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When a Good Upbringing Backfires

Posted by: Emily Beers

Growing up, I thought all parents still cuddled on the couch. 

I thought that after 20 plus years of marriage, all parents still held hands when they went for walks.

I thought all moms cooked a home cooked meal for their kids every night. That all moms helped their kids with their homework before bed. That all dads rebounded basketballs for their daughters three or four nights a week. I assumed all parents watched every single sporting event their kids participated in.

Growing up, I had no idea alcoholism was a problem for people. I never knew violence was something kids witnessed at home. I never knew that other kids in my class went home after school to an empty house, left to make their own pizza pops and hot dog dinners, which they ate in front of the TV.

Growing up, I never knew how lucky I was.

I was raised by parents who not only loved each other, but who made it their priority in life to be as devoted to their two kids as possible. It’s not like we had a ton of money, and I don’t believe my sister and I were overly spoiled, but were were loved, taken care of, and made to feel beautiful and successful.

Even at the age of 30, my parents rarely miss a CrossFit competition. Now THAT is love and devotion! Watching someone else do front squats and burpees and pull-ups and overhead squats is just not that entertaining.

You’d think because of my upbringing I would be eager to create a family of my own ASAP. But I’m not.

While I’m certainly thankful for, and wouldn’t trade my upbringing for anything, I can’t help but wonder: Had my parents been shitty parents, my mindset today might be: “I’m ready to be a mom. How hard can it be? Just try not to mess my kids up too badly.”

But instead, I’m hesitant. Hesitant to believe I’m willing—or even capable—of doing what my parents did for me and my sister.

To me, being a good mom means putting your career on a shelf in order to be there for your kids every minute they need you. It means coaching your kids' sports teams and being the president of the Board at your kids' gymnastics club. It essentially means putting your life on hold for 20 years for the sake of two people you love more than yourself.

That’s just the parenting part. There’s also the marriage part. Seeing what I saw growing up, a marriage should be picturesque relationship of love and teamwork, generally free of power trips, mind games, arguing and violence.

I feel incredibly selfish admitting this, but I don’t want to put my career on hold. I don’t want to sit in three-hour long, lame-ass board meetings at the local gymnastics club. I don’t want to lose things in my life that are important for 20 years. And I certainly don’t know if I’m capable of a seamless relationship with my partner.

I want to want kids one day. Although I don’t yet feel my womb aching for them, I know I want them. And I know I can be a good mom one day; I just don’t know if I will be good enough.


Posted by Emily Beers on

Emily Beers, hailing from Vancouver, crosses bridges by being not only a CrossFit athlete, but also a journalist. She has been a regular contributor to the CrossFit Journal since 2011. She qualified and competed at her first CrossFit Games as an individual athlete in 2014.

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November 24, 2014

Aw Emily! You would make a wonderful Mom! This article is so insightful, we really don’t realize how lucky we are until we see the other side of the coin, if we ever do.

My Mom was always there for me, but I never got to see a great marriage at home. I too am hesitant to start a marriage or to bring kids into this world. I don’t think I could juggle it all or be good at all of it AND good at my career AND still spend time on things that are important to me now.

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