#fitmommy, Virginia Beach photographer
FitMommy Advice. You read that right  {but don’t worry, it’s not from me!}.

We all have our strengths, and I am thrilled to bring in ladies who are experts in their field to take over my blog and help us moms maneuver through life that is motherhood.  

It’s my honor to have Jen Emge take over my blog for the day!

Certified Personal Trainer. Marathon Runner. Mom. Wife. Inspiration. Definition of a # FitMommy

#fitmommy, courage to sweat, family photographer Chesapeake VA, Virginia Beach photographer, fitness blogger

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What’s your thing? That thing that keeps your sanity intact when the mayhem of mommyhood is all around you? My “thing” is exercise. I need it, y’all. It’s not just about preventing old lady flabby arm syndrome, or pretending like I’m going to one day fit into my wedding dress for some big anniversary party I’ll likely be too tired/busy to plan because it clashes with the kids’ soccer schedules. It’s about sanity. About doing something for ME. It’s about taking time to show myself that I too am important. And seriously, sometimes my kids have to learn that mom is not accessible 24/7 (except in the case of an emergency).

Some of you may say, “But Jen! How? I’m so busy! I just can’t fit another thing into my day. Mom life is just NUTS!” I know it is. I do it every day, with a husband who travels often. There are days that it is simply just not going to fit into the schedule. But there are many days that exercise WILL fit into the schedule if I allow it.

Real Talk Here:
Don’t use your children as an excuse. 

Yes, sometimes they are a valid excuse. You probably can’t skip Junior’s baseball game because you want to go for a run. But he doesn’t have baseball games all day every day. Yes, sometimes the little one needs a nap, or ain’t nobody going to be happy in this house tonight. Where in your schedule (and I highly recommend using a planner – oh, how I love mine!) can you fit in exercise? Do you absolutely have to wash dishes and fold laundry before 9:00 AM, or can you go to the gym and handle house chores after?

Don’t let your children be the boss.

So they’ve taken over the TV programming, but it’s a give and take. If you have to suffer through Paw Patrol day after day, and take them to the playground while carting a carry-on luggage sized bag of emergency snacks and extra clothes, then they can handle an hour at the local gym’s playroom (where by the way they have toys and friends, so it’s not exactly prison for children). “I do this for you, kid, so you can do this for me. Mommy is important too.”

If we have time to engage in multiple group chats a day, then we have time to do dips on the couch…

Or pushups on the floor, bodyweight squats, crunches, jumping jacks, wall sits, burpees, or running up and down the stairs. And then we can go back to texting our friends, because that IS important too. That support network of friends is vital to our sanity, especially on days when it’s our only form of adult conversation.

Speaking of friends, have you ever done a swap?

A friend of mine and I do this weekly. I watch her kid for an hour while she goes to an exercise class, then a few days later she watches mine while I go. It allows our kids to get a playdate in while Mom gets in a kid-free workout, and neither of us has to pay a babysitter or rely on our husbands’ work schedules.

What are the odds that at the end of the day, when everything you’ve needed to handle is finished, you’re going to want to exercise?

Personally, for me, all I want to do is veg out on the couch in comfy clothes and do nothing of intellectual value. Silly show – sure. Wine – perhaps. Exercise for an hour – seriously? Yes, I have exercised at undesirable times, like hours before the sun comes up or when everyone else is headed to bed, but those are in special circumstances, not every day. If you think you can honestly handle and stick to exercising at these times and it’s the only way you can get it in, by all means, do it. Embrace it. Puff out your chest with pride that you’re doing it. If not, when are you most motivated and likely to stick to an exercise regime because it’s not inconvenient? Find that time, and take the time.

Don’t set your expectations too high, and never fall for an “all or nothing” deal.

If kids are involved in an exercise – whether they are right there with you, or you’re working around their schedule or delayed because someone is flipping out about their socks – you have to roll with it and understand your workout may change. Maybe it’ll get cut short. It may have a lot of pauses. Maybe the type of exercise you do will have to change. It’s okay. Something is better than nothing, and don’t just throw in the towel in because it hasn’t worked out the way you planned it in your head.

It’s worth it, Mom. It really is. You are setting an example that exercise is a normal, important part of one’s day. You are showing the little ones how strong and tough you are. That you are more than just the lady that brings them waffles and wipes their bums.

They will emulate you.

I have seen my two kids, both under age 6, do stretches on their own. They request to ride their bikes, go for runs, and do push-ups. They cheer me on when I have a race. And let me also point out that they have never asked, “Are you trying to lose weight, Mom?” NO! Because that idea isn’t even in their heads yet. They have no concept of fat versus skinny or what is the right/wrong body type. They know exercise and eating healthy food is good for them to keep their energy up so they can play and grow up to be strong.

Find the exercise that makes you happy. The one you can stick to doing. If you hate running, don’t run. If you hate yoga, don’t do yoga. Hate early wake-ups? Then don’t wake up early, you’ll never stick to it. But remember that you are important. You are allowed to have time taken out of the day to do something for yourself, guilt-free.


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If you love Jen’s advice, go follow her on Instagram and Facebook (you won’t regret it!)

Head over to her website at www.couragetosweat.com for more great FitMommy tips and motivation to stay healthy while little ones are running all around.