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Motivating Mom of the Month: Kat Alves

Meet our first Motivating Mama, Kat! After moving to Olympia, where she knew no one, and having her son, Kat has built an incredibly strong community through FIT4MOM. She inspires me personally and I just knew that she would be the perfect lady to kick off our new Motivating Mama Monday feature on the blog! We will get to learn about another one of you fabulous ladies the first Monday of each month.

**Tell us about yourself.

I'm Kat and I’ll turn 30 at the end of June. My son, Garrett, is 19 months old and full of energy. I have a bachelor’s degree in fine arts with an emphasis in sculpture, photography and painting. After college, I worked numerous office jobs and hated it. I met my husband Jason in college. He works as a program manager for the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs. I'm blessed to be a stay at home mom - I love it most days.

**How did you learn about FIT4MOM?

I saw an ad for Stroller Strides at my OBGYN office when I was pregnant. Before we moved to Olympia, I was doing prenatal swim classes – they are a lot like water aerobics. Those were amazing, but I knew I wanted to workout after I had the baby.

**It seems like you were pretty active before you came to FIT4MOM. What did you think of those first few classes (you can be honest!)?

I knew about Stroller Strides before I had Garrett, but it took me a while to actually get to the classes. I had a really hard time with postpartum mood issues. It took Jason finally telling me to get the hell out of the house before I actually went. I was so nervous. We were still holding classes at the Boys & Girls Club when I went to my first class. Garrett was about 4 months old, I think. He did not do well in the stroller, but I put him in my carrier and he passed out while I was doing jumping jacks. The class was tough but felt good, and it was nice sitting down after class and talking to some of the other moms. And knowing I wasn't alone.

**It is hard to make time for yourself and your health when you are balancing all the other priorities in your life. How have you been able to stick with making healthy choices for yourself while still managing all your other responsibilities?[To give you an idea of how Kat manages everything, we conducted this interview over Facebook while Garrett napped and she helped her husband sort through old football cards. She is a multi-tasking machine.]

Honestly, my husband keeps me going. He pushes me to get out of the house. He says that I'm a much nicer and happier person after working out! I have bipolar disorder, so staying sane is super important.

My typical morning on a Stroller Strides day starts with waking up at 6:30 to get Jason to work by 8 am. Then Garrett and I try to figure out how to waste the hour and a half before class - usually we go to the mall playground (anyone is welcome to join us there!). It helps that I've made friends there who give me a bit of peer pressure to get to class! Then after Stroller Strides, we rush home so Garrett can go down for a nap. That hour or two is my time, and I do my best not to do laundry or clean anything.

There are days where I don't know how I get stuff done. A big thing for me is making sure I do the art I love most - it keeps me sane. My husband helps by giving me some "me" time while he makes dinner, even though it can be hard to take that time. I have to force myself to not clean or pick up stuff! But I'm grateful he gives me that time.

**You are setting such a great example for Garrett. What advice do you have for other moms who want to get healthy or take more time for themselves?

Umm, just do it? Ha! I know it sounds silly, but I make up excuses all the time not to go, but sometimes you just have to do it. And I also can SEE the changes that have happened to my body because of regular workouts. I like them and I know they don’t happen by not moving. It also helps your relationship with your partner – you feel more confident and happy, and it is too easy to let that part of your life fall by the wayside in the name of raising your child. When I meet other moms at the mall or anywhere else, I usually tell them to come try it. It's fun, it entertains the kids and you meet other moms. I didn't know anybody when we moved here, and now I have a group of close girlfriends and our kids play together.

I don't know what I would do without those connections. As moms, we need support from each other. I can get as much support from my husband as he can give, but I don't think he can fully fathom what I go through to be with a toddler all day. I'm lucky we have some family nearby, but the gals I've met at Stroller Strides have definitely become my family. So as much as I don't want to do what feels like a million burpees or mountain climbers, I go to see my friends and get the hell out of the house.

**Is there anything else you want to add?

I just want to make sure that Garrett is healthy; I'm learning more and more that he mimics EVERYTHING we do. So while I think he probably watches too much TV (which we're working on), I also know he sees me exercising at least three times each week.

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Thank you Kat and Jason for participating and being a part of FIT4MOM Oly. We are so grateful to have you in our community. -love your FIT4MOM team :)

Body Back: Fusion Olympia
302 Columbia St NE
Olympia, WA 98501

Stroller Strides (Late Spring-Fall): Pioneer Park
5801 Henderson Blvd SE
Tumwater, WA 98501

Stroller Strides (Late Winter-Spring): NW High Intensity Training Center
1202 Black Lake Blvd Suite E
Olympia, WA 98502

Fit4Baby: Babies'R Us
1000 Cooper Point Rd SW
Olympia, WA 98502