Man, motherhood can really take it out of you.
You can easily get lost in the shuffle of life, decision making, constant neediness of kids and even the mundane moments of responsibility--like keeping up with never ending chores. It’s an amazing job. I don’t know of anything else that would be more valuable or rewarding than raising my four small littles. But, that doesn’t make it easy.
Finding Myself in the Shuffle of Life
It’s hard to make time for myself. It’s really easy to get lost, especially when you have small kids and may not talk to another adult during the day.
My husband works hard too, and I can’t just leave him with four kids after a long day of work to head off and do my own thing. Plus, I’d rather find an activity that didn’t require me to spend money in order to feel invigorated. So, I discovered “me time” at my gym.
Before you write this off as not for you, hear me out. I used to hate working out. I was a volleyball player and basketball athlete all the way through college, but I still hated working out. Give me something competitive and I don’t think about the workload for at least an hour. But put me on a treadmill and I’m dying in less than 5 minutes. Everything hurts. Everything is so boring. I give up fast.
Fast forward to being pregnant with baby #3.
I had two toddlers, ages 2 ½ and 1, that were a lot to keep up with. I started doing some yoga at home during nap time to try and stay comfortable during pregnancy. My husband decided to get a YMCA membership for the pool during the summer. I took the kids to the pool a lot, but that was it. During the fall, I had my third baby.
Then, I discovered the true goldmine of the Y. They have free child watch for kids six weeks and up. If you’ve ever looked into daycare or babysitters, then you know the exact value of 2 hours child free. I started taking the kids just to get a mental break for a little bit. But I also wanted to lose baby weight, so I put together a 30-minute regimen of a little cardio and mostly weights. That first step was two years ago.
Me Time at the Gym
In order to really get the most out of my time, I started listening to motivational podcasts and books on tape. Music is fine, but it doesn’t really give me another focus. The books on tape served as a source of inspiration and kept me distracted.
Once I got over that initial hump of feeling terrible for two days after every visit, it actually started becoming really enjoyable. You release endorphins working out and daily tasks start to feel easier when you are in shape. It naturally boosts your mood and energy levels.
And, I got the luxury of taking a hot shower in silence! No one banging on the door or potentially getting into some kind of trouble while I was busy. I even had time to blow dry my hair, dress in real clothes and put on some makeup. All this while the kids meet new friends, learn social skills and do fun things, like coloring and kids yoga.
PLUS, I did all this outside of naptime. If you are a parent of young kids, you know how valuable that naptime is for getting anything done at all during the day. “Wasting it” on a workout and shower was just one more reason to skip the workout.
I didn’t stop with just me time. I turned it into more when I got certified to teach. Now my kids are watched while I’m paid to teach a workout class and then shower. Still me time, but even better. Not only do I get a little extra money for the month, but our membership is reduced to 1/3, we get ½ off classes and I can help people get into shape themselves. It’s rewarding, relaxing and being on the schedule forces me to come in when I might otherwise give myself an excuse to skip.
This all started with baby #3, but baby #4 came along not long after and I was very in shape for his whole pregnancy. I was still going to the Y 2-5 times a week until the day I was induced and I felt great!
Benefits of Healthy Habits
It’s important to find things that help you wind down and feel like yourself. I have never been a workout kinda girl, but this has changed me. And it’s changed me for the better.
My kids see me working out and they follow right along. They are interested in having strong, healthy bodies. I actually look forward to workouts and I’m making real progress on that baby weight.
Do you have a “me time” you can count on each week?