I’m in no way paid by Life Time Fitness. Quite the opposite, actually. Each month, our family dishes out a steep gym membership fee. However, what we’ve gained as a family has been worth every penny. You might even say life changing.
About six months ago, my husband and I began talking about signing our daughter up for preschool in the fall. At that time, she was extremely attached to me. I have absolutely loved being a stay-at-home mom and hadn’t spent much time away from her. Since it was all she knew, she had a very difficult time being left with anyone other than me. We knew we had to figure something out before we enrolled her in preschool.
A friend had suggested that joining a gym with childcare would provide us with an opportunity for our daughter to gain independence, as well as give me a chance to do something for myself. My husband and I toured a few gyms and ended up loving Life Time Fitness. My friend shared a guest pass with me so we could go to a class together. After a good amount of time, one of the childcare workers came to tell me that my daughter was pretty upset, but they were happy to keep trying if I was okay with that. I ended up leaving her for the rest of the class and was crushed to see how upset she was when I picked her up. Needless to say, we both cried on the way to the car.
My friend reassured me that it would get easier with time and to keep trying. After a lot of discussion, we ended up deciding to join the gym, the Child Center staff worked with me to create a plan to help ease my daughter into the transition. At first, I’d only leave her for ten minutes at a time. We also did something fun after childcare (swim, park, library program, etc.). Every. Single. Time. I committed to going to the gym every day until it got easier for my daughter. After a few days, it did. The staff would tell me she only got upset when other parents came in. We gradually built up the time so I was able to attend a 60 minute class. We slowly phased out the “incentive” after the gym because, remarkably, going to the gym was fun for her!
It’s only been a few months now and it’s hard to even remember those first few difficult weeks. Now, our daughter is happy to say “Mommy go upstairs!”
Working out gives me an opportunity to clear my head of “mom thoughts” for a few minutes, focus on myself, and show my daughter how important it is to take care of ourselves. The gym has been such a blessing to our family. Getting fit wasn’t the top priority when we signed up, but it’s really benefited everyone. Our daughter skip-runs down the hall, she’s so excited to see her “friends and teachers.” I’ve really enjoyed trying different fitness classes. My husband and I have enjoy quiet moments relaxing in the hot tub after a workout. We’ve even participated in some of the family fun events, a Daddy Daughter Dance and Pool-A-Palooza party.
We were looking for a way to help our daughter get comfortable being with people other than me. What we actually found was a place she looked forward to going to. There are days where I want to skip my workout, but she ASKS to go to the gym. Nap and bedtimes have gone from 10-60 minutes sitting with her until she fell asleep, to simply hugs and kisses and lights out. Our daughter is excited when she has a babysitter come to play. She’s more outgoing at the park and library. She’s found a love for kicking and “scooping” during swim lessons at the gym. Sweetest of all, she seems to have a passion for helping “cheer” other kids when they’re feeling sad. While at childcare, there was a sweet older girl who really took our daughter under her wing and helped her get comfortable. It seems our daughter has that same nature and tries to make people happier when they’re upset.
Having a gym membership is definitely a luxury. It’s a lot of money, but for our family, it’s been worth every penny.
Kelli Northey moved to Scottsdale six years ago, after marrying her college sweetheart in Wisconsin. They haven’t missed the cold, snowy winters yet! She is a mom to a sweet and silly two year old daughter who is always on the go. Their days are filled with fun toddler activities, ranging anywhere from library programs to splashing in their pool. Kelli loves being with family and friends. She enjoys volunteering, party planning, making paper crafts, trying new recipes, and going on family hikes. Kelli is new to blogging, but has loved reading the experience of other SMB contributors during the past two years of motherhood.