About the Author, Joyce Shulman
Joyce Shulman, founder and CEO of 99 Walks and Macaroni Kid reaches millions of moms each month with hyper-local and national e-newsletters and websites, social media content, video and her Weekly Walk podcast.
Having created a one-of-a-kind digital platform, she connects families to the wonders of their own communities and inspires women to chase their dreams and crush their goals.
Her most recent endeavor, 99 Walks, is on a mission to combat loneliness and improve fitness through the simple act of encouraging moms to walk together. Her mission? Nothing short of getting a million women walking.
Joyce Shulman's Guest Post
Women have always been the caregivers and, while we can debate whether or not this is how it should be, at least in our society, it is the way it. We take care of our children, our partners and our parents. We care for our friends, our homes, and our pets. We are, invariably, the front line.
And it’s exhausting.
Yet we live in a society that discourages women from taking care of themselves and applauds them for making a total sacrifice of self. Simultaneously, we are bombarded with messages about how perfect everything should look and feel.
It’s wrong on so many levels.
First, you can’t be everything for everyone unless you have first taken care of yourself. It’s been said over and over in so very many ways. But how often do you listen? How often do you say no to one of your children’s requests so that you can take a bubble bath? How often do you ask a friend/husband/mother/sister to watch your kids for an hour so you can take a walk? Ridiculous right?
How often do you say no to a favor for a friend? Sure, you’ll ask for help if you need to take your mother to the doctor, but asking someone to watch your kids so you can read a book? Never? As I thought. So, you will ask people for help so that you to take care of other people, but not to take care of yourself, right? And yet you know, intellectually at least, that unless your cup is full, you will have less to give. You know that when you are depleted, you are not your best self for the people you love most.
Second, you deserve it. I know, I know. You have so much to do. But there is only one of you. And I know many of you. I know how incredible you are. And I know that you deserve the very best, most beautiful, incredible life that you can create.
You deserve to wake up in the morning feeling good. You deserve to look in the mirror and like what you see. You deserve limber muscles, pretty toes, good friends, and eight hours of sleep a night. You are a fully-formed, human being who is, herself, entitled to a joyful life.
Finally, we teach our children the wrong message with too much self-sacrifice and we perpetuate a culture that constantly reminds women they need to put themselves last. Do you want the next generation to grow up believing that the complete surrender of self is the obligation of parenthood? Probably not. Probably, what you wish for them is a life filled with love and joy and, dare I say it, balance.
The ability to have a family, but also to have interests, and friends and faith and love. If that’s what you want for your children, that is what you should model. See the paradox? If you want your children to have the best life they possibly can, then you must show them that it is possible to be a great parent and still take great care of yourself. You must teach them that it is okay for mom to sometimes put herself first. So, if you won’t do it for yourself, do it for the kids.
Joyce Shulman is the co-founder of Macaroni Kid, Pack Leader at 99 Walks and author of Walk Your Way to Better. A serial entrepreneur, speaker and self-confessed idea junkie, you can find her on Instagram at Joyce.r.shulman.
Thank you Joyce Shulman
Lisa M Buske
P.O. Box 323