When I started blogging, I never would have guessed the impact other Mommy Bloggers would have on my life. Especial standouts are the authors of Mama By Fire, Wading Through Motherhood, and Three Boys and a Mom. The latter of the three is a blog that moves its readers time and time again. The author, Rachael, writes from a place of eloquent rawness. Her blog candidly depicts how her faith and love of her boys carry her through a terrible divorce. Moreover, she has overcome bulimia and works full-time as a social worker. Her candour, heart, and substance of character exude from every post. When she wrote her post, Fit Mom Friday, where she depicted how she worked out with her three boys in tow, I wanted her to write for me.
Fitness for me has been a lifeline this past year. I began working out daily with my boys before I went back to work full-time, and honestly, I was worried about how I’d be able to maintain that once I was working 40+ hours a week. It was already a struggle even being home all day, so I questioned how I’d be able to manage it when I was gone and then needing to play catch up in the evenings to spend time with my boys.
The truth is, there are not enough hours in a day. But it’s about priorities. And I am finally on the list.
My boys are obviously my first priority and they come above everything else. But I have learned to squeeze myself in there somewhere too.
I used to work out however and whenever I could, usually with the boys running around me like a crew of crazed lunatics who just busted free from the psych ward. It was challenging. I still do it this way occasionally, but I try not to, both for their sanity and for mine. I will say though, they do make it more fun sometimes and Luke makes a really great extra weight at 27 pounds of cute!
At the end of the day after the boys and I have been apart for 10ish hours, there are only about 2 hours left before they have to go to bed so we can start all over the next day. Each minute is precious.
They need me.
They need all of me, fully present and available for only them. And I need them too.
As such, during the week, I either workout at 4:00 A.M. before work, or I workout around 9 P.M. after I have gotten the boys in bed. It’s a challenge either way because somewhere in life, you do have to sleep. I do miss a day or two sometimes, but I have finally gotten into a pretty good pattern and overall, it’s working well for everyone.
On the weekends, I either workout while the boys watch Paw Patrol or I throw Luke on my back and include him in the workout, either while the others sleep or join in with me. I typically workout somewhere between 20 and 45 minutes each day, and that’s all I can manage. I do hard workouts so that the time is well spent; but I’ve seen that short period of time is enough to shape not only my body, but also my mind and my spirit.
As I have said before, my goal is not to become a fitness model. My goal is to become a model of fitness for my boys, not just physically but in all areas of my life.
I think it is important for them to see me taking care of myself and making myself a priority sometimes. We moms give all we have to our kids, and that’s the way it is supposed to be. But in order to succeed in that endeavor, we have to also take care of ourselves. We have to show our children that we matter too.
I don’t believe the only way to do this is through fitness, but for me, it has been a huge part of my healing and it has benefited us all.
I don’t have the best body around. I still have skin that hangs down when I bend over, and no number of planks is ever going to make that go away. I have stretch marks on my stomach, and no amount of exercise will remove those from my body.
I’m ok with it. I’m a mom. Those stretch marks and that flabby skin is a symbol of what saved my life.
But moms don’t have to be frumpy and disheveled all the time. They don’t have to never take care of themselves and be neglected martyrs for their families 24/7. It is possible to both take care of yourself and your children successfully. It may not always be easy, and we do still typically get the left overs of “me time,” but it is possible and I have found it is absolutely essential to my survival.
I’m not saying that means we all have to be fit and thin and chiseled. In my opinion, strong and healthy is so much more beautiful than thin.
As long as I am strong mentally, spiritually, and emotionally, the physical strength will follow and I will be able to run the race that God has set out for me.
I will be on this journey for the rest of my life, but I have learned that strong is the new thin, and I finally matter enough to myself to create that strength from the inside out!
Do you have any questions for Rachael of Three Boys and a Mom or do you have any suggestions on how you stay fit with little free time? Please share below! xo Alana