I can count on one hand the amount of things I love more than I love Zumba. Zumba and me go way back: I started taking the fitness class at a point in my life when I was the most downtrodden I’d ever felt—I had been laid off from my first job after college and had been struggling for a year to find work. I didn’t have much, but I did still have my YMCA membership through my parents. I tentatively took first class and have been shaking to my heart’s ever since, even becoming an instructor back in 2012.
You know who also loves Zumba? My three-year-old daughter, Arden. She loves to help me choreograph dance moves for my upcoming classes and she loves the music. But you know what Arden hates? She hates when I have to leave her to go teach Zumba. She screams and cries so much, I’ve had to take her out of the YMCA’s childcare altogether and set up an arrangement with my husband to adjust his schedule so I can make class. You know what I’m not going to do? Stop teaching Zumba.
I love my kid. Really, I do. Arden’s happiness means a lot to me, and there are plenty of instances where I go above and beyond to make sure she’s the happiest kid around. But there are some things I can’t give up for the sake of her happiness, and those are the things that serve me well and make me an overall better human being.
So here are some reasons why you should toss aside your objections and continue to do the things you love, even when your kid doesn’t understand why:
You’re instilling the concept of self care.
As a number two on the Enneagram test, it’s no surprise I tend to put others before myself, even to my own detriment. But by putting myself first in this way, I’m teaching my daughter that caring for my mental and physical health is important and worthy of my attention. It’s my hope she sees my effort and remembers it when it’s time for her to put herself first one day.
Your kids realize the world isn’t all about them.
I feel as if I’m doing my daughter a disservice if I do anything that sets her up to think the world will bend at her will—talk about setting the girl up for disappointment! So as much as it breaks my heart to witness her tearful, “Mommy, don’t leave me!”, I have to go. And y’all, it’s hard—incredibly hard—but I know we’ll both be better off because of it. In a completely literal sense, I am gone for only one hour, and she’ll be just fine.
Your kids learn you don’t quit the important stuff.
Raise your hand if you can think of at least one thing you’ve given up when things got busy knowing good and well you shouldn’t have. I know I have. I don’t want my daughter to get into the habit of quitting things when it gets difficult or inconvenient. I want her to persevere and find a way to make it work, while at the same time making a conscientious effort to make what’s important to her fit in her daily schedule.
What are some things you love? Is it difficult for you to keep doing them? I’d love to talk about this a bit more in the comments section below.