Let me begin by telling you a little bit about myself. I work full-time for Anne Arundel County Public Schools as a physical education teacher and have done so for the past seven years. I am also the Head Coach at True Core CrossFit, and my newest role, a full-time mommy. I say full-time mommy because I am never not a mommy now, I am a mom every second of everyday regardless of whether I work or don’t work. I have been coaching CrossFit for the past six years. I had my best finish in the CrossFit Open in 2017 when I finished in the Top 20 Women in Maryland and was the 16th Fittest School Teacher in the Mid Atlantic. After the Open that year I switched my focus from CrossFit to Olympic Lifting. I would train for 2-3 hours a day with a strict two rest day a week policy. Sometimes, I would do two a days where I would complete my accessory work in the morning and then go back to the gym to lift in the evening after work. I loved my schedule, I loved being in the gym, I loved my freedom, I loved training (even on the hard days, and there were lots of hard days).
Flash forward to January 2018 when my husband and I found out we were expecting! I withdrew from a meet I was supposed to be lifting in at the end of January and focused on growing my new little training buddy. During my pregnancy I felt great and worked out almost everyday. I thought a lot about what was going to happen after I gave birth. I knew things were going to be different, but I still had this fantasy in my head of how my days would go with him. That’d I’d pick him up from daycare after work, we would head to the gym, and he would just hang out for two hours while I got my work out in. And you know what… he probably would do that. I probably could pick him up from daycare, head to the gym, maybe give him a bottle when we got there (maybe not), and he could play in his bouncer while I train.
But I didn’t want to anymore and that’s OK.
While I’m at work, I miss him, I CAN NOT wait to go get him at the end of the day. On the days I would try to bring him to the gym with me after work, I wouldn’t get anything done because I wanted to play with him. My schedule had to shift… to fit it all in, to find the balance (or at least try to) between being an athlete and being a mom. I committed to exercising in the morning before work. I get up early, put my leggings and sneakers on, and head out the door while he sleeps. It’s hard but it’s worth it. After two weeks it became easier. I usually get to the gym between 5:30 and 6 am. Sometimes, I’m not able to squeeze all my programming in, but I do my best. After work I pick him up and we go home… and we play!
It was important to me to find something that worked for all of me not just parts of me. The me that is an athlete, a competitor, a coach, and a fitness junkie as well as the me that is a wife, a mom, and a teacher. Balance looks different on everyone. My biggest advice for those parents who are still trying to find a way to squeeze everything in to the day are:
- Put yourself on your to-do list- After I had Keegan I got a card in the mail from someone I look up to as a mother. Her only advice was, “Be a happy mom.” I think about that card at least once every day. One of the biggest contributors to me being a happy mom is making sure I find gym time.
- Stop saying yes to stuff you hate- It’s ok to say NO
- Make time for fitness- Whether it’s at a gym, your garage, or your living room… you just have to do it! My stuck at home go to when I just need to move: 100 burpees for time
- Find your tribe- I love my mom tribe at True Core as well as my mom tribe outside of the gym. Finding a supportive group of like-minded moms who get you, encourage you, and support you is key. True Core had nine baby boys born in a three month span last fall, not to mention the countless number of badass moms we already had! My personal group of friends gave birth to seven in the past year and a half. I am also very fortunate to belong to a gym that offers daycare so when he gets a little older he can play with friends while I play with weights!
- Call in reinforcements- Whether it’s your spouse, parents, in-laws, friends, or babysitters! (I’m going to give a special shout out to my husband here, while I have been blessed with a good sleeper, he almost always gets up one time during the night to eat. Thank you Kyle for always doing the night time feed and letting me stay in bed, you are a gem)
- Learn to adjust- Things happen, especially with kids. Last month Keegan was in the hospital, this past Tuesday night we ran out of saline drops and he woke up at 2 am with congestion which caused a middle of the night drive to CVS. Our schedules had to change. Gym time was cancelled, pushed back, or rescheduled. Everything won’t always go according to plan, so take advantage of the days it does!