The cul-de-sac in my suburban Detroit neighborhood was home base for after-dinner games on steamy summer nights. Kick the can. Red Light, Green Light. Red Rover, Red Rover. And the dreaded Mother May I?
For the uninitiated, the sole purpose of Mother May I? is for players to yield power for their every move to the approval of another. Each player makes a request—“Mother, may I walk like a crab?” or “Mother, may I complete 100 burpees?” (I grew up on the tough side of town)—and “mother” denies, accepts or alters the request.
The creator of “Mother May I?” probably thought the game would instill manners, a sense of order and an appreciation for consequences throughout the pediatric pride. Not for me. I found continually seeking permission to take a baby step back or umbrella step forward ridiculous. It was probably a good thing “mother’s” back was always turned as we played; she might not have appreciated my silent protests.
Memories of those long-ago summer games recently returned when I described someone in the EAD Community as an athlete, much to her surprise. Quite simply, she never gave herself permission to compare the giant leaps she logged during Fitness Boot Camp and CrossFit Women with those of an athlete. But an athlete she is.
When is the last time you granted yourself permission to celebrate a training or nutrition success? To take note, breathe deeply and let pride wash over you? To brag to a friend without hesitation? If you can’t list at least three times over the past week, it’s time to embrace the athlete within you. No Mother needed.