‘Stay In Your Own Lane’ — A Letter from the Mom Who Doesn’t Want Your Unsolicited Comments

We were talking about swim lessons for our kids, of all things. And she said something so profound, and so applicable to all aspects of my life, that I filed it away for all future moments when I started to doubt the person I was created to be.

Stay in your own lane

Don’t look to the person sitting next to you to tell you how to live your own life. Try to avoid the trap of comparison, since you will only be able to view yourself as a failure. And realize, though this may be the most challenging of all that you were made to swim in your own lane.

This phrase has marked my journey to regain the physical person that I was before I had children. And never has it been more important to hold tight to this mantra than when I realized I was my own worst enemy.

It started out innocently enough. Friends and co-workers would give me unsolicited compliments, not about the way I looked, but about the person that I presented to the world. They would tell me that the woman they saw was peaceful, happy, and kind. These on-lookers could tell that I loved my family and was motivated to give of myself to those who needed me. They saw talent, benevolence, and sincere contributions to our world.

I saw all these things too, when I really thought about it. But in my head, my alter ego would remind me that, while it might all be true, I still looked the way I did. I was still misshapen, all together too large, and completely uncomfortable in my own skin. This Achilles heel followed me everywhere I went, and no matter how high the praise, I discounted it all due to my weight.


They say the first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem. Well, it wasn’t simple sugars, or low fiber, or even French fries and ice cream that were my problem. It wasn’t low physical activity or chemical addiction or debilitating psychological illness. In my case, my mind was my own worst enemy. I knew that, in order to move toward a woman that my daughters would be proud to call their mother, I needed to silence the deafening voice in my head, that was hell bent on convincing me that I wasn’t going to be successful, no matter what I did.


My next step was to acknowledge what my body had already accomplished, and how my own experience was uniquely mine. I needed to admit to myself that my body had, in fact, nurtured, sustained, and delivered four beautiful girls into this world. This same body had the ability to feed and care for these precious infants, and later, to chase rambunctious toddlers and teach preschoolers to ride a bike. And it will be me, as I only grow stronger with time, who will still hike the trails around our house and swim laps alongside them, as I encourage my girls forward on their own journeys.


After acknowledgement came the next step, which for me, was acceptance. I had to accept that, even though it might be difficult to swallow most days, weight loss does not come easily for me. It might be a breeze for another mother who delivered four children, but that mother isn’t me. Some days it’s really difficult to imagine, but I truly believe that every woman has her own struggle, and it might not be apparent to the person looking on. It might be exceedingly difficult to imagine what challenge some people could be facing (particularly if you’re watching their very toned posterior run on the treadmill in front of you), but I promise, the struggle is there.


And finally, the last step, and what I hope to achieve at some point in this lifetime, is admiration. It is one thing to respect your body for what it has achieved, but quite another to actually admire something that you have accomplished. That though there may be scars, or cellulite, or crow’s feet, my body is still exceptional. I dream I’ll feel this way at some point down the road, around the same time I have all my children in school for multiple consecutive hours. In this dream, I’m also a size 6 again and can dance like Beyonce, which brings me straight back to the reality that this notion will likely remain a dream.

There have been invaluable resources along the way that have helped me in my journey. Nutritional coaches, personal trainers, physical therapists, and an exceptionally encouraging nurse practitioner have guided my path, and I know they will continue to support me as I reach my goals. There are books and meal plans and exercise regimens that are instrumental in helping me on my path to health. But before any of these could be effective, I had to overcome my own greatest enemy, which turned out to be the sabotaging voice in my head.

And in all the moments I’m tempted to look to the side, just to see if I’m even keeping up with the imagined competition, I remember the wise words of my good friend. So I just keep swimming, and stay in my own lane.


This post was submitted to us by a member of the For Every Mom community. Click HERE to become a contributor. 

Christian Simmers
Christian Simmershttps://fourgirlseightnames.com/
Christian Simmers is a wife, mother, and nurse practitioner in the mountain foothills of Central Virginia. After a decade at the hospital bedside, she noticed striking similarities between teaching nursing students how to care for the sick and teaching her daughters to care for the world around them. She blogs about their adventures and her lessons in humility at www.fourgirlseightnames.com and can be found on Facebook (@ Four Girls Eight Names by Christian Simmers) and Instagram (@fourgirlseightnames).

Related Posts


Recent Stories