Last week I watched Jillian Michaels get eaten alive by moms everywhere on her Facebook page thanks to a challenge for "all of you with kids." Basically, she wanted moms to put themselves first for 24 hours.
Her first entry that she announced on Twitter was as follows:
"Here's a new challenge for you. For 24 hours put yourself totally and 100% first. Take time for yourself. Make doctors appointments. Hit the gym. Take a bubble bath. Do things you love. Buy yourself a small present. I want reports back!"
Which was followed shortly thereafter with this:
"This challenge is SPECIFICALLY meant for those of you with kids. Get a sitter. Ask an extended family member to help out or watch the kids. I don't care what you need to do... MAKE THE TIME! That is the point. That's why it's a challenge. NO EXCUSES!"
Not surprisingly, the commenters came out in droves with support of this challenge, not necessarily interpreting it as taking 24 hours to completely pamper themselves, but rather, to remember that we're important people too, that exercise and putting ourselves first can mean a 20 minute workout and actually eating what would be considered a meal and not a collection of our kids' plate scraps.
"I'm a SAHM of a very active 2 year old and I am proud to say that I am still able to find time to exercise! I workout in the morning before he wakes up, then again during his two hour nap, and go to the gym 3 times a week after husband gets home from work. Its amazing what you can accomplish when you want something bad enough!"
At least, that was how I took it, being a Jillian Michaels fan, as well as someone who thinks that there's nothing wrong with getting our needs met, within reason, before our kids.
(This coming from someone who waits until the verrrrrrrrrrry last minute to use the bathroom. But hey, I'm trying).
Sure, we can't necessarily let our kids roll in poop all day long and we might have to sacrifice our television time to get them down for a nap, but who says we're relegated to showerless days and yoga pants? Who says we don't deserve to live like humans?
But then throngs of moms had the opposite reaction, chiding Jillian who has no kids of her own, for making such a ridiculous suggestion. Some of them had legitimate reasons - children with special needs, unemployment, the works. And many interpreted her first post as a literal 24 hours of "me time."
However, the undertone in the negative comments, other than that many moms were making excuses (take that for what it's worth) was that Jillian Michaels was disconnected to the reality of moms.
"This challenge is not about getting a sitter for a workout or working out with your kids, as so many holier-than-thou types above say. It's about 24-hour straight me-time (or about $300 in sitter fees). I think your challenge has offended a lot of moms and the comments are even worse."
I'll be the first to admit that I have to chuckle when I hear someone without a kid giving advice to a parent, because in my six or so years of being a parent, I've learned that much of it is something that you just don't really truly know until you've had kids.
You can have all the empathy in the world, but it's just not the same as being in the trenches.
Sorry, I know you have nieces and nephews, or you babysat all the way through high school. It just ain't the same.
But that also doesn't mean that I don't think there are valuable takeaways from what can be interpreted as assvice-y comments. If you can get over your pride, and chuckle at some of the ridiculous suggestions, sometimes the messages are important.
Take, for example, when the then childfree New Girl told me that if I was crying and she was crying (in reference to sleep training woes), maybe I should try something else.
And maybe, if we can get around the whole 24-hour thing, which is definitely out of the question for many moms, we can see the valuable sentiment that's being expressed.
Even if we can't be first, we should never, ever be last.