• Shaun T inspires me to dig deeper, to count to ten on a leg lift instead of giving up at 5.
  • My children inspire me, sometimes to fits of absolute incredulity and more often to experience moments of clarity and joy.
  • A certain ingredient will inspire a recipe, or send me scurrying to a cookbook to find the best option for dinner that night.
  • A friend’s email or phone call or picture posted on social media can inspire laughter, or tears.
  • A rude driver can inspire me to sink to his/her level, fuming mad and shaking sometimes.


There’s an image floating around Facebook of a woman surrounded by her three kids. All are wearing Superman colors. She is clad in workout clothes (and full makeup), showing off her washboard abs; the kids are cute and smiling and wearing clean clothes (all are under the age of 4. If you have kids, you understand my point.) The caption is “WHAT IS YOUR EXCUSE?”

Her point, if you read the explanation behind it (she’s had such a vitriolic response, plus all the “Go get ‘em” comments, that she had to write an explanation), is that she manages to stay healthy and fit even with three kids – and that having kids is not an excuse to stop taking care of yourself.

Two people have sent this to me outside of Facebook, and countless others have sent me the link within Facebook. I’ve gotten into at least three different discussions about it, although you’d think I’d have learned to leave well enough alone.

I applaud her work. I think it’s great that she’s figured out how to have a body strong enough to parent well AND work out, that she’s managed to organize her time and her priorities to fit it all in. Heck, I know people with no kids who can’t do that.

I do not, however, find this inspiring.

What would be inspiring? What would motivate me to seek her out to ask her advice or want to work out or realize that my reaction to my life is well within my control?

Different words. Some kind of positive statement. Something more along the lines of “You can too!” or “Love them enough to love yourself” or something. “30 minutes a day.” Something other than a guilt trip.

Words and images can be very inspiring. This one makes me think long and hard about the combination of the two. 

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