Fitness, Balance, and Motherhood

“How do you do it?” is a phrase that I hear time and time again when people hear or get to know more about my life.

There’s this sense of awe that I get when I explain to people that I manage to find the time to work out, be a mom, have a full time job, stay happily married, have a social life with other adults, and continue to blog. The truth is, I don’t have it figured out and I’m learning as I go.

I became a mom at 21, it was unexpected and not part of my life plans at the time. My now husband and I were just in our first year of dating, barely moved in together, and we were still trying to find out who we were supposed to be as adults. We were babies, raising a baby. The entire experience of becoming a mother at a young age taught me adaptability and the power of the word “no”. Motherhood taught me the importance of investing in people and experiences that added to my family’s life and mine. Over the years I’ve come to realize what values are important to me: my family, my health, my passions, and my career. If people or experiences didn’t add to the growth of these areas I made a conscious decision to weed it out. By saying “no” I was able to say “YES” to all the things that mattered most.

My health through exercises and good nutrition is one area of my life where I have full control. However, when I first stared my workout regiment 2 years ago life felt so imbalanced. Learning that I had to include this new idea of preparing healthy meals and working out in the morning was a major challenge.  It was a change that affected everything in my life. For my schedule, this meant prioritizing my workout time to 5am before the workday and life at home began. In order to do this successfully I had to make sure that I was in bed early enough in the evening so that I can make the change to work out in the morning. This meant moving my unhealthy bedtime of 1am to 10PM to get enough sleep to fuel my workouts and the rest of my day.

Prepping healthy meals was such a headache in the beginning especially when having to juggle between cooking a “cleaner” option for myself and preparing a meal for the family. One thing that I discovered was that prepping the same proteins for both myself and my family would help reduce the time spent in the kitchen. I would make my meals twice a week and have some leftover proteins that I can throw into a pasta, rice dish, or something more “kid friendly” for the family to enjoy. Slowly I started to just make them servings of my same dishes except not control the portions as much. I figured if I was making healthier habits, then the kids and husband can too. Week after week I put in my best efforts to make the time to workout and meal prep and it became easier. Over time it became rewarding to come home to the family after a long day of work knowing that I put the time in to workout before anyone and anything else.

By saying “no” I was able to say “YES” to all the things that mattered most.

Throughout this entire process my kids have slowly become a true reflection of my lifestyle changes. They see a happier, more energetic, and focused mother which they have enjoyed. My little one says things like, “Vegetables make my muscles grow!” and “My muscles are 4 inches big.” It’s such a joy to see my daughters enjoy vegetables and appreciate healthy cooking. They aren’t as active as I wish for them to be, but they are growing up in a household where we make more conscious decisions on what we eat and how we fuel our bodies for our day to day lives and its empowering to see their interest. My eldest daughter tells me how proud she is to see what I’ve accomplished by focusing on my health and fitness and to me this is one of the biggest lessons she has gained. The lesson that determination and believing in yourself can truly set for change and all it takes is one step towards a dream.

My biggest advice for those mom’s seeking out a way to make healthier habits is to take a step back, look at your day to day, and see where you can make the time to exercise. The beauty about fitness is that there’s no right or wrong way to start working on your health. Try different things until you find something that works for you and your family. Once you’ve found it, make it a priority for you. And remember taking care of yourself is part of taking care of your kids!

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