How on earth does a mom of young kids find time to work out? Especially if that mom is a single mom or generally acting as a sole caregiver! The struggle is real, believe me I know. I got divorced and became a single mom when my boys were 2 and 5. In addition to being a single mom, I also needed to build my business to now support myself and those two little boys. When it came to “me” time and keeping up with my own mental and physical health, I had to get determined...and boy did I!
My determination led me to get pretty creative and I am so glad that I did. Not only did it lead to being in better shape in my 30s and 40s than I ever would have imagined, but it also led to close bonds with my kids, incredible experiences and adventures together. It has taught them the importance of taking care of themselves and created a positive relationship with movement. It wasn’t always easy, but it was often fun and as we figured it out, it became second nature and exercise became a regular daily event. There was logistics to figure out, but first I had to get my head in the right place and learn how to have boundaries.
First, I had to adopt the mindset and belief that I deserved to be healthy and happy. This was difficult as I was coming out of an unhealthy marriage in which my needs were not acknowledged, and my daily habits were focused on keeping everything calm and everyone (but myself) happy to avoid conflict. For years I had been totally focused on the needs of others and it made me incredibly anxious to consider my own needs, let alone ask for what I needed. With the help of a therapist, I learned to accept that I mattered just as much as those around me and that it was safe to have needs and to create and hold boundaries.
Next, I had to learn HOW to have boundaries. This is one of those things that sounds great on paper, but what does it feel like and what do you actually say to create and insist on boundaries? This took practice and felt very awkward at first. I had to learn to release any guilt I felt about designating time in the day where I was the priority over the kids' desires. This was an amazing learning experience for them and for myself and I believe it has resulted in closer relationships between us.
Once my perspective had shifted, I had to learn the where and how, of getting workouts in with my kids. Sometimes this looked like including them in the workout and sometimes it looked like getting a workout in at a park or other place where they could play with other kids or on their own. I came up with all kinds of strategies, all kinds of workouts so that I could find something that would work on a regular basis regardless of the weather, illnesses or varying moods of kids. We have to be flexible, know our plan A, B and C if we want to create consistency...everyone with kids knows things can change fast and most often don’t go as planned!
The beautiful thing that came out of creating this habit, family value and expectation around physical health and self-care was not only did it support me in very important ways while I healed from the trauma of my divorce and learned who I was as an individual again. It also created great memories and adventures with my kids. It still lights me up to know my kids are proud of their fit mom and I am so proud of their connection to their physical bodies and their love of movement. Because my kids saw me exercise, they wanted to get involved in running road races and obstacle course races as I did them. I got to watch them compete in these events as they watched me. We spent time jamming out to music lifting weights on the front porch. We have traveled to new destinations for “family Spartan” weekends where we all competed in our own events, and they got to see me coach clients and push my own limits. We have gone for runs together before school, we have turned playgrounds into our outdoor gyms...throughout it all we have had, and we still do have, a really good time. As my kids get older, we still have family workout time and support each other's physical pursuits. I believe exercise will always be a connecting activity for us. I am so grateful that I pushed myself out of my comfort zone, learned to prioritize myself and taught my kids the importance of exercise for their mind and their body and how it can create connection with loved ones and lead to amazing adventures.
These experiences have inspired how I show up for my clients and the passion I feel for my business. I understand the powerful connection between physical strength and emotional healing, not just because of my educational background and training, but because I have experienced the connection myself. I feel passionate about taking all that I have learned along the way of my own journey and helping other moms find their value, their voice and their strength.