Krav Maga & Motherhood
My husband wanted our kids to know self-defense. It was cheaper to join as a family so, I found myself in a Krav Maga class on a Saturday morning kicking and punching like a runt next to “kick-ass” women and men who are stellar. The first thing I noticed (besides the delay of my ass from my body) was how completely weak I am. The next thing I noticed was that after punching repetitively for over two minutes, my muscles were screaming at me. Doing the same thing over and over is exhausting!
Besides my obvious epiphany that I need to lose weight, get stronger and get my backside in sync with the rest of my body; was a nagging thought that; what happens physically so often resembles what is happening on the inside. I’ve been a mom for twenty-one-years. I have seven kids ranging from three to twenty-one years old. I’ve been busy making babies with my body and feeding those babies with my boobs. I’ve been busy putting Band Aids on invisible cuts, reading bedtime stories, giving baths and pep talks. I’ve been busy looking up how to find the circumference of a circle (who does that in real life anyway?) And I’ve been busy trying, so hard to raise good and God loving humans.
All this repetition has been tiring, really tiring, just like the constant punching for two minutes. But the thing is…now my MOM muscles are really really strong! In fact, I am what you could call “Stellar” in this area. I’m that seasoned mother who can tell you just about anything in regards to human raising.
I remember when I had two or three little ones and someone would ask me, “Do you work?” I wanted to reach across and shake them while screaming, “Yes I work, of course I work, I never sit down, I even eat standing up and it’s usually left over peanut butter and jelly!” But I fought the urge and politely, even shyly, I would reply, “no I’m just a stay-at-home-mom.” My muscles hadn’t been strengthened yet. I was still in the first-day-of-class stage, where my mom muscles were screaming at me and I was freaking wiped out. Doing the same thing over and over again is exhausting, especially human raising. Motherhood is not for wimps.
So here I am, twenty-one years later telling you about strengthening your mom muscles and just like a good coach, I’m going to tell you four things to strengthen them faster so that it’s not so exhausting.
The first thing is, be proud of your motherhood, it’s the best and most important job in the world, no matter what other people think.
The second thing is, do your best. Any job you take, whether it’s at a coffee shop, CEO of a company or as a mother, you should always do your personal best.
The third thing is, get into it. This is something that can and should be enjoyed. It’s all about your perspective and your attitude.
The fourth thing is, wake up every day thankful and knowing what to expect. Don’t be surprised and complain every time they spill the milk; it happens every day, along with sibling fights and accidents in pants and dirty faces wiped on clean shirts. Just wipe it up and chuckle or go buy a spill proof cup, it’s not worth getting upset over. You know what to expect, so expect it.
Now, when people ask me what I do, I proudly say, I am a homemaker and a mom. I don’t care what they think anymore. There is nothing to be ashamed of here, nothing to be wimpy about or unsure of. For the most part, my home is orderly and peaceful (by peaceful, I don’t mean quiet.) My children are happy and well-adjusted, and there is an anchor that pulls them home every day. That anchor is the surety of meals around the table, an interested family who loves them, and rest from the crazy, outside world of striving.
You see, a mother and a homemaker are like the calm in the middle of a turbulent ocean. Any mom who can bring calm and comfort amidst the pulling currents of our time carries enormous power in her hand. You have so much more strength than you know. Your identity as a mother should be one of a warrior, fighting for all that is right, all that is missing, all that needs healing in this world of ours.
You may think you’re small and you don’t make much of a difference, but as we’ve heard, “the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.” You are raising the future and that, my dear friends, requires a “Krav Maga” kind of attitude, that keeps kicking and punching out the days with excellence and determination.
Don’t get me wrong, I still fail and you will too. Every great champion does. I’m not talking about perfection, I’m talking about pure resolve to overcome shame, fear and doubt about your position. This is your greatest accomplishment, your Opus One. Nobody ever writes about a person’s career on a tombstone, they write about relationships and character. There is a reason most celebrities and sports stars always thank their mama first. Mamas are super important! C.S. Lewis said this… “The homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only-and that is to support the ultimate career.”
All this to say… believe, really believe that you have the most important job in the world. Stop being embarrassed over it, or dreaming of something else, conquer it, own it, relish in it, be stellar! Turn it into something that people are jealous of, that people want. Do it so well, that it becomes fashionable again. God knows, we need home and family to become fashionable again, right?
And so, someday, after many Krav Maga classes, I will have endurance and confidence and I will have added one more thing to my identity. I will see myself as a strong woman who can defend herself and I will be proud of that. But for now, I will keep punching and kicking over and over, through the pain, in spite of the pain, until it becomes second nature, until I enjoy it.
Yanah Brennan is a smiling wife and mom to seven children. She has a degree in Speech Communications and hopes to be a public speaker and author. After twenty-two years of marriage and twenty-one years of child rearing, she hopes to bring encouragement and hope to young moms during very confusing times. Yanah has started an open Facebook group called Game Changers and she is currently working on a blog, soon to be announced.