This post brought to you by American Heart Association. The content and opinions expressed below are that of My Mom Made That.

I have a secret to tell you.  I hope you won’t share it too widely.  I’m going to be 40 this year!   {{Gulp}} There. I said it.  4-0.  And for the first time, I feel old.  I’ve got grey hairs appearing.  My skin doesn’t have the same elasticity it had fifteen years ago.  If the average lifespan of an American woman is 80 years, I’m about to enter the second half of my life.  That’s really scary.  And I have two little kids.  With the Big One, I was a young mom compared to the other moms at the school.  With the Littles, I am going to be one of those old moms.  And I really want to make sure that I am able to do everything for them that I can do for the Big One.  And I wonder if I’ll be a different grandmother for the Big One’s children than for the Littles’ kids.  Will I be able to travel with all of my grandchildren?   Even the Peanut’s youngest?
My Mom Made That: My Three Reasons Why-- Heartful Living for My Children

That got me to thinking.  Thinking about what the second half of my life would look like, and what I wanted it to shape into.  It hasn’t alway been a conscious conversation in my head, rather I have been feeling that approaching birthday with a fair amount of dread and worry.  Then I ended up needed surgery on my ankle in December.  At my follow-up appointment when the doctor removed my boot, and told me that I had choices– physical therapy or regular, gentle exercise.  Here’s another secret– I hate to exercise.  I’ve been a sedentary soul from birth.  About the closest thing that I do to exercise is wear yoga pants.

However, I’ve also done the Physical Therapy thing, a lot due to my ankle, and I didn’t want to go back.  I knew it would be too hard to juggle with my current Mama Schedule.  So I agreed to exercise regularly, at least 3 times a week, and I found a gym with childcare.  It is a women’s only gym, so it’s very low key and no stress.  And I started going.  I went that first day– in yoga pants.   And I found that while I was on the bicycle, without the kids, and just with myself, even though I was moving, I found peace.
My Mom Made That: My Three Reasons Why-- Heartful Living for My Children
 And let’s be honest, Mamas need peace.  We need it a lot.  I left the gym that first day feeling good about myself, but most interestingly, also feeling relaxed.  So I went back, and I worked out a little longer, and felt even calmer.  So I kept going back, and while I’m definitely not doing anything crazy (after all I have two bad ankles), I’m moving and grooving.
And sleeping better.
And feeling happier.
And having more energy.
It makes me wonder if this is what those exercise fanatics have been talking about all of these years.
So while I was pedaling and trying yoga (in my yoga pants), I got to thinking that maybe I could do this small thing.  A small thing that was just focused on me and improving my overall well-being.
My Mom Made That: My Three Reasons Why-- Heartful Living for My Children
So here’s my third secret.  This one is top secret, so don’t share it.  I’m going to try to go to the gym 12 times each month.  (I’m going with a monthly goal because there are some weeks better than others with kids and activities.)    While I’m doing something for my own wellbeing, when I sit back, my three reasons why I want to do this are those three noisy, messy boys.  The very people I am seeking peace and quiet from in the gym.
It’s not just about getting healthier and getting active.  It’s about being a better mom.  The way my sleep, stress, and mood have improved, I know there are ripple effects of becoming more active.
At the end of the day and for the rest of my life, my children will be the people that make me catch my breath and hold my heart.  They are my heart, which is why I want to make sure that I’m trying to improve the health of my heart.
My Mom Made That: My Three Reasons Why-- Heartful Living for My Children

There is this quote by Elizabeth Stone that I think describes motherhood better than any other.  I think it is so appropriate for this month of February, Heart Month– having kids is like having your heart outside of your body.  As a mother, your most treasured and valuable parts of yourself are out there, exposed and vulnerable to the world.  Remembering the quote inspired me to make this free printable.  Hopefully, you’ll like it.

And I can’t help but wonder if being a grandmother feels the same.  Like more and more of my heart will be out there in the wide world.  So, I had best keep it healthy and beating, so that I can share that noisy, messy, chaotic life with them.  The American Heart Association has put together a wonderful website called Life Is Why that is filled with recipes, tips and tricks to making sure that your mother’s heart is healthy and strong.  You can also check out their Pinterest board for more ideas.

Does motherhood feel like your heart is walking outside of your body?  What do you do to keep it healthy?

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