> SOUTHERN INDIANA — Even without the stressful board meetings and long commutes, staying at home to raise small children can be a difficult job. With no water cooler and only a diaper genie to gather around, parents who don’t work outside the home have different challenges they face in meeting their fitness needs. When you substitute a chest press by lifting your screaming toddler 20 times, it might be time for a change.
Angela Jackson understands the stress of being a stay-at-home mom. For the past eight years, she has cared for her three children, the youngest of which is 18 months old. An avid runner, the Jeffersonville resident registers for races to motivate her toward completing her fitness goals. Morning workouts suit her best before all the hustle and bustle of life really heats up. She thanks her family for watching the children and giving her time to exercise and have some adult conversation.
“It’s definitely a stress reliever. And for me most of my runs are with a friend. So very rarely am I going out running by myself,” Jackson says. “It’s probably more important for my mental health than my physical health as far as just getting out there and having girl talk and building friendships.”
Fitness instructor Gretchen Bell also knows firsthand how important meeting others can be to those who stay-at-home. Through the Floyd County YMCA Mommy and Me class, Bell helps mothers and fathers reestablish their fitness routine. Babies and toddlers up to 18 months come to the class with their parents to participate in the fitness activities.
“Everything we do in the class, you can do at home as well with your baby,” she says. “A lot of the time, the babies are just fascinated at what mom is doing. We do hold the babies in a lot of exercises and there’s interaction with them.”