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Moving Out Of My Comfort Zone

I’m a control freak. A high-functioning and friendly, but self-admitted planner and lover of control. When we started considering having kids, I planned out the perfect timing so that this temperature-impaired woman wouldn’t have to be pregnant in the dead of summer. As luck would have it, I got my way and delivered a beautiful baby girl in May. When my husband began exploring job opportunities out of state, my six-month pregnant brain began swirling. There were too many details to wrap my head around. You want me to bring a human into the world, sell the house I pictured raising said human in, move across the country, leave the job I love, and somehow find a new home and new friends that make it all worth it?! Talk about stretching the limits of my love for him!

A few weeks of anguish, heartbreak, planning, unplanning, and many discussions during which I really wished I could have a glass of wine, I began to come around. I realized that we could make memories wherever we lived, that our daughter would know no shortage of love from her family, regardless of the distance, and that moving allowed us so many more opportunities to build the family and the life we wanted.

My mental lists grew, but slowly we tackled one thing at a time. We finished the nursery we poured our hearts into, knowing our daughter would only sleep there for a few months. We completed the multitude of DIY projects we’d started on the house we had made our home. We sold said home in a flash, loving that all our hard work was appreciated by the new owners who would start their family there as well. We bought a new house with no outstanding projects! We leaned on family and friends, and we focused on living in the present.

Motherhood changed my priorities. You hear it all the time, “things just change when you become a Mom”. Well, they do. Everything changes. Whatever comfort zone you previously knew is uprooted and you’re forced to find a new one. Unfortunately for me, my new zone was homeless with an 8-week old, surfing from one family hotel to another until we left the state I’d always lived in, and there was nothing comfortable about it. It was living out of a suitcase for three weeks while navigating sleepless nights, sore nipples, and new baby anxiety. It was leaving our fur baby in the hands of a stranger to drive her across the country (side note: my dog hates strangers, and car rides). It was leaning on our parents instead of my husband, who’d been by my side every night of parenthood, as he set up our new home and new life. It was so far outside my comfort zone, and yet, I chose to find the good in it all.

We all made it to Ohio in one piece. We have an incredible family that knows when and how we need support. Our daughter is happy and healthy, and our fur baby is adjusting well. The control freak in me had to learn to let go, and motherhood gave me that gift. Do I still stress out? Absolutely! Do I still attempt to plan every aspect of our life? Ask the color-coded sleep schedule on my fridge. But the gift it gave me was improving my ability to roll with the punches and see the good in change. There is always something good.

My comfort zone looks a little different these days. Instead of running meetings and handling the high-demand job of nursing, I’m stuck to the sleep schedule that keeps my daughter happy. Instead of sun-bathing in my backyard in October in sunny San Diego, I’m layering the family in fleece and cruising the walking paths in our Ohio neighborhood. I have found a new pace of life, and I’m enjoying it, because I know it will only last so long. Soon, I’ll be getting back to work; I’ll be faced with another round of change and daycare and trusting my child’s well-being to someone else, but I know that I’ll find a new comfort zone just as I did this one. We accomplished all the things I never thought I’d wrap my head around. And yes, I still love my husband.

I can’t say we did it the easy way, but I think throwing a baby into the mix of all of this is what kept me grounded. It gave me a reason to fight to find the good. It gave me a reason to stay positive and smile, because my baby has the cutest darn smile in the universe. It gave me a reason to reach outside my comfort zone and find new moms in our neighborhood who have become a village of support I never knew existed (Thank You Fit4Mom Dublin!) It gave me a reason to relinquish control just enough to let each day take us wherever it’s meant to go, because there’s nothing wrong with snuggling our babies on the couch all darn day. Our job is hard enough, we’ve earned it.

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MONTH OF MAY = MONTH OF MAMA

A Conversation Between 2 Mom Friends, as told by Nickie and Amber.

“Mothers and their children are in a category all their own. There’s no bond so strong in the entire world. No love so instantaneous or forgiving.”

