Once you become a parent, life becomes less about you and your wants and more about your children and their needs.

Like the old saying goes, children will make your “bankroll smaller, your home happier, your clothes shabbier, the past forgotten, and the future worth living for.” What they should add to this is your patience grows stronger, your ability to run on no sleep increases and the amount of things you can accomplish during nap time is quite remarkable.

As a parent, and like most parents, I want my kids to have it better than I did growing up, but in the same breath I want to enjoy things right along with them. If I want my kids to eat healthy and live an active life, I need to lead by example.

Finding time to fit fitness in my chaotic life seemed impossible at first, but like most things that you want, if there is a will there is a way. I joined a stroller group — trust me, it’s no walk in the park where I can exercise with my kids and interact with other moms. I also just recently committed to an eight-week program designed for mom’s to get their bodies back.

The kicker here is this workout is at nighttime and it’s kid free. When I heard about the program, I was quick to say I couldn’t do it, but my husband urged me to commit to some “me” time and he would hold down the fort twice a week.

Sold.

At first, I was reluctant to leave my squad because bedtime is still a struggle, but my mother reassured me everyone would still be alive when I got home and that my husband, who can lead men into war, is more than capable of watching his own children.

Grandmother’s are very wise.

With two weeks of that under my belt, my anxiety to leave my kids is getting easier to manage and for the first time in a long time I can just focus on myself, a super rare treat. At first it pained me not being the one to put the kids to bed, but when I come home from a brutal workout and I peak into their room and they are fast asleep, tooshies in the air and thumbs in their mouths, my heart is healed.

I took the ultimate big step over the weekend and left my twinjas for almost five whole hours.

My girlfriend asked me if I wanted to run a 5K, and before I could say no, she said there would be a glass of wine waiting for me at the finish line.

My mother didn’t raise a fool.

So after a scenic, at times scary, drive into Florence, my worries melted away once we started running through the vineyard, taking in some beautiful scenery. As promised, there was a nice glass of red wine waiting for us at the end, along with good music and good grub.

Naturally, I kept checking in with my husband asking for proof of life photos, and he assured me all was well. A glass of wine and a few photos later, I found myself having a good time.

A few hours later when I walked in the front door, the kids hustled over to me and grabbed my legs.

They actually missed me!

My husband looked very relaxed and that’s when he spilled the beans. While I was gone, they took a three hour nap!

Of course, when I am home, they go on a nap strike, but the minute I leave them, naps all around.

I just may leave them alone with their father more often, but don’t hold your breath just yet.

Vanessa Lynch is a former metro editor at the Killeen Daily Herald. An Army spouse, she and her husband live in Harker Heights with their two children.

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