I suppose it all started when I was a teenager… coming home from a dramatic day at school, complete with boy drama, girl drama, class drama, you name it, and my only source of relief was to lace up my sneakers and go on a long, therapeutic run until I could think again.

Fast forward to college… heartbreaks, career questions, the stress of finals, and my only source of relief was to lace up my sneakers and hit the weights at the local gym until I could breathe again.

Fast forward again to my long journey to motherhood… through infertility… the road to adoption… the wait to be matched with a birth mother… 48 hours spent in a hospital desperately hoping and praying that this baby we were falling in love with would indeed become ours forever. And my only source of relief through all of the ups and downs, the questions and uncertainties, the fear and anxiety, was to lace up my sneakers and run… lift… jump…sprint… letting the sweat roll down my face… oftentimes mixing with tears… until I could believe again.

For as long as I can remember, working out has been my sanctuary. Not just an accessory to my life or something I do when I simply have the time, but an absolute essential part of my day, something as important to my sanity and well being as sleep… sometimes even more so than sleep. When I run, I feel free and wild. When I lift, I feel strong and capable. When I jump, I feel weightless and carefree. When I sprint, I feel powerful and invincible

The very things a mother needs to feel the most. Because motherhood is HARD.

We need an outlet. We need to feel strong. We need to feel capable, and powerful and invincible…

So what’s stopping us?

A lack of time… sleep… energy… resources… GUILT…

I have struggled with all of these excuses, and the struggle is REAL. But what’s even MORE real, is that me without exercise is a recipe for disaster. As in, I turn into a crazy person. Lock me up and medicate me because all systems will eventually shut down.

So I make the time… the energy… I find the resources… I quiet the GUILT…

And I continue to run, even if only for half the time, while pushing a stroller with a whiney child in tow.

I continue to lift, even if this happens in my living room with a set of dumbbells in front of a workout video while my child takes a sub-par nap.

I continue to jump, even if only for a quick 20 minute plyometric interval session at the YMCA while my kiddo is in childcare.

And I continue to sprint, even if this only happens at the end of a run, while pushing a stroller with a child in tow… because I have to pee SO BAD (thanks to the coffee that gave me the energy…)

The struggle is REAL. But it’s worth it. Find your source of STRENGTH… tap into it… and make it happen.

Realizing the importance of this has allowed me to navigate motherhood without losing myself completely. Comforting a sick baby at 3am, I know I can make it through because earlier in the day I made it through the end of a tough run. Dealing with a toddler tantrum will not derail my sanity because earlier in the day I busted out 6 unassisted pullups. Trying to wean a stubborn toddler from her pacifier will not send me over the edge because earlier that day, I pushed through a tough leg workout.

The strength I gain from my workouts gives me the strength I need to be the kind of mother that I desire to be.

The sanity it also provides is an added bonus.