-Gail Tsukiyama

Nickie: Being a mom was definitely not something that was on the top of my priority list. I don’t think anyone ever would have said, “Oh, she’s born to be a mom.” I never have been one to jump at holding a baby, or have the neighborhood kids flock to me. So when I became pregnant 12 years ago (holy smokes) I can honestly say, I’ve never been so terrified. My whole world was changing. I just felt so unprepared. 12 years later, and 3 kids in, I now know, becoming a mom saved me.

Amber: Same. I actually was the 20 something girl who went on record to say, “I’m NEVER having kids. Like EVER.” Getting pregnant 6 years ago, I was scared. And overwhelmed. Me? A mom? Some little baby would be relying on me to keep them alive. That sentence still makes me laugh now the mom of 3 kids!

A: Actually becoming a mom was extremely hard for me. So many changes were happening I could barely keep my head above water. I lost myself. I lost my independence. My body was destroyed. I couldn’t control my emotions. Basically I couldn’t get my shit together. It. Was. Rough. I felt like maybe I had made a mistake. Maybe I wasn’t supposed to be a mom. And I felt like I couldn’t say any of these things to anyone because being a mom is SUPPOSED to be so amazing and wonderful. And it’s such a blessing to create life. For me in the beginning, I wasn’t feeling any of those things.

Every mom, becomes a mom, for different reasons. Our journeys to becoming a mom, are completely different. But the moment we bring our babes into the world, we become part of the wonderful tribe called “MOTHERHOOD.”

A: My life changed completely when I found my tribe. I found a workout that included moms and babies. Everyone in the group had 2 of the exact same hobbies as me, we were moms and we liked to workout. BOOM. Most of the group hadn’t slept through the night, the night before. Someone’s baby was teething. Someone had a new trick to ease the pain. One mom need an idea for dinner that night, another mom has just nailed a new recipe and shared the link with the group. Some moms were runners. Some former college athletes. Some had never played a sport or worked out a day in their life, but now that we were ALL MOMS, we were instantly connected. These moms were talking about all the things I was afraid to say out loud as a new mom. All the things I thought were only happening to me because I sucked as a mom, were happening to other moms too. I wasn’t crazy. I WASN’T CRAZY. I was actually normal. It was a new normal. And once I accepted that, being a mom was fun. It was exciting. It became rewarding for me. As long as I didn’t get too far from my tribe.

N: I remember being excited to get to Stroller Strides to hear what the other moms googled the night before during that 2am feeding.

A: Or my favorite was hearing what moms did on their phones during nap time. Bathing suit sales, or the new winter bootie for your babe or what celeb has the best Instagram posts.

N: Becoming a mom and finding a tribe has given me back my spirit I had lost along the way. It’s made me proud and given me a sense of accomplishment. It’s given me joy, beyond words. It motivates me, to be a better person, both mentally & physically. It’s made me the person, that I always knew was inside me, but wasn’t quite sure how to find her.

A: Finding a mom tribe was the game changer for me. I learned how to be a better friend, a better mom, and a better, happier wife. It is by far THEE hardest thing I’ve ever done in life. Ups and downs and the good days with the bad days, motherhood is my greatest accomplishment. And helping other moms find their “mom tribes” is 100% why I was put on this earth.

N: Now don’t get me wrong, I fail on a daily basis, at being a “good mom”. But, unlike other things I have failed at, it does not stop me from getting back up, and doing it again. Doing it better.

A: Oh yes, #momfail should be my middle name! But now, for me, my mom fails make me feel less crazy and more normal. It’s just one more funny story I can tell during the workout or over a glass of wine during Mom’s Night Out. They’re kinda like my tiger stripes! Bahahahaha!!!!!

So instead of just celebrating moms on May 12th this year, let’s celebrate, the whole month of May!!!!

Let’s #momitforward!

