6 years ago I was searching for something. At the time I had a 4 year old son and a 3 year old daughter who was proving to be an extremely spirited child – and she still is as a 9 year old. I was completely immersed in mommyhood, being a wife and a full-time employee. I was many things, but I needed something just for myself.

Before having my children, I was very accustomed to “me” time and then all of a sudden I felt like I was giving away every piece of myself to everyone else, but not taking the time I needed to take care of me.

I decided it was time to get back into a workout routine (I had enjoyed that in the past) but where would I find the time? I stumbled across an article in one of the glossy fitness magazines I loved to read (and constantly compared myself to, but that’s a blog post for another day), and in it was an article on kettlebell training. Having always gravitated more to weight training than traditional “cardio”, this intrigued me. It boasted tonnes of benefits: fat loss, muscle gain, increased endurance. I vowed to find one of these elusive bells and figure out how to use in on my own.

How lucky was I that there were classes running not far from my home! So I took the one hour skills clinic and then threw myself into a group class with people who had been doing it for over a year. To say that I couldn’t walk, sit or go to the bathroom with ease for the better part of a week was an understatement but it was also the beginning of gaining strength. Not just physical strength, but mental and spiritual strength as well.

[Tweet “By making myself a priority… I began to find myself again.”]

By making myself a priority and carving out that time to attend classes a few times a week, I began to find myself again. Suddenly things became easier – physical things like lugging in groceries or climbing the stairs at work or running around with my kids. Perhaps the biggest shift I felt was inside myself.

Becoming stronger physically made me stronger in all aspects of my life. It gave me a sense of empowerment. It made me demand more respect from others, to value myself and put myself first every now and then. Whenever I would be faced with a difficult challenge, I would say to myself “if you can do an hour under the iron” (cool gym talk for lifting weights) then you can do this.

With time and consistency I kept getting stronger and then I realized that I was impacting others. By taking on whatever was thrown at me in class and talking to other women about strength training, and encouraging them to give it a go, I was helping others feel empowered. That put me on the road to becoming an instructor almost 5 years after I shyly walked into my first class. Now I spend a large majority of my time teaching and encouraging others (mostly women) to take that first step and go to a class, to put themselves first after many years of being at the bottom of their “to do” list. I present at wellness workshops and expos, preaching the word of Kettlebells and, in the bigger picture, self care.

I know as women we tend to put our families, jobs, pets, homes and many other things in front of ourselves and in the process we forget that amazing, beautiful, interesting, funny, totally badass person we are.

By taking the time to get our sweat on, we aren’t being selfish, we are showing our children that it’s important to take care of ourselves physically and mentally as well; and hopefully, if your children see you doing this for yourself, they’ll grow up and put that same value into their wellbeing.

Try this little exercise the next time you hear yourself saying “I don’t have time to workout”. Try saying “I’m not making myself a priority”. It doesn’t sit so well does it?

[Tweet “Replace “I don’t have time to workout” with “I’m not a priority.” How does it feel?”]

By carving out a little bit of time everyday to move, in which ever form you enjoy most, you’re recharging your batteries, filling your cup and in turn coming back to be a happier, more balanced wife and mom.

It’s time to make yourself a priority.

~April