It’s a Tuesday morning and I scramble to put gym gear on whilst getting my kids ready for school. My two and a half yr old asks me, “why you go gym mommy?” and I smile and answer, “because it makes me happy”. I have two kids under the age of four and a half. Life is a constant juggle between my part-time business and mothering, being a wife and keeping a home together. My days consist of school lifts, work and juggling two needy young ones. Nights are musical beds and endless disrupted sleep. Mothering feels like an endless endurance race with hills and troughs. So putting gym clothes on is a conscious decision as I am always exhausted. The epic tantrums and hearing myself repeating instructions over and over on a daily basis can leave me depleted and moody at times.
However, once I get to the gym it is ‘me time’. Everyday I just tell myself to do what I can. I don’t do it to lose my pregnancy weight or to be more disciplined and eat more than just kids leftover cereal. These are the lesser reasons and the by product of exercise. The weight does come off and I recommit to getting more nutritional food into myself and my family. But the main reason I go is to nurture myself by giving myself time to get fit and strong. I want to be the mom who isn’t out of breath running after my boy riding his bike, and I want to lift my almost 14kg girl and swirl her effortlessly in the air. I want to do piggybacks and run races. I also want to look at wedding pictures and not lament on how I am letting myself go. I want to feel good and look my best. At the end of the day I am on this long endurance race called ‘being a mom’ and I want to be able to ‘run it’ consciously and as happily as possible.
The truth is it works! After the gym sessions I have renewed energy to pick up the kids and play. I am more patient with them. I can dismiss the small tantrums more readily. I can run the ongoing parenting journey more consciously and hopefully raise two loving humans and teach them to love, and to play. I hear my boy tell my husband, ‘when I am old like mommy, I am also gonna lift big weights and go on the bike’ and I feel proud of myself. Proud I am setting an example of a mom who will take care of herself no matter what. Some days the race is laborious and it feels like all hills, but others the road is smoother. It’s about enduring it all, and running on despite the troughs and hills. It is about both physical health and mental wellbeing.
Happy mother’s day moms. I hope you can take that very meaningful hour, as often as possible, to fill yourself with the good stuff and to be your best self too. It is not always fun, and sometimes feels like another thing to do on that endless list. But when you meet your trainer and walk into the gym, you recommit to giving to yourself and you deserve it.