Last week at Stroller Warriors, a friend mentioned how she loved seeing the SW members with multiple children— the patience and ability to multitask inspired her! Our chat at Stroller Warriors reminded me of my own journey through motherhood and how much Stroller Warriors has played an integral part of my growth as a parent.
My Stroller Warriors journey began in Germany at Ramstein Air Base. It was my first time joining a fitness group geared towards parents and specifically for military families. I was a bowl full of nerves and excitement at my first Stroller Warriors workout— so nervous that my nerves jolted into the pavement at full speed as I lost my way around base housing! My daughter and I, along with our SW friends, explored the local area via running, stopped at local German bäckereis, and dined at local restaurants for lunch after SW workouts. I was happy to have friends to help me with my broken German and thanks to my SW friends, I felt very much like a local. My SW friends took care of me when my husband deployed— welcomed me to partake in their family traditions during the holidays, dropped off soup when my daughter and I got sick, and sat with me through my ultrasound appointments during my pregnancy. On the day that my son was born, I was enroute to meet SW friends at a local pool, but quickly redirected to the hospital. My SW friends were the first people my husband called when my second child was born. Most people have their family members to offer a hand after a new baby arrives— I had my SW friends. They brought meals to our family, offered to help push the double stroller, watched my oldest as I loaded belongings in and out of the car, stopped with me to take nursing breaks during a run, and held my colicky baby so that I could finish my coffee. You name it and they helped! My Stroller Warrior friends guided me through the transition of parenting one child to parenting two.
Fast forward to life in Virginia. I was thrilled to find an active SW chapter at Fort Belvoir. My children immediately befriended the other mini-warriors, and I was excited to be with my people—my SW people. Two of my SW friends haled from the Boston area, which made me feel closer to home! They understood where I grew up, and the obsession with Dunks! During this assignment I had my 3rd child. My postpartum journey with my daughter was vastly different than my journey with the older 2 children— I did not feel like myself. Physically, I was exhausted, and my physical postpartum recovery took much longer. Emotionally, I did not feel like myself— I cried, felt lost, and lacked the motivation to do the activities I loved. One morning after walking at the SW workout- at the track to be exact- the tears came out. My SW friends…THEY WERE THERE. They were the wall that that I leaned on through postpartum depression— providing support and helping me transition from a mom of two to a mom of three. Parenting takes a village. My Stroller Warriors village was at my door before I opened it. My village swapped turns with me so that I could take part in hill repeats— we took turns watching the mini warriors while a group tackled the hills. My village ran with me and kept a watchful eye while I pushed the double BOB and had a scootering child blazing down the Mount Vernon Trail. My village took the time to meet at Wegmans for coffee to chat about adult things while the kids played at the train table. They embraced me when I needed comfort. They helped me get my groove back.
When I arrived at Charleston, only one kiddo came along with me to SW events as the older two were at school. She loved to help the younger mini warriors make it to the top of the small climbing wall at the park or guide them to the top of steps— ensuring that each child safely made it all the way. This lasted for a single season. This fall, all three of my children are in school— no more strollers, scooters, or bikes to load into the car. I bring my furry friend along with me to SW workouts. A new stage of parenthood to share with my Stroller Warrior friends.