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Motivating Mom of the Month: Erin Saunders

Meet Motivating Mama Erin! I have had the pleasure of having Erin in a Body Back session, and she is a fixture at DuPont Stroller Strides. The list of things I love about Erin is long, but near the top is that she recently finished her bachelor’s degree! As a mom! As a wife! On her own time! Eeeee! Talk about being a role model for your kids – way to go, Erin.

**Tell us about yourself.

My name is Erin. I am a 24-year old mother of two usually sweet, occasionally rascally, kids. Erik is my bright, bouncing boy who turned four this past February and Emma just turned one, also in February. She keeps me on my toes - if I happen to skip a morning of Stroller Strides I can count on my sweet girl to get me moving throughout the day!

My husband and I met in high school and I was smitten enough to follow him into the life of an Active Duty spouse. After getting pregnant soon after we were married and having our son just before turning 20, finishing my degree seemed like a long shot but I am proud that recently I finished my B.A! We will (sadly) be leaving Washington in the next few weeks for our new duty station in Colorado. Stroller Strides and the FIT4MOM family is a huge part of why this departure is so heartbreaking. The moms I have met and the bonds I have made with them as fellow moms and as friends are bonds that I am sad to see come to a close ... for now.

[Note from Kristin: Uhhh, yeah, even if you wanted to get away Erin – once you are in the FIT4MOM family you are a lifer!]

**How did you learn about FIT4MOM?

I first found out about FIT4MOM back in 2011 after I saw a small ad in a parenting magazine. I attended my first class Stroller Strides class a few months after Erik turned one and I immediately fell in love!

**Moment of truth: What did you think of those first few classes?

The immediate warmth and open hearts within the group impressed me. I always find it hard to walk into new situations feeling completely confident, but the moms of FIT4MOM really put each other at ease. There is no judgment, no competition – it’s all about you and what you need. I like that all of the workouts are always shown at multiple levels. Getting back into an active and fit lifestyle was, and is, something I struggle with as a mom. Before becoming a mom, I never had to put forth extra effort! I was always fairly athletic and becoming a mom threw me into a whole new element. I needed to keep my health, both in body and mind, in the right place for my kids. FIT4MOM has provided me with the opportunities to do so!

**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 – like school, kids, hubby, family?

[Once again, if you needed additional proof of the balancing act of motherhood, this interview happened over Facebook Messenger while Erin managed kiddo meltdowns.]

It is CONSTANT struggle for me. I won't tell you that I achieve balance, because I don't. I try, but I don't always succeed. I take it literally one day at a time.

I try to make smart choices about what I consume and my daily activity. There are definitely Mondays when I wake up and have a horrible case of the Mondays! Those are the days when I have to shove myself out of bed and get my sweethearts and myself to Stroller Strides. The funny thing is I NEVER regret the great workout I get from Stroller Strides!

The constant changes in my family’s schedule makes it hard to balance. As a new mom, I found myself trying to accomplish every little thing that I was told was "important." As I grew into motherhood, I realized I needed to do what was important for me, for my family and for OUR lifestyle. Taking everything a day at a time helps me feel less overwhelmed and less likely to simply cave when my week, month, or even year is hectic! This is not to say I don't have my moments of anxiety that everything is about to fall apart ... but these moments have become a (thankfully) rare part of motherhood for me.

** You are a fabulous role model for your two littles! What piece of advice do you have for other moms who want to live healthier or take more time for themselves?

Thank you :)

My advice? DO IT! For some reason I find that moms, myself included, don't think they are "allowed" to take a time out. Up until recently I always found myself thinking "I am a stay at home mom ... this is what I want ... I don't need to take mental breaks." It seems as though moms have a false sense of what they are "supposed" to do. It’s okay to need a few hours to yourself, a few hours with your girlfriends or just a few hours wandering around the mall by yourself. Take the time! You are able to take better care of your family when you are well taken care of mentally. Wanting to take time for yourself is not selfish. I see it is a necessity to the life of a strong mom!

**Most favorite FIT4MOM exercise? Least favorite FIT4MOM exercise?

My favorite exercise would have to be wall sits (is it terrible that, when exercising, my favorite thing has to do with sitting?). My least favorite? Surely those darn burpees!

**Is there anything else you want to add for your FIT4MOM family to read?

While you are busy taking care of everyone else around you, remember to take care of yourself, too ... maybe even let someone else take care of YOU for a change.

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