Tell a new mom she’s doing great. Or that it gets easier. Or share a crazy middle of the night story of yours. Hold the door for a stroller mama. Or help a mom with multiple children loaded her Target cart in the parking lot. Take the cart inside the store as you see a mom finishing up with it at the grocery store. High five the mom who is wearing real clothes in the middle of the day with kids in tow! High five a mom when she gets home from work. Shoot, high five a mom who still wearing a bra at dinner time because some days the motherhood is too real! Celebrate the motherhood. All the journeys, struggles and successes. All the time outs and nap times. Because we are ALL in this together. We are sisters because we are moms. Sisterhood in Motherhood.

“I believe most people are good and most mamas ought to qualify for sainthood.”

-Luke Bryan

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Finding My Balance With Self Care

March 8th.

The date I had been dreading since losing my mom in September.

March 8th would have been her 60th birthday and my first without her.

My battle with grief is actually pretty comparable to most journeys in life, including motherhood. Some days are full of small victories, some days seem like too much to bear, while others seem to have a reassuring rhythm that rolls right into the next one. Sadly, after losing my mom, I poured myself into taking care of my daughter and completely neglected myself.

On January 1st, I knew I was ready to make some changes. My tightening pants were proof that eating and drinking my feelings wasn’t my best look. Changes in my diet came first, gone were the bacon cheeseburgers- hello to all the veggies and lean protein. Gone was the nightly ice cold glass(es) of Sauvignon Blanc- hello to water. So. Much. Water. Okay confession: I (obviously) still drink wine, just not *quite* nearly as frequently as I would like.

After just a week of cleaner eating and less drinking I already felt more energized. It was then that a dear friend once again invited me to join her at Stroller Strides. She had invited me back in the fall when I was completely drowning in my grief, when getting out of bed to take care of my one year old was tough enough- let alone leaving the house and working out in a social environment. I politely declined then but I am so glad she didn’t give up on me and extended another invite.

My first workout at Fit4Mom was a doozy. I’m talking, could barely walk for 36 hours after without cringing and yet I was hooked. My overly active toddler was able to play and make friends, while I did something beneficial for myself. It is such a simple concept that just makes sense. I make a point to never miss a workout as they are good not just for my body (I’m down 15 pounds and counting) but also boosted my over all well being.

So back to March 8th. I had been sitting on a gift card to a local salon for months so I figured a massage on the day could be therapeutic. The 8th also fell on a Thursday, a day I normally workout with Stroller Strides. I made the decision that I would try to go and if I didn’t feel up to it, that was okay too. Thats the thing with self care- sometimes the best way to care for yourself is being kind to yourself.

So on the day, the dreaded day, I woke up and felt oddly peaceful. I grabbed the stroller, my toddler, and a bounty of snacks and headed to our morning Stroller Strides workout. I didn’t mention the significance of the day but did mention to the group that I was dropping my daughter off at daycare for the afternoon. A statement which was met with a chorus of “Good for you Momma!” And then I worked out, and crazily enough I laughed, a lot. I still thought about my mom but I also thought how proud she has been that 4 days a week, every week I take an hour out of my day and get my butt kicked by Amber, our fierce leader and badass trainer.

That afternoon I enjoyed an hour long hot stone massage. I confided in the masseuse my reason for being there. She held my hand and said “It’s okay to cry, we can cry together.” And I did shed a few tears, but all the tension I physically held in my body seemed to melt away. I walked out of the room feeling 10 pounds lighter. That evening a dear childhood friend of mine was in town so we did what we do best, we drank ice cold Sauvignon Blanc and ate bacon cheeseburgers. We talked and laughed about memories of growing up together in Pittsburgh. There were a few tears, but they were overpowered by belly laughs.

Later that evening I received the following text from Amber: “I saw your post about your mother’s birthday. I just wanted to let you know that I think you’re amazing. The fact that you set up a day to take care of yourself on your mother’s birthday just shows how smart of a woman you are. Self care is so important. It’s what keeps you sane and healthy. Good for you. Your mother raised you to be a good mother. She nailed it!”

