From the beginning of time, or at least once women emerged into the working world, there has been drama between working and non-working mothers. This is not to insinuate that stay-at-home moms DON’T work, because we sure do, just not outside the home. I feel like since I’ve been on both sides of this (I was a working professional until my oldest was 3 and my middle was 1), I feel like I’m coming from a good perspective.
There were a lot of years where staying home with my kids was way harder than anything I’d ever experienced, yet balancing a job and kids was a constant struggle. It was a ridiculously hard dilemma. When I gave up my job that I loved and was good at, I felt like a huge chunk of me—not just Drew, Gabby, and Noah’s mom—the ME that I was when there was only me—was missing.
Fortunately, I found ways to rediscover myself. I found myself again in complaining about my kids. Maybe not exactly complaining, but I found myself while blogging about my life. And more often, everyone enjoyed my hardships to my successes. Readers could identify with my struggles and feel less alone. In turn, so did I.
I am an extrovert, though. It wasn’t enough for me to have this online voice. I wanted more. I craved social interaction with more than just my children and my online connections.
So, I joined a great gym. That was just the outlet I needed to round out my days of blood, sweat, and tears. And even on the mornings where I felt less than motivated to move my body, I quickly remembered what a day without that two hour break felt like, and my car almost automatically would drive there. It ended up being the final component to my ability to find some balance between the ME separate from my kids.
As I’ve spent my days juggling my children, writing and my gym time, I’ve really enjoyed myself. My workouts have developed my muscles to shield the temper tantrums and combat the incessant fighting. Plus, I’ve found my passion in these unique classes. Each one is different and rounds out my level of fitness in a way I never expected. I always joke that “I’m one workout away from a good mood.” But it’s so true. And the relationships I’ve developed are just the connections I need to feel like a person, the inner ME again.
Recently, I’ve been recruited to start teaching group fitness. At first, I was apprehensive. The gym is my happy place, my de-stressor. If this place starts to become stressful, how will I handle the rest of my life? But then I remembered what a working mom once said to me when I shared my early retirement: “How are you going to teach your children what a hard working, bright woman does?”
At the time, I was clearly insulted. But I realized that I’m showing my kids that each and every day by putting my passion and dedication in front of them—and that’s important. In some ways, that’s similar to how I am attentive to them and their lives.
So far, this experience towards being a group fitness instructor has been humbling. I’m a far better student than teacher. It’s almost impossible to balance it all, much like when I was a full-time careered professional.
But my kids are getting older now, and as much as I don’t want to miss a second of their lives, I also want to live mine, which at some point (which I’ve already experienced with my two big kids in full day school) is going to be separate from theirs.