By: Cheryl Maguire
I’m a fitness fanatic. Six days a week, I’m either in a spin class, body pump class or watching an at-home DVD workout program. I wasn’t always this way. I used to be the type of person who avoided all forms of physical activity. So what changed? It began when I met my husband who loves to work out, but I didn’t really transform until I became a mom.
We had a family gym membership which was only being used by my husband. Being a stay-at-home mom to twins was overwhelming and isolating. Our gym offered free child care while you worked out. The thought of having an hour to myself during the day was enough motivation to pack up my broad and head to the gym. Since I didn’t really want to work out, at first I considered reading a magazine in the lobby during the hour, but my guilt got the better of me. I compromised by reading the magazine while walking on the treadmill.
Reading on the treadmill is incredibly boring, but I had a view of the aerobics room. The pulsating music emanating from it reminded me of a dance club. The participants of the kickboxing class seemed to move in unison like a choreographed dance routine. It definitely looked like more fun than the boring elliptical machine I was using so I gave it a try and I loved it! Over time I was hooked on going to a variety of fitness classes.
One of my favorite parts of participating in the fitness classes is the motivating messages the instructors shout our as the sweat pours off my skin. Sometimes during the day, I will think of the phrases to help me overcome the many parenting challenges I encounter. Here are a few of my favorites which can use the next time you are struggling.
“You are stronger than you think”
This one is often said to help you lift that heavier weight. In strength training, the goal is to move up in weight over time. So if you have used 15-pound weights for several weeks you try to move up to 20 pounds. Sometimes there is a fear you won’t be able to move to the next level and by hearing this phrase it helps you overcome it.
It took me a long to believe this message both related to fitness and parenting. After eleven years, I’ve come to the realization I can at least try to lift that heavier weight. Parenting is hard both emotionally and physically which requires a great deal of strength. Knowing you are strong helps you to face those challenges with confidence.
“Get out of your comfort zone”
On Celebrity Apprentice Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi basically said to Arnold Schwarzenegger she wasn’t comfortable naming a person to be voted off. His response was along the lines that this isn’t about being comfortable and if he remained comfortable while being a bodybuilder he would have never achieved any success.
When you are strength training over time your body becomes used to the weight you’re lifting. In order to build your muscles, you need to move up in weight. When you do this for the first time it is both hard and uncomfortable, but leads to being a stronger person.
As a parent, you experience a plethora of uncomfortable situations both as an advocate for your child and a parent. Your child is continually moving through phases of developments which require you to constantly change both your parenting techniques and interactions with your child. For example, the timeout technique you used with your toddler would not be the same as the one your use with your teen.
As an advocate for your child, you deal with their teachers, doctors, and child care people. It may feel uncomfortable for you to disagree with your doctor’s diagnosis, but ultimately you have to be uncomfortable to help your child. By being comfortable with being uncomfortable, you become a stronger person and parent.
“You can do anything for 5 minutes”
During every fitness class, I participate in, at some point the instructor will shout out, “You can do anything for 5 minutes”. Usually, it’s during a really difficult part of the class towards the end when you are tired and wondering, “when will this class end because it feels like it never will.” It is meant to help you push through the difficult part, helping you realize it is time-limited.
This is a great phrase to tell yourself the next time your child has a full-blown stage 5 meltdown in the middle of Target. Granted it may last longer than 5 minutes, but at some point, your child will become tired, right? The fact is, it is time limited and you can push through the pain (and embarrassment) to finish up the shopping trip just like you finished the fitness class.
“Don’t phone it in”
There are days you don’t feel like working out. On these days you may be inclined to just go through the motions. This message is meant to help you work out at your one hundred percent effort even though you might not feel like it. It does help you to realize you can push yourself harder by increasing the resistance on your spin bike or running at a faster pace.
There are many days you don’t feel like being a parent. You want to just crawl back into bed and forgo your responsibilities. Those are the days you have to work at not “phoning it in”. Your child will notice the difference. You have to push through and give it your best effort.
Go Try a Fitness Class
Here is my motivation message. If you are not already working out, go try a class. You can even borrow a free fitness DVD from your library or a friend. Most cable companies offer free fitness class on demand. Or if you ask, many gyms with offer a free day pass.
You will feel better both physically and emotionally after taking the class. At the very least you might hear a new motivational message.
This article was originally published on Parent.co.