I may be a mother, but that’s not the only piece in the puzzle of my identity. As much as I love taking care of my children and spending time with them, the girl who likes sweet treats and loves to dance is still a huge part of me. She needs to see the light of day, and my kids need to know that there is more to me than the woman who helps them with homework and tucks them in at night. Being the mom of four young kids can be grueling, and for years I didn’t understand the importance of taking good care of myself. I was happy enough, but I wasn’t having fun. We all need joy and fun in our lives, and I realized it was up to me to find ways, both little and big, to inject it in the grind of my daily routine. Moms, generally speaking, put their families before themselves at every turn, sacrificing their own comfort so that their loved ones can have the things that are important to them. I’m no different, and it took me getting completely run-down, both mentally and physically, before I realized that taking great care of my family didn’t mean always denying myself; their happiness doesn’t have to be at my expense!
Major changes needed to take place, and I realized that my physical body had become weak all over, despite lugging car seats and kids around all day, every day. I had gained a little weight from eating junk food snacks to quench my sweet tooth. Not only did I want to get stronger and feel better, but I wanted to fit back into my cute jeans! Knowing what I had to do, I set out on my journey to get back in shape. Exercise has been a great method of reinvesting in myself and quickly has become a crucial component in the care and maintenance of this mama. My desire to reclaim physical fitness has inspired me to challenge myself through a wide variety of exercise, which, as a bonus, has led me to meet many new friends. Who doesn’t love new friends?! My local YMCA has a great Childwatch program in addition to its vast array of scheduled exercise classes, so I was able to get a mental break from my kids while trying new things and growing as a person. That break was indispensable this Summer with all four of them home, fighting with each other when they weren’t asking me rapid-fire questions. The positive results I’ve seen in my boosted moods and health are priceless, and I love that my kids get to see the importance and enjoyable nature of taking care of our bodies.
For me, there are three crucial components in the formula of the perfect workout time:
1) Fun Workout Gear — When I dress in cute workout attire, it makes the entire experience more fun. I can’t afford expensive workout gear these days, so I’ve learned to make fun outfits from what I have around the house. I stay on the lookout for cheap leggings in fun prints or bright colors then pair them with little workout skirts I’ve had forever. I complete the ensemble with one of the colored tank tops from my regular wardrobe and my workhorse of a sports-bra. It’s ballet-inspired, but a little crazy, just the way I like it.
2) A Class That Challenges in a Fun Way — Remember that girl I mentioned that loves to dance? Well, she gets to come out and “do her thang” at least twice a week when I have a blast at Barre class. Barre incorporates many of the things I learned in ballet while growing up, but features fun music and faster tempos, all while tightening up and strengthening my body. The teachers are a lot of fun and I’ve enjoyed seeing the toning in my legs and tummy. I’ve loved it SO much that I’m considering getting certified as a Barre instructor!
3) Refueling With a Treat — After every class, I put up my mat, grab my bag and pull out the final step in my ideal Mommy Maintenance Hour: A Fiber One ® Streusel. The girl who loves her yummy, decadent treats gets to have her way, too! It’s deliciously sweet with cake crumbles that remind me of a fine restaurant dessert, and enjoying one after Barre is the perfect way to top off my happy meter.
I look forward to that little treat all during class but love knowing that eating it won’t undo all of the benefits that working out has just accomplished. The Fiber One ® bars take the edge off of the post-workout hunger that always hits me and taste AMAZING. I wash it down with ice cold fruit-infused water and set off ready to take on the rest of my day.
I’ve learned that waiting on someone else to schedule a break into my daily life isn’t going to happen; finding ways to insert joy into our days is our prerogative. Barre class gives me joy in addition to the myriad of other benefits, and my Fiber One ® Streusel is the cherry on top of my Mommy Maintenance Hour.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by General Mills through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write a post about Fiber One’s ® Brownies & Bars, all opinions are my own.