Editor's note: Kendra is blogging about being a mom trying to rebound from the coronavirus pandemic at My Rebound by FOX 17. She is married with four kids: a 1-year-old daughter, 2-year-old son, 5-year-old son, 10-year-old daughter and 16-year-old bonus son. She is also the owner and lead fitness coach of Allegro Coaching in Grand Rapids, which she founded in 2009. She lives in Tallmadge Township.
Being a mom is the hardest and most rewarding job in the world. I chose to become a mom 10 years ago, the same year I decided to leave my secure job in the insurance world and start a small business from scratch.
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From a very early age, I knew I wanted to help people; I just didn’t know how. I went to Calvin College, and after quickly realizing journalism was not for me, I landed on a degree in exercise science. After all, I grew up the youngest of three kids, playing sports every single day and trying to keep up with my older brother and sister. It was the perfect blend of studying exercise with helping people to get healthy in life.
Prior to this global pandemic, I was running a successful small business called Allegro Coaching, a fitness studio with a large corporate wellness presence in Grand Rapids. We had over 20 employees, with specialties ranging from group fitness, personal training, dietetic specialty and health coaching. In fact, we were having an awesome start to the year.
I was also running myself ragged, trying to manage being both a boss mama and a mama to four small humans and a bonus son. Our kids range from age 1-15, and it’s a full-time gig. Two in diapers, two in elementary school and one finishing his first year of high school.
I have given many presentations on work-life balance and stress management, but these past few months has been a reality show of me trying to navigate those same principles in everyday life. Like many of you, I quickly became a stay-at-home mom, trying to manage a delicate balance of home schooling with a business that was quickly going under. And the most ironic part was that I never wanted to be a stay-at-home parent. I thought staying at home meant I could not live out my dreams.
To say these past few months have been an emotional roller coaster would be an understatement. It has been an abrupt shift to what really matters in life. Yes, I am fighting every single day for my business to soon re-open and to pick up the pieces of which employees want to actually come back to work, but I have also found this strangely new peace of freedom at home. Sleeping in more, defining what is actually on our family’s schedule, swapping make-up for sweatpants and just being fully present. It has been good for my soul.
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Of course, we are living a huge part of history in the moment. Of course, it’s hard, and I give myself permission to have temper tantrums like my 2-year-old. But maybe this gift of time is helping us all realize what really matters in life. Maybe this “pause” in the everyday busy is allowing us, as working moms, to finally re-evaluate what actually brings us true happiness. While I am really good at what I do, this gift of time is something I will never get back again and for that I am forever grateful. I can either choose to be bitter and blame the world around me, or I can choose to lean into this gift and make the best of it.
Attitude is everything. I am going into the rest of this year, one day at a time. I choose to start my day with intention now. Who do I want to be today and what needs my attention the most today. That’s the thing with slowing down. It actually allows you to let go of the things that were not serving you in life and lean into the things that will help you grow as a person.
Let’s do this thing called the new normal. There are so many blessings in the grief process, if you are willing to slow down enough to listen.