Being a parent is the best and hardest role I have ever taken on. Yeah, learning to be married was hard at times. Dealing with the army smack in the middle of our marriage is a challenge, too. But raising little people into well-adjusted, functioning, independent, and caring individuals is hard y’all. Hard!
So as my children grow up, and as they need me in different ways, I’ve realized that it is time that I put the same amount of effort into my health and fitness as I do into theirs. I’ve tried just about every diet fad out there and found success with some of them. I’ve tried running, Zumba, and “toning” in the gym.
But I finally found my place. It’s CrossFit. It’s doing a little bit of everything, as fast as I can, pushing myself as hard as I can, and then doing something different the next day. I love CrossFit because it’s never boring, and even when we do the same thing twice, I can see myself improve.
I only have 24 hours in each day and while I often catch myself saying, “I don’t have time to go to the gym,” that’s a lie. I have the time. I just have to make the time every day to do it. So, in prioritizing my fitness, I stopped doing some things. Some of those things I miss, but most of them I’d gladly give up for the joy I find at the gym.
I stopped cooking dinner every night.
You know I meal plan, so this doesn’t mean people don’t eat. But I stopped worrying about it. With big kids playing outside until the sun goes down, a busy husband, and a toddler who only wants chicken nuggets and yogurt, some nights we just don’t have a “real” dinner. Leftovers are ok, peanut butter sandwiches are ok, and even scrambled eggs are good. I do try to have a few nice, “real” meals a week but I don’t stress if it doesn’t happen.
I stopped doing all of the chores.
I mean, I don’t make all of the mess right? I also don’t wear all the clothes or dirty all the dishes. By asking my family to help me out, we’ve found a way to still have family time, a relatively clean house, and go to the gym. So my big kids take care of household trash, cleaning their own bathroom, laundry, and emptying the dishwasher. It helps a lot to not have all of these chores to do when I get home from the gym.
I stopped caring about “parenting right.”
Society is harsh on parents. If we aren’t living up to their standards, we’re made to feel terrible. But when I let this one go, everything else fell into place. My kids watch TV, they play outside without me, and sometimes they even eat pizza twice in one week. They even workout with me, they like to come to the gym and spend time with their mom. And they are happy and healthy while they see their mom prioritizing her health and fitness. If that isn’t doing it “right,” I don’t want to know what is.
I stopped making plans for gym nights.
Let the record reflect I would much rather be working out first thing in the morning. I’d rather get up at 5am, be in the gym by 6 and then be done by 8. But with kids and a husband who also has to work out in the morning, it doesn’t happen. Routine Is important, which means that whatever class I choose needs to be the one I attend. In Florida, the 3pm class was perfect. I could get the kids off the bus, get them settled, and still be home in time to make dinner. Now, the 6:30pm class fits out schedule best. Which means I need to protect this time. I can’t be going out to dinner or making plans on gym days.
I stopped finding excuses.
This is the hardest thing I gave up. While there are still days I try to talk myself out of working out and days I just can’t make it to the gym, I still make it happen. I work out from home, or I find a different time, or I make the decisions to change my schedule for that week. On days I don’t feel well, I go to the gym. On days I don’t like the workout, I go to the gym. On days my favorite coach isn’t there. Yup, I go to the gym.
And I started making progress, I started finding the joy in going to the gym when I said I would. And I found time to do everything else I still needed to do. Not everything I wanted to do, but everything I needed to do.
Sometimes it takes a little creativity, but when I decided to prioritize my fitness – and my sanity – it made me a better mother, wife, and person.