In honor of Mother’s Day, 24Life asked some of our favorite fitness-minded mothers what motherhood means to them and how they balance it all …

From Jill Miller, Creator of Treat While You Train™ and author of “The Roll Model”:

  • How did becoming a mother change you? I have more compassion for all people, including myself. My emotions are more available to me than ever before. I have learned new levels of the power of patience.
    • What has surprised you about being a mom? You know the saying, “We are all one”? Being a mom makes you feel that on a visceral level. Becoming a mom has given validation to my inner sense of being an interconnected biological organism on this planet.
    • How do you think fitness plays into being a mom? I can’t function to serve my family unless I maintain strength, soft-tissue mobility and the hormonal/neurological/emotional benefits of a disciplined movement practice.
    • What advice would you give mothers on fitness? You may need to redefine some aspects of your fitness …

“Instead of obsessing about chiseled abs and calorie scorching, view your fitness as a way to maintain your health and energy levels so that your body remains balanced and not overtaxed.”

Our children’s need for our energy is real, and we need to practice our fitness in a way that doesn’t leave us depleted when we take care of them. This means being a conscious laboratory of your fitness (your own needs) and being able to be present, active, playful and available for your kids’ needs. Every mom knows how hard it is to strike a balance, especially when it feels like there is no fuel left in our inner tank. Figure out the best dose for your daily/weekly fitness practice(s), so that there is enough energy for everyone.

From Tessie Awaa, Senior Director of Group Fitness Operations for 24 Hour Fitness:

  • How did becoming a mother change you? Being a mother has taught me patience, even though I thought I had it. It also taught me to have a better work/life balance to get what I need to done while at work, so I can be focused on my kids when I get home. If I choose to work after they go to bed, well, I can do that too.
  • What has surprised you about being a mom? How much fear I really do have. I used to think that not a lot of stuffed scared me, when in reality, a lot scares me now.
  • How do you think fitness plays into being a mom? Kids emulate us (parents), so when they see us living fit and active lifestyles, they do the same. It makes my day when I work out at home and my two-and-a-half year-old says, “Mommy, I work out with you?” It verifies that I am doing something right as a mom.
  • What advice would you give mothers on fitness? Ensure your kids see you doing it and having fun. All kids want to have fun, and when they can relate fitness to fun, they will want to do it.

From Tracey Mallett, Creator of bootybarre:

  • How did becoming a mother change you? I became more present in my life and less selfish. Motherhood changes all your priorities, which was a blessing for me.
  • What has surprised you about being a mom? How it never gets easier. Each phase of your child’s life leads to a new challenge. I thought the baby stage would be the hardest, well that proved to be wrong. My children are now 12 and 14 … need I say anymore?
  • What does motherhood mean to you? To love unconditionally, to feel complete, and to be inspired.
  • How do you think fitness plays into being a mom? Fitness is a stress release. Plus you are their role model. Your children follow you, and so they need you to be healthy.
  • What advice would you give mothers on fitness? Incorporate fitness into your life, and make it a priority. A healthy mom equals a healthy family. Don’t underestimate small amounts of time either, because every little bit counts in the big picture of living a healthier lifestyle. Lose the guilt too.

“Taking time away from your family to exercise is not a guilty pleasure, but it is the way of life for a mom who wants to be a role model for her family.”

From Lashaun Dale, Vice President of Content and Programming for 24 Hour Fitness:

  • How did becoming a mother change you? My transformation as a mother started when I was ready to consider having a baby. I was super-duper fit and lean, but worried I was not exactly healthy to grow a beautiful vibrant baby. I had to make some different choices about how I trained (meaning not teach four hours of high-intensity training each day), gain weight, and I received great holistic coaching from my midwife, who helped me research, study and implement strategic changes in my sleep and nutrition — and in essence broaden my mindset. With that, I expanded my horizon of what mattered and also my capacity to be available for another sweet little human in my life.
  • What has surprised you about being a mom? That the love grows and grows and grows. You think that this moment is just so perfect and that you couldn’t love them any more. Then tomorrow, what they do gives your heart just a little more nutrition, and it grows yet again.
  • What does motherhood mean to you? It is a greater purpose and responsibility to show up and be responsible for creating a safe space where my kids, Tevan and Vanessa, can grow, learn, love and prosper into amazing adults. It also gives me a greater purpose to the world. It inspires me to do more, be better and contribute wherever I have the opportunity to make a difference, so that I can do my part to make sure my kids and their grandkids grow up in a world where they can feel safe and pursue their dreams.
  • How do you think fitness plays into being a mom? It is everything. It models to them what they will come to understand as a way of life …

“I love having the knowledge of all the different ways to move your body in the world so I can introduce it to them until they find “their” thing.”

For me, fitness, sports and movement activities were a foundational space where I learned to challenge myself on every level, how I learned to collaborate with others and where I learned to have fun and experience amazing things with my body. It is so cool to have the chance to do that with my kids.

  • What advice would you give mothers on fitness? Self-care. It is the elephant in the room for most moms. We give our all on so many levels, but save our wellness for last. Learning to listen and pay attention to the signs, just like we do with our kids, is key and then we know what to do. Note: As I write this as advice to others, I am really talking to myself!

From Micki Stary, Regional Director of Group Fitness for 24 Hour Fitness:

  • How do you think fitness plays into being a mom? It plays such a big part. We must lead as role models for our children, to ensure they understand the true value of health and wellness. Extra bonus: Working out will give you more energy and keep you motivated!
  • What does motherhood mean to you? Unconditional love.
    • What advice would you give mothers on fitness? No exceptions: Fit fitness into your daily schedule.

“Find the time to give to yourself or you won’t be able to give fully to your children. Involve your kids in your workout for even more fun and family time. Whether it’s a bike ride, game of tag or basketball, you’re making lasting memories for your family.”

  • What has surprised you about being a mom? It’s been the best “job” I’ve ever had and yielded the greatest rewards.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Photo credit: Copyright © iStock – Andrea Obzerova.