Planning Your Family Relocation? Bring Your Gym Bag
Raising two small children 10,000 miles from home, returning to sweat has enabled me to build social circles, keep my sanity, and strengthen myself physically.
Motherhood is hard – plain and simple. Everyone warns you how your life will never be the same again and the extent of your heart feeling like it’s going to explode every day.
What folks fail to explain, however, is how little time you will have for yourself. Although, finding time to care for ourselves in the midst of toddler tantrums, demanding work schedules, soccer practices, crossing off grocery lists, and chipping away at the ever-growing mountain of laundry is vital to our happiness in motherhood.
My husband and I have moved a handful of times. The most recent landed us in Singapore from the U.S. with a 16-month-old son and 6 months pregnant with baby brother. I’ve been a competitive athlete my entire life so, early on, I knew I had to stay consistent with exercise to make this life change flow in a positive light.
1. Group workouts connect people
The first few months of a relocation can be incredibly lonely. Finding your tribe is difficult and exhausting. Instead of sitting in the condo feeling isolated, I decided the only way I was going to expand my social circle in strange territory was to go find it. That was key.
Exercise routes are different for everyone, but joining a gym was crucial for me. Through sport, I have made a variety of friends, which has led to playdates for the kids and dinner dates with the spouses. This has greatly helped integrate our family into our new home country.
2. Sport gives you mental clarity
Yoga, Body Pump, Zumba, cycling, Pilates… these are the phrases that bring me peace. As mothers, we need an outlet for ourselves. Somehow to blow off steam and concentrate at the same time.
Intense sweating allows me to maintain my sanity at home. I am better equipped to deal with the complexities of motherhood. My children are happier when they have a more patient, compassionate, and playful mom.
3. Sweat makes you stronger
In addition to the mental clarity and social benefits, the physical aspect of working out on a continuous basis is paramount. The physical chores of carrying, lifting, changing, bathing, dressing, and swaying are all part of the motherhood gig, but the inexplicable fun of running, swimming, swinging, and climbing are also woven into our everyday tapestry. The energy of my two little boys is astounding so in order to keep their pace I have to keep my stamina on par.
Sport has evolved into an immense part of my everyday life in Singapore. I sleep more soundly and have a greater level of patience and compassion for our children. I find myself wanting to get the boys out of the house, exploring our new home country, and experiencing all that it has to offer.
Finding the time to exercise can be tricky for any mother – especially if you are rocking the role in a foreign land. I make it a priority. I am not perfect or skinny, but I am strong. Strong mentally, physically, and emotionally for my family and, most importantly, myself.
Thank you for the kind words. My hope for this was to spread inspiration and let others know they are not alone in this. I also have a blog which details our expat adventures over the past year and a half, including having a baby abroad. Enjoy!