Do you remember the first time you dropped off your child in Y-Play? Nervousness, excitement, fear, relief...there are so many emotions moms feel leaving their little ones, even if they'll only be a few steps away.
At the Y, we try to create the best possible environment for families to grow healthier together, but it's you who show us how it's done. You make "me" time to sweat it out on the treadmill. You help your young kids muster up the courage to hold their breath underwater. You encourage your older kids to meet new friends at camp.
We love having a wonderful mixture of Y moms at our centers across Middle Tennessee. In honor of Mother's Day, we're highlighting five of the thousands of women helping their families create healthy habits every day.
1. Teresa encourages her sons' unique exercise interests.
"I’d rather him do what he likes, which is running and bikes," she said of her oldest, Sebastian. Teresa's younger son loves to play soccer.
It can be really effective to notice what activities kids are naturally interested in and keep encouraging them down that route. Is it soccer or maybe swimming? Moms like Teresa who help foster a love for exercise in their kids' lives early on set them up for a healthier future.
2. Tara prioritizes relationships to maintain her family's wellness.
"I feel like that’s what this Y has provided for me—a place where people slow down, talk to each other, ask each other how they’re doing, and work on their health together. It’s not just a solitary thing,” she said. In fact, there are plenty of gyms closer to her family’s house, but Tara drives out of her way to come to "a place where you know you’re noticed."
Community can sustain you on days when you're running on fumes. It's why we make it the Y's mission to be so much more than a gym. Tara reminds us that people matter most.
3. Gulay takes time for her health, which helps her daughter too.
“My life is different,” she told us. “My daughter is happy. I work out and I’m happy. My body is healthy.” Gulay made it a priority to start walking, strength training, and dancing at the Y. Since she started coming more regularly, she’s lost 10 pounds. Her daughter even asks when she can come back to Y-Play.
This is a story we hear from lots of moms, including Andrea and Katherine. It can feel strange or selfish at first to make time for exercise, but many parents soon realize that when they're healthier, their kids benefit.
4. Aimee shows how coming consistently makes a difference.
"I needed a break from the infant stage, and I said, 'I’m just going to go work out so someone can watch my kids,' and then I realized, 'Hey, I’m liking working out, and they are liking coming,'" she said. Sometimes people join the Y with a detailed plan, and sometimes they come on a whim. It's good to remember that there isn't one perfect way to begin your fitness journey. You start somewhere and try to take the next best step.
Aimee's kids have since joined Y sports leagues, swim every summer, and celebrated the ribbon-cutting for Donelson's new play area (pictured). But Aimee didn't know how her family would grow into the Y community on the day she walked in. She just needed a respite.
5. Kami tries to set an example for her children.
“Fitness is super important to me, and it’s important that I teach my kiddos," she said. Kami worked out throughout her pregnancy and said it helped her bounce back afterwards and stay active with her kids.
“Definitely I would recommend that pregnant women exercise. Oh my gosh. Exercise, exercise, exercise,” she said. “It doesn’t necessarily matter how you look right away, but how you feel. You feel so much better. And it helps with postpartum depression and everything.”
Moms make a strong community
So much strength in our Y community comes from the moms. Thank you for all that you do to help your families grow healthy in spirit, mind, and body. Happy Mother's Day!