By Anne Harms
Hello! My name is Anne and my husband Tim and I live in Michigan with our two children. Landon is 3 and Nicole is 2. I am a high school social studies teacher and originally from upstate New York. I lived in the Florida panhandle for 8 years and in 2012 left the sun, sand and gulf breezes for four seasons and to be closer to both of our families. I, like many moms, find that I am in a constant game of trying to balance the important things in my life—and that includes taking care of myself.
I used to run- 5ks, half marathons and even one full marathon. However, somewhere between our move to the north and after the birth of our second child, I decided I needed a change after a long break of inactivity. It was in June 2014 when I tried crossfit for the first time.
I had heard plenty of things about it, most of which had turned me off. I was 9 months post-partum and none of my attempts at getting into shape were working. I figured I had nothing to lose.
I could barely lift my arms after the first workout, but something told me I had to keep going. I eventually found myself showing up 5-6 days per week, making gym-friends, buying the official gear, tracking everything on a specialized app and making “GAINS”. In October 2014 I climbed a rope all the way to the top- for the first time in my entire life! By January of 2015, I could do push-ups (as prescribed—no knees on the floor!). In August I competed in my first partner competition and last month, I competed on my own in the Festivus Games and won 1st place in the novice division.
I love the gym that I was fortunate to find. They are accommodating to all fitness levels and provide comradery similar to what I had when I was an active runner in Florida. In a one-hour, small group class we complete strength training and then a WOD (Workout Of the Day). Every day the workouts are different and continue to challenge me physically and mentally. Sometimes the mental challenge is more demanding that just lifting heavy weight.
Many times I am asked how I manage to find the time for the gym with a full-time job and two toddlers. The best answer I can provide is, “I just have to.” I have to balance the things that are important. Taking care of myself is part of the puzzle, and I have to prioritize that. Some days and weeks are harder than others, but it has taken me 35 years to realize how crucial it is that I set time aside for myself even in the midst of a busy career and active family.
I leave work every day at 3:30 (which still leaves me over an hour after the students leave to get my grading and planning done). I attend the 4pm crossfit class during the week and pick the kids up from daycare as soon as it is finished. On weekends, I can go the first thing in the morning while the kids are still lounging in their pajamas and making waffles with my husband.
In my mind I imagine a graphic organizer (teacher alert!) and I try to fill the sections of it by dividing my time effectively (it’s not always equal) among each category. Maintaining a balance is a part of finding happiness- happiness within ourselves, our families and careers. I’m always on the hunt, and I hope to continue to share more with you about this journey.