I used to dread the word. Exhausting. Something I had to do. Burn calories. Never enough. Never correct. Never right.

For so many years I have had the same twisted relationship with exercise as I did with food. It was never a tool that I used in any healthy way.

Earlier this year, with Felicity so very ill, I had a major wake up call. My daughter is likely going to need significant assistance throughout her life. She is 17 months old and immobile. She depends on someone else for everything.

One day I woke up and thought, “what if I wind up sick”

Stress had done unkind things to my body. I never felt great. I didn’t hate my body it just was last on a long list of things I had to take care of. It wasn’t a priority. The health of everyone else came before mine and by the end of the day I was too exhausted to do anything else except eat ice cream and sit in bed. Tapped out. Tired.

That day I woke up and thought, what if I try something new. What if instead of sitting around feeling like crap I get up and take a walk. I might still feel like crap but at least I’ll have tried something different.

So I walked. Every day for a few weeks. And I noticed that I suddenly felt more like I mattered. My needs became important. My health started to come into my mind on the list of things I had to worry about.

In May I got an exercise bike. At first I was so out of shape and my thinking was still not quite right. I’d do 10 minutes then berate myself for not being able to do more.

Slowly, I started to think well, I did 10 minutes more today than I did a month ago. Well I did 2 minutes more today than I did yesterday.

I noticed my head felt clearer. I woke up excited to move my body. Not to burn calories. Not to lose weight. Not to change anything about myself aside from my thinking. I decided that I mattered. I decided that, on the list of things I have to worry about, my health is one worthy of space.

It’s been a few months. I’ve rode that bike daily. Sometimes grueling exhausting 75 minute rides. Sometimes short 30 minute rides. Sometimes twice a day. It’s not dictated by any goal. It’s dictated by how I feel. Physically and mentally. I listen my my body and mind and do the next right thing.

This blog isn’t about exercise. It’s not about how often or how much I ride my bike. It’s not about when or how I choose to move. It’s not about my size or shape or weight.

This blog is about me. Deciding I matter. Deciding that on a list of things a mile long I deserve to take up some space. My needs are important. We as moms always put ourselves last. We don’t have to. We matter. We deserve to give ourselves permission to matter. We deserve to take time to do the things that make us feel good. Make us feel alive.

Today, I want you to think about your place on the list of things. Can you bump it up a notch? Can you make room for yourself? Can you take 5 minutes?

You deserve it.

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