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How to prioritize your health — even on those hectic parenting days

Mandy Skinner

Today was a battle. No, scratch that — it was a war in which there were many battles.

My daughter Sarah, who is only 2, is sick — so, we spent two hours at an urgent care only to have a horrible monster of a nurse treat her. Poor Sean, my son, cannot sit still for that long, and that same nurse gave him hell for it. (I don’t care how she treated me, but once she messed with my kids the claws came out! (I’m sure you can relate, right?)

After we finally picked up Sarah’s medicine, the next battle was in our kitchen as I attempted to give it to her. By nap time, I was frustrated, tired and simply spent — at only 1 p.m.!

With the kiddos snuggled into their beds, I had two choices:

  1. Work out
  2. Don’t

It really was that simple. Normally, I am very motivated to work out, especially when it involves lifting heavy. Today, too many battles were waged and the war had broken me down. All I wanted to do was curl up in front of the TV — something I rarely get to do.

So what’s an unmotivated, fit mom to do?

When it comes to my kids, I am not above bribery from time to time. Sometimes in parenting, you just have to go with what works. You know what? I respond to bribery pretty well too, though mine looks a little different.

I promised myself a glass of red wine at dinner if I started this workout. I also gave myself the option to tap out at any time. (Fair deal, don’t you think?)

The next thing I did was text another fit mom friend to tell her my struggle — and my plan. (She likes red wine too!) Now I had accountability and support. She understood my struggle and knew what I was up to, and I would surely whine to her if I copped out.

After a small temper tantrum, whining and bargaining — all by me — I started to lift. I turned on some Lady Gaga and began my bench session. With each rep, set and progression, I gave myself the option to stop, but I didn’t. You know why? Because I love to bench press and I love to do pull-ups and I love to beat the battle ropes mercilessly, picturing that nasty nurse from the doctor’s office.

It all felt so good. I felt so good.

I never tapped out of that workout. In fact, I crushed it.

Today, a war was fought. I lost a few battles, there were some casualties — hey, Nurse, sorry I’m not sorry! — and I finished it with a triumph. The best part of all? I won the hardest battle: the one with myself.

Taking on that nurse and a sick 2-year-old now seem like nothing after an awesome workout and support from another fit mom. My point? Stack your army, wage a war and keep fighting those battles because victory is oh so sweet — or dry, depending on your taste in wine.

Mandy Skinner is the author of the Soccer Mom with Muscles blog. She is a proud mom of two, Sean and Sarah, as well as a personal trainer and nutrition coach devoted to living healthy and happy. She enjoys running, heavy lifting and drinking wine.

Follow Mandy on Instagram @mandyjskinns or Twitter @mandyskinns.

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