When Luke was younger and I was a new stay-at-home-mom, I’d try to exercise while he napped or played. I have a few videos from those days of me following along to Yoga with Adrienne on Youtube and Luke falling asleep on his play mat to her soothing voice. It was fun! And the relaxed, uncommitted flow of yoga was what I needed mentally while the posing helped me break a small sweat. But I am not self-motivating, so I easily quit without anyone telling me I shouldn’t, or I gave up if the flow was difficult.
So, I essentially went from being the strongest I had ever been – able to squat as much as my hubby weighs and do 200 sit ups – to pregnancy. We all know how pregnancy takes a lot of those muscles and turns them into atrophied jelly or stretches them like the neck of an old t-shirt. For me, it was an exponential graph – as I increased in size and preggo-ness, I increased in laziness as well. So, it was normal for me to come out on the other side, adorable baby in hand, and not have the same muscle mass as before.
I’ve never aimed to be smaller, skinnier, or lose weight. For me, feeling strong is what makes me happy with my body. So after Luke was about a year and a half, I joined Stroller Strides – a nationwide program of mothers who exercise with their kids in tow. I saw on a Facebook page that this group was going to tour the local fire station after the workout. Luke had been obsessed with fire trucks, so we joined them for a trial class.
Luke and I loved that first class. Our trainer was energetic, encouraging, and a strong mother of 3 who poured her love for this community of women into each uplifting thing she said. As far as the workout goes; I died. And by die, I mean I couldn’t make it through without a lot of breaks, sweat, and metaphorical crying wishing it would end. But it did end. The pain of fatigued muscles and the hour-long class always ends, and I’m left with the euphoric feeling of accomplishment, of feeling strong, of feeling capable of more than just kissing boo-boos and making breakfast. It’s amazing. That day, I came back to life long enough to tour the fire station and watch Luke light up with excitement when he got to hold the fire hose.
Most stay-at-home-mamas are looking for that tribe of women who are like sisters – supportive, caring, kind, and who also have children the same age for playtime. That is Stroller Strides but you also get a killer workout on top of all that! Whoever thought of this needs a Nobel Peace Prize. (I mean think of how much peace they are providing postpartum mamas who need to get out of their house with their babies and do something for themselves.)
A week or so later I was back for another class – this one was outside – and found that I was the last one in the group as we jogged from one side of a neighborhood to the other. I hadn’t ran in years and was about to start walking when I noticed that another mom had jogged back to meet me. I’ll never forget what it felt like that day to have someone rooting for me; someone who I had just met only a half hour before. That’s what makes Stroller Strides such a successful program. We are all there for some me-time (to get in a great workout/ to feel strong), we are there for our children (field trips, crafts, to play with the other kids, and get to watch healthy exercise habits), and we are there for each other (support, encouragement, friendship).
So all in all, since starting a consistent exercise program, I feel myself mothering with more patience and being a good example for my son. I have a heck of a lot more strength, I know that I can do hard things which gives me emotional stamina,I’m energized, and I take out any frustrations I have on the workout. Also, it is a great excuse to get out of the house and socialize with other women! What more could you ask for?
If you want to join a Stroller Strides (Fit4Mom) program in your area go here and enter in your zip code. They also have programs for pregnant mothers, weight loss, cardio and strength interval training, and a run club! If they don’t have one in your area, you might look into becoming a franchise owner and starting it up!
I hope you feel inspired to try out an exercise program, whether it be Stroller Strides or joining a local gym. I used to hate working out until I became stronger with each class, and what a difference it has made in most aspects of my life.
You got this!!
**This post is not sponsored – I just love it!**