February Mom of the Month and Instructor Profile....Stephanie West!

Tell us about yourself and your family.

I'm Stephanie! I'll be 34 in April and I'm mom to William (5 1/2) an Audrey (will be 4 on the 16th). We currently live in Seabeck! I'm from upstate NY and call the northeast/New England home. I've been living in WA for the past year and a half. In addition to being a FIT4MOM instructor, I'm also a certified ESL teacher. I am kind of all over the place with my interests, but I enjoy traveling, languages, teaching, exercise, gardening, music, board games, art, and raising chickens!

What surprised you the most once you became a mom?

My mom started running an in-home daycare when I was three so I grew up around babies and small children for most of my life. I went on to nanny in college and I truly thought that I knew everything there was to know about raising children. NOPE! All of that flew out the window when I had my first child. There is nothing that can prepare you for that kind of sleep deprivation!

Why did you join FIT4MOM? Why do you love it?

I joined FIT4MOM way back in 2012 when my oldest was 4 months old and we were living in CT. My husband just left on a 7 month deployment and I was battling crippling postpartum anxiety. I needed a reason to leave my house and to meet other moms. My first class was TOUGH, but I felt great after! I kept coming back because in addition to getting a great workout, I made wonderful friends and no one cared if my kid cried. I loved FIT4MOM so much that when I got a full-time job I continued with them by doing Body Back during the school year. I was sad to leave my village in CT, but was grateful to find this village here in WA who welcomed me with open arms!

Why did you decide to become an instructor? What is your favorite part of instructing?

I had been exercising with FIT4MOM for 3 1/2 years when I moved out to WA. Shortly after I moved here, Magda informed me that she was opening up a new location in Silverdale and I jumped at the chance to become an instructor. I love teaching and I love exercising so it felt natural becoming an instructor. My favorite part about teaching Stroller Strides is yelling at everyone (haha j/k!). In all seriousness, I love watching moms push themselves in my classes and seeing the look of accomplishment on their faces when we are done for the morning. I hope that they feel great knowing that they've done something positive for themselves and that they can carry that feeling with them for the rest of their day!

What advice would you give a first time mama to FIT4MOM Kitsap?

The best piece of advice that I could give to a mom coming to our class for the first time is to stick with it and make a friend! Starting any exercise program is difficult, let alone when you do it postpartum and on little sleep. Stick with it. You WILL get stronger and you will feel good!

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? If you didn't have any obstacles, what dream would you pursue?

In five years I would love to be teaching and having my own mini-farm. If money were no object I would open my own school!

What is your favorite go to piece of baby/kid gear?

My favorite piece of baby gear would definitely be a good carrier. Don't go cheap on those!

Any advice for new moms? What about advice for veteran moms?

My advice for new moms is don't be afraid to ask for help. Having a baby changes a lot of things and you will need to rely on others to help out. My advice for veteran moms is a little different. If you haven't already been doing this, start getting back to you. Once you are out of the "survival" stage of motherhood and your kids are a little more self-sufficient, carve out time to do things that you value. Whether it be going to school, starting/continuing your career, traveling, learning to play an instrument, etc., make sure you are doing things for you!

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