the next mile marker. The Motherhood Marathon is scattered with obstacles, and the ones that I underestimate or do not notice are the ones that deliver the most unexpected pain.
Many sisters are injured from the arduous course of Motherhood Marathon, most injuries being casualties of the heart. It's easy to spot the hurt sister. She is the one walking away from the mile marker instead of towards it. We see the tears of despair welling up in her eyes and the smile trying to mask her pain. She urges us to continue on, not wanting to burden us with her emotional setback.
Instead, we stay, taking a long pause from the race because we will not leave a sister behind—it goes against our code. We, too, have fallen victim to the grueling obstacles of Motherhood Marathon. We patch her wound with love, validation, and strength and help her to her feet to continue on with us to the next mile marker.
We constantly stop during the race, often enough, that we question if we will ever near the finish line. Our emotional reserves determine the strength and the amount of our endurance to go forward. Sometimes, we run out and are forced to stop. And sometimes, we have enough and will share with those that are running low.
We are not relentless like the winners, but my loser sisters and I are resilient. We break, then rebuild stronger. We retreat but come back smarter. We lose but learn to love harder. And because of our inconsistencies to stay on course, my sisters and I will continue to lose.
What my sisters look like
I have a diverse group of loser sisters. They have a unique charm that makes each one of them unmistakable. But, there are certain traits that they share that make them undeniably sisters. Their lips are framed in multiple colors and degrees of shininess, but they all possess a universal smile every sister recognizes. It is the quiet smile of compassion that tells us it is okay to question if we are enough. Their bright, watchful eyes are a myriad of colors, able to behold the fire of our radiance that we cannot even see in ourselves. Their voices range in tone, but the sound of their validation and encouragement is our anthem we sing to each other and ourselves.
Why My Sisters Are Losers
My sisters lost the energy to be confident about everything and gave up trying to have it all under control, which has liberated me from trying to be all things to all people making me a better mother.
They lost their desire to mask their vulnerability and gave up trying to dismiss their own feelings to make others feel comfortable, giving me permission to stop denying my own emotions that embodies who I am.
They lost the belief that experience determines ability and gave up waiting for the day they would be experts, teaching me that real friends will be at the end of the dark tunnel whether I fail or succeed.
For all that my sisters continue to teach me through losing and giving up, I have gained the insight to a deeper perspective of life and the desire to share these lessons with my sisters on the path and those approaching the Motherhood Marathon starting line.
We are compassionate, encouraging, and resilient, and these shared traits are what keeps us in the race, albeit, far from the finish line. But maybe what we will learn on our journey is that we don't want to meet the finish line and have the race come to an end.
Maybe our getting lost along the path, is the only way of discovering how strong we are and realizing that we are never alone.
Perhaps, the Motherhood Marathon wants to teach us that our motherhood is as important as our children's childhood, and the quality of our friends will reflect the quality of both.
Maybe a “Winner’s Circle” does not exist in the Motherhood Marathon because maybe it is actually a line of women called “Sisterhood.”
Imagine if the real focus of our journey is to reach out to our sisters and not the finish line.
What if the secret of Motherhood Marathon is that the real winners are those who are not afraid to lose...
BAM of TMN