It’s no secret that I like to be in the gym every morning. I wake up thinking about what routine I’m doing that day and what workout clothes to choose based on my plan of attack. My breakfast is based around how intense I plan on being in the spin room or on if I’m upping my weights that day on the floor. I leave my house at a certain time so I can be at the gym by 8:30am so I can have those precious two hours when they watch my kids fit around my schedule. This is a priority for me, it’s what drives me in the mornings and it’s what makes me a better mother.
I think the only downside to priorities is that when something gets bumped up to a higher slot on the list, something has to be bumped down, that’s just how it works. For the longest time I was the last thing on my own priority list. I have so many little people that rely on me and I try to provide a loving, homey atmosphere for my family, I just wasn’t as important to myself as I should have been. There’s nothing wrong with pouring yourself into your family but I do think that not taking care of yourself is a big mistake. I got to a place where I didn’t even feel like a person anymore, just a shell, I got lost in the routine of taking care of babies and other people that I forgot to stop and think about what really made me happy.
It’s hard when you’re a new mom because you’re just in survival mode in the beginning, feedings and sleepless nights, its just a vicious cycle for the first few months. Once I was able to let go a little bit and not be so focused on my kids I noticed that I didn’t know what to do with myself. This was after 5 years of being pregnant and having babies and being on-call 24/7 for almost that entire amount of time.
I found the gym just in time to help me come up for air. It relived my stress, it got me out of the house, it helped me let go of my kids a little bit more (they watch them for 2 hours at a time!), it got me around other women, some moms and some not, it forced me to make friends and helped me remember how much I love meeting new people. It gave me a purpose more than just being a mom. I don’t have to tell you that I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being a mom, but I needed more and I think we can all agree that we can be more than just one thing. I’m able to instill in my kids determination and drive with each new goal I set for myself. I even have friends now! I cannot tell you how long I prayed for friends. I felt like every time I made a friend it was time to move away and with the exception of my life-long best friend (HI ASHLEY!) I really didn’t feel like I had any friends. Internet friends, yes! Lots! But I was missing the personal friendships and I feel like I have that now.
Okay, so guilt. Oh man do I have it. Let’s rewind for a minute back to when Eva was an only child. The amount of time I had to share with that kid was crazy! We did everything from ABCs to numbers, to shapes, colors and patterns, you name it and we went over it on a daily basis. She was ready for Kindergarten by 3 years old, she could even write her name before she turned 3. BUT the twins are turning 4 in March and they’re JUST NOW learning to write their names. Don’t look at me like that. I mean you have more than one person who needs your constant attention, it’s normal for younger siblings to not get the same amount of attention. I know this, I’m a full supporter in giving yourself some slack because, HEY YOU’RE BUSY. But the guilt was eating me up. I felt like I was failing my kids.
Isn’t human nature a funny thing? If we gave in to every single desire and want we’d be in serious trouble, that’s why priorities exist, to give us balance. I know for a fact that I am a better mother because I take time for myself every single day. I’ve tested it, I stay home from the gym and I’m a total monster. No, really. I yell, my temper is shorter, I feel like I can’t get enough food in my body because I’m bored and just want to eat but then I feel bad about that and that just makes me even more mad. And since I don’t have a job outside of my home I have no real reason to leave the house.. as much as I wish Target was a necessity, it’s just not. And don’t even suggest to me that I should workout at home, I know you’re thinking it but it’s not the same! I tried that for a while and it works for many people but it’s just not for me.
So we do what works best for our family and we compromise. I teach them their ABCs and numbers and shapes in different environments like on the way to and from the gym and in return they understand that when they wake up in the morning they need to get ready for the gym and be out the door at a certain time so we can be there by 8:30am. And guess what? They know how to write their names now. They’re little brains soaked in the information in a matter of weeks and now they’re total pros. They know their numbers from 1 – 20, they know their colors and shapes. I was worried for nothing really. Just because I wanted to incorporate something new into our lives (my life affects their life) didn’t mean I had totally ruined their lives forever, even though sometimes it felt like that.
So, on this Friday I’m urging you to do something for yourself. Prioritize yourself in the mix with your family, it’s possible to do both! And it doesn’t have to be the gym for you, it can be anything that makes you feel joy on the inside. When I know I’ve gotten a work out in I know that I’m furthering my life by I’m staying healthy for my kids, I feel strong and capable, I feel empowered to take on the rest of the day. Do something for yourself that will cause the light inside of you to shine on to others.