I don’t think I ever understood the importance of working out until I had children. Sure, it’s healthy. It keeps you looking attractive and fit. But honestly, I was never really into the whole exercise scene. I wasn’t the type to hang out in yoga pants or spandex all day after going to a fitness class. Nor was I one of those people who woke up in the morning and instantly thought, “I need to work out!”. I mean, back then, my metabolism was amazing, and I could eat anything I wanted, and still look good. So why go to the gym everyday? What was the point?
Flash forward to me being a Mom of two young children at home. I quickly became the type who needed to work out to actually wake up and get the day going. Because truly, I had to be on my game. Full of energy, patient and above all, cheerful, with both the 5 month old that nurses 24/7 and the toddler that tantrums at the drop of a hat. At the beginning, it’s pretty daunting. Especially when you are running on little sleep and starving all the time from the nursing. When I had one child, I would just exercise around her nap schedule or when my husband would get home from work. But when I had my second, I worried whether working out was even a possibility for me anymore. And that really freaked me out.
I needed to work out. It gave me the drive to get through the day and helped me to establish a solid routine during the week. Just the endorphins alone kept me energized and confident enough to pack up the kids in the car and make it to an actual event for the day. Whether it be the local library storytime, a kid activity or even a simple errand. I somehow had the mental sharpness and courage to venture out with my two young children, on my own, after I had done my work out session. Exercise really set the tone for me. I could have woken up feeling terrible, but the minute I got my body moving, I suddenly came back to life. My mind became clear. My mood was more positive. And most importantly, I felt empowered to conquer the day.
Mapping out how to work out with two babies was like walking a tightrope while holding a stack of plates …with my eyes closed!! Some days I didn’t think it was going to happen. I have to say, I don’t think exercise would have been possible if I didn’t figure out how to make it work at home. I had tried loading all the children into the car and dropping them off at a gym nursery they absolutely hated, only to get a call after 5 minutes of working out that my children wouldn’t stop crying. Nothing got accomplished. And I felt guilty for my children. They wanted to be near their Mom. And I needed to work out.
So, I made the decision to purchase the Peloton Bike. Yes, it was quite the investment, but definitely worth every penny. And I’m telling you, it worked for my family! I woke up first thing in the morning with the children, made breakfast for my toddler and set up the baby seat next to the bike. I had a 30 minute window. No more, no less. That’s how long it took my oldest daughter to be entertained by her one short show on TV while eating breakfast. That was exactly the amount of time my 5 month old would nap in her vibrating chair. 30 minutes was the magic number. It was all I needed to get my day started on a sane note. That Peloton workout helped me to move my entire body and completely clear my mind. And most importantly, it was something I had carved out of the day. Just for me!
My kids look at me while I work out. One smiles and giggles as she kicks her feet vigorously to the music. The other peers over the baby gate and cheers, “Go! Mama work out!” They watch me, always watching me. And at the beginning, I felt totally guilty for “neglecting” them first thing in the morning. I thought I was being a bad mom for choosing to work out over giving them my full attention. But the more I exercised, the more I realized that I was working out FOR them. Yes, I needed to get in shape, lose the baby weight, and have my “me” time. But I felt elevated after I worked out. The endorphins always kicked in after I clicked off the bike. I was energized and ready to be the present Mom that I wanted to be with my children. And while I reaped the benefits of working out, my children were learning how important exercising really was. Not only for Mommy, but for them too. They were learning that it was good to work out, that it could be fun, and that it made Mommy happy. One day, I hope they remember how important it is to exercise for their health, their body, and their mental clarity. I want them to feel good about how they treat themselves. To always take the time in their busy schedules to move their bodies, and celebrate in the fact that they are alive and able. That’s a gift we all take for granted, especially myself. I mean, how many times do we take a breathe and just feel grateful for being? I want my children to feel that every time they go for a run, jump on bike or hike a mountain. I hope that all their movements give tremendous meaning to their lives. But mostly, I hope my girls work out to be strong, to be healthy, and to be better Moms for their babies.