I always say moms are the hardest working people I know – they take care of everyone. It often seems like the world would stop spinning if we moms quit doing our jobs. But here’s the thing I frequently see: Moms take care of everyone (kids, spouses, other family members, co-workers, friends), but they don’t take care of themselves. We don’t work out or get our hair cut. We live in yoga pants, but don’t actually do yoga. We eat our kid’s leftover lunch scraps instead of actual meals. Sometimes we don’t even shower!
I vowed long ago that I wouldn’t allow myself to become a shadow of myself. I enjoy getting my hair done regularly and dress in real clothes everyday. But if I’m being honest, I wasn’t taking great care of myself. I would often sacrifice sleep and I wasn’t active at all. A friend of mine decided to start going to the gym recently and invited me to join her.
Now hear me when I say that I am not a gym person! The idea of working out and sweating and running and lifting weights, it doesn’t excite me at all. But I knew my friend wanted to get back into shape after having a baby and I wanted to support her. I also knew that I would benefit from working out because, let’s be real, I was not even remotely fit.
I have to say that after just a few days at the gym I was hooked. I finally understood why people said they felt energized after working out, even at 6am. I began to notice changes in myself. I had more energy and felt stronger. There was also a sense of empowerment. I always thought that I just couldn’t work out, it just wasn’t me, but there I was – lifting weights, doing lunges, running laps.
This isn’t a post about “looking good” after having kids, it’s about feeling good and being healthy. I’m not saying moms should work out to “get their bodies back.” That kind of language irks me. My body is different after birthing children and I’m okay with that.
I’m saying moms should work out because they need to take care of themselves and be healthy. Being a mom requires so much of us. I constantly have to be “on.” My kids want to run and play, and I have to keep up with them. It’s easy to make excuses for not working out. Moms are pressed for time. Personally, I like to sleep as much as possible because I know that once my kids are up, my day isn’t slowing down. But I have found that cutting out the excuses has made a world of difference for me. Making healthier choices (like going to sleep at a decent hour and making sure I have a nutritious breakfast) only serves to increase my energy. In turn, my kids benefit from having a mom who isn’t easily worn out, or at least not as easily as before.
Do I want to sleep in and eat junk and lounge on the couch? Yes, absolutely. But since making small and intentional changes to my fitness I have seen the benefit of being just a little more active. I think more moms should take the time to include a work out into their day; whether it’s a nice and easy yoga flow, an hour at a gritty garage gym, or a walk around the neighborhood. Let’s be fit, for ourselves and our kids.