Being a mom of two boys under two is not for the faint of heart. Before I had kids I would always hear how tough motherhood was. And stubborn me would always think in the back of my head “Yeah, but I got this. I’m pretty tough. I’m sure I can handle it.”
You guys, I was so wrong. There was a time when I longed to feel ‘normal’ so badly that I cried when I went to Target for the first time after I had my oldest son. But, I’ll leave that story for another time.
In my struggle to adapt to my new role, a role that I believed would be an easy one, I wanted desperately to get back into shape, especially after a year of eating what I wanted and not working out in fear of hurting my baby. When my husband and I tried to conceive for 17 months with no luck, I was afraid to even sneeze.
After a challenging labor but a healthy baby, my husband and I couldn’t have asked for more. As new parents though, we were determined to not take our son anywhere in public for fear he would catch the Black Plague. Needless to say, I was reduced to working out on my own trying to get my post baby body back. Sometimes, I would run a few miles with a 14lb medicine ball on my shoulders or would do squats, sit-ups and push ups until I couldn’t go any further. I was determined, but I really missed being in the weight room especially having spent the previous 3 years being active in CrossFit. The gym had been my happy place.
Much to my relief, when my husband finally felt comfortable enough to let our son stay at the childcare at our gym, I all but left a cloud of dust in my wake as I made a mad dash to drop him off. One of the best things about our gym is the 2.5 hours of childcare that we’re provided and over the years I’ve grown to appreciate it, and all of the incredible staff, so much so that I struggle to put it into words. With a Firefighter husband who works 48 hour shifts, it was crucial for me to find an outlet for those times when I just needed a break from my boys. Those 2.5 hours allows me to reset and be a better mom to my kids. This must mean I need a break quite often because I’m there at least 6 days a week! But, I’ve been able to get into better shape than I was before I had kids because of that. Something I truly did not think was possible.
This is why it is absolutely okay to have that “happy place” to retreat to. Mine has become so much more to me than a just a gym. Some of my most cherished friendships were cultivated there, my boys have met great friends and, to be honest, sometimes it provides my only opportunity for adult interaction that day. As the saying goes, “You can’t pour from an empty cup,” and as a mom it’s important we look for those opportunities to take care of ourselves so that we can also take care of our families.