All in all, March 8th ended up being a pretty good day. My intense morning workout allowed me to enjoy every last bite of junk food and every sip of wine. Thats the thing with self care, its a balancing act. You learn to take the good with the bad, the healthy with the fattening. It’s okay to cry during the happiest moments, and it’s okay to laugh even when things are difficult. Get your workout in if you’re going to slam some greasy goodness later knowing its back to chicken and broccoli tomorrow.

Ironically it was my mom who had told me about Fit4Mom, a fact that I didn’t remember until I was chatting with Amber one day after class. My mom’s workout buddy in their small town in Pennsylvania had a daughter who also owned a franchise in Columbus. Right before my mom’s health took a turn, she had offered to pay for a few month’s worth of classes if I wanted to give it a try. She was still trying to take care of me even though she could no longer take care of herself. The memory blindsided me in the moment but now reassures me that this group is the right fit for me. My mom may physically not be here anymore to see my health transformation but I know she’s always with me every step of the way. Thank you Fit4Mom Dublin for blazing the path of my journey.

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Accountability..... My Archenemy

Why is showing up is the hardest part? I always see inspirational quotes stating “You Never Regret A Workout” or something along those lines. And, I honestly can say that’s true, for me. But forcing myself to get to that workout, that’s a whole other story. I can come up with 8,000 excuses why I can’t or shouldn’t lace up my shoes. The kids are sleeping in, the roads look a little icy, that tickle in the back of my throat could be strep or pneumonia or the bubonic plague, for that matter. Seriously, the more excuses I come up with the more outlandish they become. And it’s the same story for any type of workout. Whether I have to get in the car & pack up the kids to get there or I just have to walk out my front door, leaving the kids behind, for a nice quiet run.

I’ve convinced myself that it’s because I actually have the option of saying “No”. There aren’t too many things in a moms life that they can flat out say, nope, I’m not going to do it. Can I say, No, I’m not getting out of bed today to get the kids up & moving? Nope! No, I’m not going to get breakfast going & lunches packed? Nope! No, I’m not going to make sure the kids get off to school? You get my point. But I can say, you know what, I’m not going to work out today! It’s a little control, in what often seems like an out of control life.

This is where Stroller Strides & Fit4Mom Dublin come into play and have changed a cycle of poor accountability. It’s so much more than a workout. It’s my therapy session. It’s my kids daily, play date. It’s turned into our morning routine, that if a day is missed, all of us are out of whack. The burning of calories, changing of the body & weight loss is just an added bonus!

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Who Wants To Play The Blame Game?

It’s easy to blame our littles for being out of shape or that extra 10-20 lbs we’re carrying around.

We’re too busy to work out, or when we find the time, we’re too tired. I find myself constantly finishing food off my kids plate.

Food I don’t need to be eating, but hate to throw it away. Buying treats at the store “for the kids” but in the end, I’m the one eating them.

Whatever the excuse, it is most certainly their fault that we can’t get it together.

But what if we could make it their fault that we ARE in shape & feel BETTER than we did BEFORE they waltzed into our lives.

What if we could blame them for getting up and throwing on our tennis shoes, packing up the stroller, and heading out to meet a group full of mamas, all blaming their babes for very same thing?

Stroller Strides has got your name all over it, mama! Who knew, this group would allow me to blame my kids, not only for meeting a village of moms who build each other up, but burn a ton of calories while doing it.

It’s easy to lose yourself after having kids. I’m three kids in and still trying to find that person I used to be.

Fit4Mom and Stroller Strides reminds me that I’m strong, I’m an athlete and that we’re all just doing the best we can! We’re a village of moms that come from all walks of life. Some of us are first time moms, some have a whole slew of kids. Some are freshly out of the work force, while others have been home for years. Some of us have never worked out a day in our life, others have been with Fit4mom through their pregnancies. Whatever your story, we have a place for you! Come check us out, you won’t regret it! dublin.fit4mom.com