Millenials Pursuing their Dreams: Stay at Home Mom Returns to Competitive Gymnastics

  • Today we are getting to know Monica, mom to two little cuties who is a fitness coach and gymnast.

    Describe what it is that you are doing.

    Gymnastics.

    When did you first become interested in gymnastics?

    I have been a die hard fan of the sport since I was very young, 4 or 5 years old. I tried to mimic the girls I saw on t.v.; and got quite daring with my acrobatics within the home. In an attempt to help me stay safe, my parents signed me up for classes when I turned 7 years old.

    What inspired you to pick it back up again?

    I felt encouraged by the strength and flexibility I was able to regain from a workout program I used after I gave birth to my 2nd little boy. Initially I just wanted to loose baby weight, but the effectiveness of the program and the excellent nutrition it encouraged me to use made me feel so good that I felt up to playing around with basic acrobatic skills in my living room while playing around with my boys. Once again I became more daring with the skills I was trying, and outgrew my home gym. A local gym offered adult gymnastics classes, and I thought I’d go in just to play around. I had no intention of taking more than a few classes as my primary job is always taking care of my family. However, the gym offered me a job working there, and I was able to take advantage of the employee benefits. God seemed to be opening doors for me.

    How do you make the logistics work with being a stay at home mom? What does a typical day look like for you?

    It’s a lot less complicated than I imagined it would be. And in all honestly, I think the fact that I have “less time” encourages me to really make the most of what I am blessed with.

    My gym time is my “fun time”. I practice skill training 4 hours a week at the gym; all the exercise that I can do at home, I do it before my family wakes up, in the afternoon when my kids are taking a nap, or occasionally when Josh is able to watch them for me. Josh is very generous with helping me, but I do my best to not interfere with his schedule and personal goals.

    On a typical day, I get up at 4:00am to work out for 1 1/2 2 hours. I have two programs that I’m using right now (The Master’s Hammer & Chisel as well as the 21 Day Fix Extreme); I do my best to be done with my workout by 6am. It gets a lot harder to fit it in (especially effectively) once the boys wake up. 6-8am If the boys are awake, I spend time relaxing with them, getting them breakfast, or just playing. I have to divorce myself from work related activities before they wake up in order to set the tone for the day. If they’re not awake yet, I try to spend time in prayer and personal development.  After playing with my kids and engaging with them in a variety of activities, I head out from 3-8pm to work out/work at the gym.

     What were any fears or concerns that held you back from pursuing your dream for a time?

    I had a lot of concerns about rejoining the sport in any serious manner… a lot of which involved taking good care of my family. I never wanted to place them 2nd in favor of pursuing pursuits/goals of my own. I’ve found the opposite to be true: pursuing my passion makes me a better wife and mother. It also encourages better communication and intimacy between myself and my spouse.

    It’s so different now that I’m an adult, there are some things that are more challenging, but a lot of what I’m doing is easier. My family is my greatest blessing. They are what drive and motivate my goals. When your “why” is strong, your drive is strong, and your goals are strong. As a kid, I just wanted to be really good because I wanted to go to the Olympics. Now, my focus is entirely internal. I want to be the best person I can be so my kids can have someone to look up to and model future women on. The gymnastics is a by product of my internal drive to be the best version of myself for my family, and ultimately a light to the rest of the world.

    Josh’s support was really important to me, and I’ve been blessed to have his love and encouragement with gymnastics. He enjoys seeing me be able to do what I love because it makes me happy. Because it has made me more joyful, my life has become more blessed, and more opportunities keep opening themselves up for us.

    What are some of your proudest accomplishments?

    If you asked me this question 10 years ago, I would’ve responded something like “Being State Champ on Beam 3 years in a row” or “Winning 2nd on Bars at Nationals”, but now nothing gives me more joy than just being near my children. They are thrilled and excited for me. They love to workout with me and talk about being “helfee” and “stwong”. I love this more than anything. Even if they’re only talking about it right now, talking about things helps create a healthy mindset for the future.

    If I can help provide a strong healthy example for how to take care of their body and how to love themselves now, I believe they will come out with real, virtuous self-love. The kind that allows them to honestly love others and lead with humility, respect, firmness, and strength. This kind of leadership is always in demand. And I can’t think of any calling/vocation that doesn’t demand these qualities. With all the narcissism and self-loathing present in most leadership today, I can only hope that I am able to help them set a new tone for the future with my own example today.

    What does success look like to you?

    I love a good win. I can’t lie. I love the material assurance, and verbal human affirmation that I’ve worked hard and done the right things to get to my goals. It feels good. Through my years involved in gymnastics and other sports though, I’ve learned that often these things aren’t great indicators of true success. Team work is success. Working with my spouse toward specific goals is success. Peace with my family is success. Loving my children and providing a good example for them is success. Good character is success. The things of this world fade quickly,

    What advice do you have for people who are considering making some change to pursue their dreams/ goals?

    Be patient with yourself. You are human and you will fail a lot if you want to succeed. Consistency is so key. More importantly, never stop praying about the decisions you make. Being open to the grace of God isn’t a dramatic one time occurrence, but a constant, ever-changing one. Most people don’t get struck by lightning like St. Paul.

    Be focused on your goals, but also be open to the fact that the direction of your goals can change too. Your approach/attitude toward this truth is often the determining factor in whether you will be at peace/happy in pursuing your dreams, or you are anxious/worried/unhappy while pursuing them.

    Thank you so much, Monica!  It was great to hear from you!  

    If you want to see what Monica is up to, including videos of her flipping around check out her facebook page https://www.facebook.com/FlippinAwesomeMom/?fref=ts .  It blows my mind on a regular basis, and provides tips for living a healthy lifestyle.

    Do you include a fitness element to your schedule?  What are your favorite ways to stay active?

     

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