How Stroller Strides Saved My Sanity

Hi friends!

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!

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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! 🙂

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Attack of the Stomach Bug

Hi friends!

What a whirlwind of a week it has been!

It started last week, with Ella getting a nasty stomach bug.  Originally, I had thought it was just a reaction to her vaccines from her doctor appointment a few days prior — but she seemed to be okay, just really nasty diapers and a low fever.  After a few days, she was back to normal, and I didn’t think anything else of it — in fact, talking with a friend who was going through the same thing with her 2 year old, we were chalking it up to teething and that was it.

Ahh, well — fast forward to Saturday night.  A sudden and powerful migraine came over me, and I wasn’t feeling like…myself.  Tossed and turned all night, finding myself going back and forth to the bathroom.  Needless to say, it wasn’t pretty — and somehow, someway, I managed to get the nasty bug too.

Before Ella, I used to get bitter when I was ill — thinking and saying that “I didn’t have time to get sick.”  Oh what time does to you…. I thought I was too busy before to get sick?  Getting sick while having a 2 year old is just physically impossible — yet it isn’t. And it happened. And, it was exhausting.

Yet, despite the exhaustion and just overall “gross”-feeling, it still managed to be great couple of days laying low with my little girl.  We still went on walks, but replaced our workouts with a few more Tinkerbell movies. We still had tickle-fests and made cookies, but Mom laid off the cookies and tried to stomach toast instead.  We even had some accomplishments: we can name each alphabet letter in our flashcards and we learned the entire “Little Einsteins” song in only a short amount of time hearing it.  You can check out the cute video of this on our Facebook page here. 🙂

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I guess my point is, even when you’re feeling like utter crap, there’s still some sort of sunshine to bring you up.  Sometimes, you just have to search for it — to wade through all of the negative to find the beam of light to boost your mood.  And, truth is — when you start to act like you feel better, you actually do feel better.  If you physically smile, then your brain — and in this case, stomach — smiles too.

We are feeling better, for sure.  I’m hoping that one more day of “rest” is what the doctor would have ordered if I actually went to the doctor.

Hope everyone is having a great start of their week! 🙂

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“You are STRONGER than you THINK.”

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Ever have those moments where you question EVERYTHING you are doing, trying to figure out if you are doing it “right,” and sometimes feel utterly defeated?

That’s been me lately — which really is out of my character.  I work on being positive and “sunshine and rainbows” because, well, I like feeling that way — and I believe in “acting the way I want to feel.”

But it seems in the past few weeks, I’ve been questioning ALOT.  And, I haven’t been acting the way I WANT to feel, I’ve been acting the way my brain THINKS I feel in the moment.  The mind is a very powerful thing — and sometimes we let our mind trick us into believing something that isn’t necessarily true.  We think it, then we act it. It’s a vicious spiral that, in the end, just leaves you feeling…. lost.

Picture it, the spiral:

Ella has been having some serious temper tantrums recently.  It is so sudden, and most of the time, it seems to be for no real reason.  She will be an absolute gem and acting normal, then all of a sudden, she freaks out.  It’s like a flip of a switch — for those who have seen the movie “Inside Out,” it is really like the Anger character when he flings up the control bar, screams “WHAT?!”, and his head lights on fire.  Scary, even.

I’m still trying to figure out how to handle these meltdowns.

At first, they surprise me: “Oh my goodness, what happened?!”

Then, they worry me: “It’s okay, baby. You’re fine. It’s alright!”

Then, they frustrate me: “Ella, no ma’am. This is NOT how we get things. NO. STOP. SIT DOWN.”

Then, they confuse me: “I don’t understand what happened. You were fine two seconds ago. What changed?”

Then, they frustrate me again: “Ella. NO.”

Then, they worry me again: “Ella… it’s okay. Just breathe….. BREATHE…..”

Then the internal monologue begins: “Why is she acting like this? Am I not doing a good job? Should I smack her hand when I tell her “No?” Should she get a spanking? Time out? Is she too young for those? Is she even listening to me? I know she’s just frustrated because she can’t communicate.. is telling her “No” a bad thing? I think I read in some book that you shouldn’t say words like that to a toddler.. what book was that? This is ridiculous.  Do I just ignore this? Will that cause worse behavior? If she continues to act this way, it will be my fault for not disciplining her at a young age.  Will she grow into a demon child that isn’t fun to be around on the playground?  How long do these last? Is this just a phase?  Am I failing?  I’m failing. I’m a terrible mother.”

The spiral. All good logic and truth flies out the window.

 

Why is it that negative thoughts are sometimes easier for us to believe than the positive? And sometimes, it gets really nasty up there in that head of ours — sometimes, we forget EVERYTHING and just focus on the bad in the moment, rather than expanding the picture and seeing all the good.

The truth is, yes — she’s having a meltdown, but that doesn’t trump the fact that she can count from 1-20.  She knows her colors and shapes.  She can recognize most of the alphabet just by looking at the letter, and not even in ABC order by repetition.  She would prefer to play “match game” with her color and shape cards than watch TV.  She loves to be outside — heck, she learned how to “scoot” on her scooter in 15 minutes last week.

Am I failing? No way. She’s healthy and smart, and learning more and more everyday.  And, I have to take a little credit for that.

Am I really a terrible mother?  No.  I’m just a mother — period.  I have no idea what I’m doing, and that’s okay.  Who really does?  I’m sure I’m not the only mother on the planet who has had these same thoughts in these same moments.

But, there is something we can all work on — we are STRONGER than we THINK.  We have to remember that.  When those negative thoughts sweep into our minds, we have to cancel that out with remembering how awesome we are.  We are doing it. Not even the worst 2 year old tantrum can deny the fact that we are, ultimately, okay.

So, this one is for you — fellow momma who forgets sometimes, maybe a bit stressed out, tired, drained, questioning.  You aren’t alone.  🙂

Happy Tuesday, y’all!

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