I was looking at some recent pictures of myself the other day when it hit me.

I was hiding in them.

If I’m not holding a baby, or two, in front of me, I’ve reduced myself to a floating head in photos these days.

Enough is enough. I no longer want to be a round mom. I want to be a fit mom.

There really isn’t any excuse anymore. The twins are going to be 10 months old this month and instead of filling my free time with trolling on social media, I should be using that time to better myself so I can be a better mom.

When the twins were 4 months old and the doctor gave me the all clear to resume an active lifestyle, I was taking daily walks with the kids. Then, once the heat of summer rolled in, I started to get lazy and it kind of snowballed from there. My eyebrows started to get bushier, my roots were getting out of control, my nails were no longer manicured and I was still living in my maternity clothes. As much as it pains me to admit this, I’m pretty sure I bought a pair of the dreaded “mom jeans” and I just lobbed off eight inches of my hair and went back to my “natural” hue.

Man, that rabbit hole is really hard to climb out of.

I knew my body and my priorities were going to change after pregnancy — after all, I did carry and deliver healthy twins — I just didn’t expect it to take this long or this much effort to bounce back. I saw myself slowly, but surely, letting myself go and losing myself. However, in my mind it was totally justifiable because the twins’ needs supersede my own. Excuses used to roll off my tongue so effortlessly: I don’t have time to exercise; it’s too hot out; they aren’t sleeping well; I can’t afford a gym membership let alone child care for two. You name it; I had an excuse for it.

Until now.

Usually, group exercise classes are not my thing, but I have finally found something that suits my needs and I don’t need a sitter. Three days a week I meet up with fellow moms at Lion’s Club Park, kids and strollers in tow, for a killer workout. My kids get fresh air and I get to work out with my kids and socialize with other moms.

My goal isn’t to fit in a two-piece bathing suit; it’s to be healthy and strong and to set a good example for my kids. I want to be able to chase them through a park without being winded. I want to be the mom that jumps in the pool first and gets her hair wet. I want to show my children that having fun isn’t reliant on physical perfection and that beauty presents itself in many ways. Since healthy eating and exercise habits start at home, I need to practice what I preach and get my act together so I don’t raise a couple of couch potatoes.

For now, my twin-terage gets a real kick out of mom huffing and puffing up the hill, but If getting my “me” back keeps them entertained, it’s a win-win all around.

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

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