My story starts like most young moms in the midst of child rearing. Busy, tired, and most importantly… selfless. Whether we are working or staying at home, the mothers of my generation are so desperately searching for balance in their lives. I find that many of us are so focused on our families, we fail to make any time for ourselves.
At the top of both of my pregnancies (which were 22 months apart) I had gained nearly 80 lbs. After healing from my second son, I was still around 50 lbs overweight. At the time, I was in the thick of having a toddler and a newborn. Every fiber of my being was focused on caring for and nurturing my kids. Work out? Balanced diet? Ha! I didn’t even have time to shower let alone even think about taking time for myself to improve my health. Getting to the gym or tracking my eating habits was the last thing on my priority list.
Boy, I wish I could go back and tell myself I wasn’t exactly right for letting that mindset go on for as long as I did. Sure, our children are our number one priority, but I would tell myself that it was okay to put aside a little time every day for self-care. Let’s be honest, where would they be without a happy and healthy mother? There is more to me than just… mom. Sure motherhood changed me as a person, but I was still Nichole.
My youngest was a year old when I started going to the YMCA regularly. What I needed so desperately that I received from the Indian Valley YMCA was the sense of community. I can’t begin to tell you about the positive, encouraging members and staff that cheered me on throughout my journey. From the staff at check in (Walt- who my children adore) to my fitness class coach (Tiffany) to the staff at the membership desk (Dave) and every person that rooted for me in between, including my supportive husband.
I cannot write this without also mentioning the amazing babysitting staff at the Indian Valley YMCA, who my children consider and extension of their family. There is no way I could focus on fitness the way I do without knowing my children are in safe hands and receiving the amazing care they provide.
What started as an outlet to health and wellness has now transformed into an amazing hobby. Over the last year and a half, not only did I lose those 50lbs and completely transform my body composition, I grew emotionally. The strength I gained in the gym has also strengthened my personality. The entire experience as a whole has made me a better wife and mother. The sense of balance it has provided in my life has made me happier than I have ever been. And yes, it is okay to take time to care for myself! I can only hope to now return the favor to my community by encouraging and inspiring other women like me.