Why I Take My Kids To The Gym With Me

About twice a week after I pick my “big” kids up from school, I drag them to the gym with me. And while a little piece of me feels incredibly guilty for making them sit in the little side room or playroom that my gym has that really is very tiny because it's a small gym, I tell myself that it's important to take them. 

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If the gym happens to be empty, my girls will join me with their own “workouts,” jumping rope or running through an obstacle course that I will set up for them. 

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Image via Chaunie Brusie

Other times, if there are a lot of people there and I don't want them to possibly get in the way or get hurt by a weight gone flying (it's happened before) I let them munch on snacks and totally zone out on Netflix on my phone while they are there, because even with that, in the grand scheme of things, I think they are learning an important lesson.

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I think it's important for my girls to see their mom working out. I make a point to tell them, over and over, how I exercise because it makes me feel happy and strong. I compliment them on their strength and they flex their biceps for me as we snap silly pictures and giggle together. I tell my oldest how impressed I am with her strong legs when she kicks a soccer ball and how awesome her sister is when she joins me for some jumping jacks. 

I can assure you that I am definitely not a fitness model or anyone you will see rocking flat abs anytime soon, but after stumbling through some dark times as a mother and knowing that depression will be a life-long battle for me, I have found that exercising is my saving grace. Not just physical for me, but mental. I call it my therapy, because for 30 minutes to an hour most days a week, I forget everything. My mind clears and I focus on the simple acts of breathing, of lifting, of the sheer physical capabilities of my body. 

Somehow, in my days as a stay-at-home mom, when I feel reduced to a machine that is going through the motions of changing diapers and cooking and cleaning and doing load after load of laundry and feeling a little bit like I am slipping away from the world because I don't really matter, lifting weights while my children play or “work out” next to me, changes me. 

I fear that my daughters will fight their own battles as women and mothers some day–it's never an easy road for us women, who must somehow reconcile living a life with bodies that will be judged and hated and admired and used and changed with finding our own self-worth inside of them. 

And for me, that journey has started with the act of picking up some heavy-ass weights and realizing that I am stronger than I thought. I just hope they are watching and realizing the same thing for themselves. 

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Why I Take My Kids To The Gym With Me

Chaunie Brusie is a writer, mom of four, and founder of The Stay Strong Mom, a community + gift box service for moms after loss. ... More

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