Working out is my nemesis, it always has been. Just ask my college roommates who day after day would wake up early to go on a run and eat salad for dinner all while I slept in and ate Arbys (true story).
I've never been good at commitment, unless it's to my husband (love ya babe!). So in the spirit of being non-committal I constantly get on workout kicks or healthy eating kicks that last at most two weeks and then I loose steam and stop. I've tried a variety of options, getting equally excited about each one in the first couple of days, telling my friends about this new workout thing I'm doing and then 2 weeks later, it's 5AM and my alarm goes off and I JUST CAN'T.
So much of it has to do with this idea I put in my head that in order to work out, I have to wake up early in the wee hours of the morning and "just do it" because "I will myself" and "never miss a Monday."
It turns out the motivational taglines just don't do it for me. Guess what does do it for me? SLEEP! I found that after a few days of getting up early at the butt crack of dawn to work out I'd hit a wall mid-week and crash. Basically everything I was seeing on Pinterest about becoming a morning person and how great that first run of the day can feel just wasn't happening for me.
Here's what I think. Moms of little kids are exhausted... OK, all moms are exhausted, but the littles tend to wear you out physically. Add this to the fact that I teach a whole bunch of kids who aren't my own everyday and it equals the fact that sleep is of the utmost importance to me. So, I stopped.
I stopped getting up early. I let myself sleep in until the last possible minute with just enough time to get ready for work and be on my way. Then, when I got home, I got in my work out clothes, did a quick leg or ab routine (usually 10 minutes) and then I put the music on real loud and danced.
I just danced. Like crazy, no one is watching flailing about dancing. And it felt so good and sooooo freeing. I'm convinced that all moms should dance for cardio. It is by far the best and most non annoying work out you can do.
With this routine, I have found that the issues I used to run into with working out in the afternoon don't happen anymore. The leg or abs only take 10 minutes and my kids can occupy themselves for 10 minutes for crying out loud. And then I get my kids to dance with me, or at the least bit they watch mommy with jaws open, in awe of how crazy she looks. Either way, I like to think I'm encouraging them to let go and just enjoy some Justin Timberlake.
And letting go is the key. Let go of the should dos of working out and just do what works for you. Right now in this stage of life, 10-15 minutes each day in the afternoons works for me. And it feels good. I work hard in those 15 minutes and I can feel it in my legs the next day. So there you have it. It's not some fancy online program or Facebook accountability group that does it for me, it's having fun and keeping it short.
Here are some great free videos I love:
The Tone it up Girls!
I love these girls! They put together short effective routines and they don't take themselves too seriously. I don't need a workout instructor going on and on about how I'm doing this for me and it's about who I am on the inside (it just doesn't feel real to me). Believe me, I already know I'm doing it for me because I know my 3 year old could care less if mommy has a six pack. These girls have fun and make you feel like you're working out with your girlfriends. Check out their Youtube channel or go to their website: www.toneitup.com
Because JT really helps me dance like no ones watching.
I wonder if the weight of motherhood will ever feel less heavy. I don't mean heavy in a negative way, but rather, a weight I continue to carry and be brightly aware of. It's like a necklace I wear around my neck; deeply precious to me and constantly moving, swinging in this way that makes sure I never forget it's there. It's a feeling I have become so accustomed to in these short 6 years. So much so that I can't remember if there was ever a time before it.
And that's OK. This doesn't mean I've forgotten who that spunky 23 year old was. The one who loved to shop and stay up late drinking wine and talking to her roommates. It just means she's laying underneath layers of growth, confidence and dare I say... wisdom.
Yes, being a mother makes you wiser. It is not wise in a way that takes away from childless women, it is a wisdom that comes when you give yourself up for someone else. This is an experience that can happen in many forms. I don't mean to say it is only through motherhood that we experience this selflessness, but for me, this was the case.
This weight of motherhood is so much so that sometimes I find myself in tears. It's just too much. Too much love, too much sweat, too much exhaustion, too many sweet hugs, too many loads of laundry and dinners to make. It's hard to understand sometimes, hard to put into words, the feelings I have as a mother.
But truly beautiful things are often hard to explain; you can only experience them.
...but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. (1 Corinthians 13:10-12)
What is in part disappears. Before my children came into my life, I was not complete. I was a part, not fully formed. Now, in my completeness, I am stronger. Everything is clearer and that reflection has been made real. My role as a mother stares me straight in the face. It's constant presence now takes on my whole being and the best way I can describe it is as a covering. It is a blanket of warmth and strength that screams for me to be vulnerable and flexible.
Motherhood is a glimpse of that completeness we feel when we accept Jesus into our lives.
This morning as I got ready for work, the room still dark and my 3 year old son laying in bed next to my husband, I heard his small sweet voice say, "mama, you are so beautiful." And just like that, my heart grew and broke all at once.
Because this journey of motherhood is about constantly giving of yourself, each day; growing your heart, bigger and bigger until that moment when your child gives you something back. A word, a phrase, a hug of their own volition, and you are reminded of your own humanity, of how you need this relationship too.