When you become a parent, there are lots of things that happen that no book or even a BFF will tell you. Which is why Busy Philipps' Instagram about motherhood and shoulder pain (of all things) might ring all-too-true for some moms. The mother of two posted an Instagram picture of herself on Monday carrying about 16,000 (OK, maybe just three) bags and captioned it:
I'm getting an MRI on my right shoulder tomorrow because I've been having so much pain for the last several months. Everyone has been asking how I injured it and I don't have a good answer. BUT THEN I JUST CAUGHT MY REFLECTION WALKING UP TO MY HOUSE. I THINK I FIGURED IT OUT GUYS. I'M A MOM.
Uh, yeah. Parents of all genders can relate to this image. Not only are new parents carrying a small human in their arms at almost all times, once those adorable little children can walk and run and play with their friends, parents are often given the random task of carrying every single bag belonging to their offspring — along with a random doll and half-eaten sammie now and again — as well.
Considering all the fights parents get into on social media, maybe the efforts of shaming moms for coffee-drinking or choosing a diet for their children should be more focused on an overall movement to make children and co-parents pick up some slack on the baggage duty now and again. Because seriously, an MRI for shoulder pain should not be a thing a parent has to pencil in on their calendar because no one else can be bothered to carry their own backpack.
Before you start to take down a celeb mom for complaining about her shoulder pain, it might be time to check in with the good ol' internet about this "phenomenon." By the way, it's very, very real. Are you a mom? Does your arm hurt? Yea, that's what we thought. It's because you're carrying way too many things (and possibly another human) at all times.
A quick Google search turns up hundred of results from parenting websites and forums about the pain that Phillips is talking about. Not that it should matter, but Phillips also works out often and hard. It shouldn't have to be said, but her shoulder pain (and your possible shoulder cramp) isn't because she's not "fit."
It's real. Just like athletes working certain muscles can develop long-term injuries, parents who are carrying small children and bags are also "favoring" certain muscles and those muscles can endure certain injuries. If not taken care of, it's possible you can even tear a rotator cuff in your shoulder just from carrying your infant and their physical baggage all the time. It's not the end of the world, but if you feel pain on the way to parking lot carrying everyone's soccer bags and dance uniforms and book bags, do what a trainer would tell you at the gym: Take a break.
Hopefully your pain doesn't get to the point of torn cuffs and MRIs like Phillips, but noticing that arm pain is essential to your health. Doing stretches every day if you can — there are some basic ones you can do — can alleviate the stress on your muscles. But also asking for help from another adult or even making a toddler (gasp!) carry a lighter bag now and again can lessen the pain. Or carry all of them and try the best you can to shift weight now and again as you try to look for your car. Really, this issue of mom being the bag-carrier is ingrained into our culture and hard to give up. But remember yourself and your precious body, no matter how much you can lift at the gym.
It doesn't have to turn into a serious injury. But even a minor cramp from carrying groceries, a swim lesson bag, and a crying toddler can hurt your body no matter how hard you work out. You don't have to do it all. But if you do, like wise-mom Busy, get it checked out.