So, as many of you know, I’m a huge fitness nut. I love running and working out, and will pretty much try anything once — just to see if I like it. Most of my favorite workouts are HIIT workouts — think crossfit-style or tabatas, something where I can get an ultimate workout in, with as little time as possible. Story of a momma’s life, right?
Once we moved to Orlando and I was able to stay at home with Ella, I made fitness part of my mission, rather than just something I “tried” to squeeze in here and there. Ella and I went on daily walks (sometimes twice a day). I got super involved in an at-home workout program that I LOVE: 21 Day Fix. But there was something still missing… I wanted to find something that would encourage me to get out of the house, out of the neighborhood — even if it was only for an hour.
I get cabin fever pretty bad — although, it’s weird, because I’m such a homebody. Does that even make sense? Before I decided to stay at home with Ella, I had friends tell me I’d never make it as a stay at home mom — that I was “too busy” and would go insane. I would absolutely disagree with them, but honestly — there is a part of this that is true. I do like to be busy, and I like other human interaction (although I’m an introvert — walking contradiction?). I had all these big dreams of being a stay at home mom who was super involved in “mommy groups” and took Ella to all of these activities and museums — but since we moved here and I’ve been home with her, I find we are home 90% of the time, if not more than that. I find that I started to make excuses for reasons to NOT go to the museum or library. I was starting to feel like I was turning into a hermit, and that my child was going to suffer because of my lack of socialization.
So, in conjunction with my year of growth, I started to research different fitness activities in the area that I could try with Ella. I stumbled upon Fit4Mom and their program Stroller Strides. I remember briefly hearing about this program before, but never looked into it — much less tried it. So, after reaching out to the coach, Ella and I were signed up for our first class.
It. was. awesome!
So, imagine an hour workout with other moms and babies, incorporating full body movements and using the stroller as a tool to workout with. Genius! And, most of the workouts have a sing-song rhyme that go with them (think, singing “BINGO” while holding a wall sit, and clapping along with your little one). I was instantly hooked, and signed up for the monthly pass right away.
And, bonus — It was a great way for this new-to-the-area-momma to meet other momma friends! It was like a safe place for moms to go without judgement, to workout and socialize. And have babies socialize, too!
We’ve been active members for over a month now with our Stroller Strides group (our “Village”). Thinking back to before we started this program, I’m surprised it took me this long for engage with this group. And, I am SO thankful for it, and for the support these mommas have given to this newbie/kinda shy/kinda stressed out momma of a two year old.
I remember back to one of the first classes we had, and Ella pretty much screamed through the whole thing. I was thinking “She’s two, she doesn’t want to sit still for 5 minutes, much less an hour,” and I was getting anxious that the other moms with their perfectly content and quiet children would secretly not want me to come back. I mean, c’mon.. who wants to try to workout with a screaming 2 year old? I left that class in tears — cried the whole drive back home, and then continued crying at home while trying to explain to my husband that I wasn’t going to continue going because Ella doesn’t like it. I just couldn’t believe the hellion Ella would turn into when we went, she’s usually so happy and well behaved. What would other people think of me? I just wanted to quit it, stop, completely give up.
Truth is, these fears weren’t projected by the other super-understanding mommas. These were all in my head — my own fears, my own attempt to hold myself back from something I actually enjoyed.
But this was the year of growth — so I went to the next class, and you know what? All of the moms there were so supportive and understanding — the exact opposite of what garbage my brain was making up. It was so nice to actually hear from other people who shared the same passions, loves for their littles, and struggles when days aren’t always sunshine and rainbows.
The old adage is true — “it takes a village to raise a child.” Sometimes, this is hard to remember — especially when you are separated from your family by hundreds or thousands of miles. But, we have to realize that a village isn’t just blood-deep — that sometimes we have to create our own village. The friendships you develop with those around you can be everlasting — strong, and needed. Besides, friends are the family you get to choose for yourself — so make good choices! 🙂