Being a mother is one of the most rewarding things in life, but few would argue that it is also one of the most challenging.
We are no longer known by our first names but are often referred to in variations of Mummy, Ma, Mama, Muuuuuuuum…. When they are young, sleep becomes a distant memory, as does the ability to have a daily shower or make rational adult conversation. It doesn’t matter what we are doing, there is always a little pair of eyes watching. Privacy? What’s that? Then as they get older, we are busy supporting their needs, encouraging their success, and all of this with the sudden realisation that we are no longer cool. I was cool once. Wasn’t I?
We devote so much of ourselves to our families that somewhere along the line it is easy to forget that our own happiness impacts directly on those we love the most.
Exercise is good for our health and emotional well being, good for our waistlines too. However results from a recent survey show that many mothers prioritise family, cooking and housework over keeping themselves fit. 61% of these women admitted to feeling guilty about exercising, feeling as if they are neglecting their responsibilities by spending their free time on themselves.
Experts say that children with active parents, particularly mothers, are more likely to be active themselves. Children, who have positive sporting experiences early in life, are also more likely to prioritise sport and activity later in life.
So, with all that positive press, why aren’t more mums getting involved with some sort of sport?
GKR Karate is a family owned business and for many decades has specialised in creating an environment where everyone can participate in this style of martial arts. Interestingly, there has been a recent surge of busy mums, no longer content to drop their children off at class, but now lining up to participate in the lesson, becoming dedicated and valued members of the club.
Don’t just take my word for it, read on for some testimonials from just a few of Region 29’s Dojo Mamas.
“Karate mum life is lots of things to our household. It’s dirty uniforms, it’s being a taxi service, it’s nurturing the falls and injuries but most of all it’s watching my son grow and develop skills not only in martial arts but important life skills as well, such as the ability to stay focused on a task, to overcome nerves and an increase in self-confidence. He’s grown from the boy being bullied at school to the boy that stood up to his bullies. To watch this growth and development of character is the best thing to have come out of this experience. Being a karate mum has been one of the best journeys I have been on.” ~ Alys T.
“Karate has had a big impact on my life both as a woman and a mother. I’m fit, healthy and confident which is fantastic. But more importantly, I get to train alongside my children, rather than just watching from the sidelines. Even though we are at different levels in our karate journey, we are still making that journey together. As our children get older, they don’t want to hang out with mum but karate is the exception to that rule and very few sports can offer that dynamic.” ~ Karen K.
“Training in karate over the last 7 years has given me the tools I needed to be a better version of myself. It has taught me resilience, patience, understanding and perseverance. As a mum to an Autistic child, these qualities have helped immensely in my family. Karate has given me the strength to push through the hard days and given me a space where I can ‘empty my cup’ and fill it with ‘me time’ – as a busy mum, this is huge! I have formed lifelong friendships and these continue to grow. Life would be a lot more stressful without karate.” ~ Mel S.
“I confess, I love karate! I wasn’t sure what I was expecting from my first lesson back in June 2018 but here I am and I can officially say that karate is part of my life. With support from my family, I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy training several times a week, although this isn’t always easy with a full time job and two kids. Karate has taught me that if you want to achieve something, whether it be in the dojo or in life, the first step is always the hardest. Then it doesn’t matter how long it takes, just never give up.” ~ Cris C.
“I finally joined karate after being a parent on the sidelines. I thought karate would be great for my fitness, I would lose some weight and develop some much needed balance and coordination. Sure, it has done all of those things but what I didn’t anticipate was the deeper emotional connection my son and I would share. One of the aspects I love most about being a karate mum is the ability to participate alongside my son in a shared sport. My son is on his blue belt so a fair bit in front of me. One of the things I appreciate is how this has changed the power dynamics in our relationship. He gives me feedback and helps me practice at home. My child is more expert than me and that is wonderfully empowering for an adolescent child! This unanticipated outcome has brought a depth to our relationship and helped him flourish in his confidence. At a time when adolescent males usually move away from their parents seeking privacy, autonomy and independence; we are training together multiple times a week. This keeps us close and connected as mother and son with lots of wonderfully rich and attuned conversations about all things in life.” ~ Kylie C.
“As a woman, karate gives me a confidence I didn’t know I had in myself. I’m usually quite shy but I really love and enjoy getting up in front of people and showing off my kata in class and at tournaments. I also love the great community I’ve become involved with. The lovely people I’ve met, the friendships I’ve made with other students and instructors, make me feel like I am somebody again, not just someone’s mum and wife. Work can be stressful at times, but a karate workout is a great distraction.” ~ Karen H.
“I think every mother, stretch marks and all, has a beautiful soul. We have beautiful hearts because of the way we protect our family and we have brains too because of the way we persist when we don’t succeed. We use the strength of other mamas, their support and experience, to help us move forward when at times we can’t do it alone. The courage and persistence it takes to do karate has brought us all together to form a sisterhood. What could be better than striving to achieve a black belt with your besties – support, love, laughter and exercise. It helps us to be physically and mentally healthy. What more could a mama need?” ~ Michelle M.
So, if you’ve been procrastinating about doing something for yourself, put aside your guilt. Who wouldn’t want a fitter, happier and healthier you? With GKR karate your whole family can enjoy the experience.
You have much more to gain, than you have to lose.