I use the hashtag #fitmom in a lot of my Instagram posts. Rather than amplify the insurmountable pressure women experience to *do it all,* I want to build women up.
My interpretation of being “fit” is that I want to do activities that I enjoy and that help me be the best version of myself — for my own happiness and for the happiness of my family. If I need a good amount of physical activity each week (or every day) to feel good about myself, that isn’t about comparing myself to other people. That’s about being active, experiencing those exercise-induced endorphins, and being a stronger person because of it.
Personal moment here… I have been treated for a bit of depression in my past. Luckily I was able to catch the signs and get myself into therapy within a few months and stay proactive about it (ha, as much as you can when you’re talking about depression). I have several close family members who struggle with depression every day, so I had a good idea of what could happen if I let things slip any further out of my control. Anyway, I bring this up to illustrate how exercise plays into my treatment. It was incredibly helpful for me to be able to speak to a mental health professional about my concerns and to come to a plan for keeping my mood balanced. For me, this plan includes goal setting, exercise, and a lot of compassion for myself when I mess up. Running is my anti-depressant right now.
Pole dancing surprisingly does wonders for my self esteem. When I’m feeling self-conscious about my thighs, my stomach, or any other area, an hour of pole will bring my mood back up. It’s hard not to lift yourself out of a funk when you are literally lifting yourself up! I gain such an appreciation for how my body works when I practice coordinated spins, climbs, and inversions on the pole.
In a similar vein, when I go for a run first thing in the morning, it’s hard to let anything else throughout the day bring me down. I’ve already done something for myself that is productive, good for me, and fun! It helps me find the energy to get through everything else being a stay-at-home mom brings. (I have some opinions about that term, but I’ll get to that later.) Plus, just like with pole dancing, it’s hard to feel down about myself when I am able to physically conquer the goals I set out for myself.
A #fitmom doesn’t have to be an athlete. She can be a mom who picks up her kid when they cry, a mom who is strong enough to be the emotional backbone of her family, a mom who juggles her own self-care with the needs of her kids. I am a #fitmom, and I invite other moms to identify their strengths and fitness too.