Real Life Wonder Woman: Meet Catherine

We’ve got another great Wonder Woman story for you today. But first be sure to go check out Amy, Tara, and Annie’s stories if you missed them last week! Three women who juggle work, family, fitness, and much needed “me time” in different and equally inspiring ways.

This interview comes from someone near and dear to my heart – my cousin Catherine. If we had to give her a title it would be – humble warrior goddess. She’s unpretentious, quick witted, and willing to try anything. Did I mention she also has a very low tolerance for bullsh*t? She used to be a nurse in the ER so she knows every lie in the book about how people “accidentally” get objects in the weirdest places.

I’ve personally witnessed her transformation from busy working mom into a woman determined to put her health and fitness first. I remember scrolling through Facebook and noticing her bar crawl photos being swapped for 5K raceday pics. Her confidence boost was equally as noticeable at family gatherings – bigger smile, taller stance, and having that look about her that makes you think, “I want some of what she’s having!” We’ll let her explain how she earned her “warrior goddess” status. (Hint: you don’t get that title by sitting back and letting life happen to you).

Wonder Woman_catherine
Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where you live, work, number of kids, partner, etc.

I live just outside of Baltimore. I am an RN. My full time job is in the Operating Room at a small hospital in Baltimore. I also work as Kaiser Permanente in a urology office and their urgent care. I work a lot of hours to keep up with the expenses of growing kids. I have 2 boys….Colin is 17 and Christopher is turning 12 in 2 weeks. I’ve been divorced from their father since 2008 but he is still very present in our lives. I am technically a “single mom” but I don’t like to call myself that because I have a lot of help from their dad still. I am currently dating a wonderful man named Chris. We have been together since February and met at the gym 😉

Tell us about your typical workout routine (number of hours, types of workouts, gym membership).

I work out 5-7 days a week, depending on my schedule. I belong to a gym near my house which I LOVE. I take a lot of classes there. They have a good variety of classes, from Spin to Boot Camp type classes. Recently, Chris and I started taking HIIT classes together which we love. They don’t always fit into my schedule but I’m trying to take it as much as I have time for. It’s a more intense workout than any other class and we can do it together even though we have different fitness levels and abilities. My gym is so much more than a gym to me. It’s a huge part of my life. Not only did I meet my boyfriend there, but we have made many friends there. We all push each other to keep going. There is a real sense of community there. We recently lost one of our members to cancer and it was devastating. The entire gym felt the loss. I also use the tiny gym at my hospital sometimes. When I work 12 hour shifts, I will go up there for a half hour after I get off. I’ll either do a half hour on a cardio machine or one of my “Pinterest workouts”. It’s not much, but it’s enough to blow the stink of my day off.

What keeps you on track with your personal goals (can be career, fitness, family related)?

Lately, my goal is to just live life as if today were my last day. I’ve seen a lot of young people die in the last few months and it has reminded me that life is short. I try to choose to do the things that make me happy. I changed jobs at the beginning of the year which has made me a much happier person. I feel less stressed and less exhausted when I come home. I don’t dread going to work anymore. I also try to make an effort to spend time with those that I love. I feel ok losing that hour of sleep knowing that I spent it being happy with people that I care about. I try to surround myself with positive people who make me smile and laugh.

Currently what’s your biggest challenge as a working mom?

I feel guilt all the time about not seeing my kids enough. Colin is a teenager and pretty much does his own thing so I’m not sure he would want to spend more time with me if we could lol. But Christopher has always been my hands-on child that requires a lot more attention. I try to make the most out of the time we do have and I hope he sees that.

Do you get help from family, friends, co-workers, etc. to help you juggle everything on your plate?

I get a lot of help from my ex-husband. He is unemployed so he is in charge of shuttling Christopher to sports and orthodontist appointments. It really helps knowing that he is almost always available. Every once in a while, he falls off the grid for a week or so and I lean on his parents to help me out. They are amazing and will help at the drop of a dime. It’s reassuring knowing that they are always there and they are just up the street.

What’s one tip you would give to new moms who may be struggling?

It takes a village to raise a child. Accept help when it is offered. Ask for help when you need it. No mom ever gets an award for doing it all. She only gets tired and resentful. I’ve always believed that you have to take care of yourself before you can take care of others. I apply this towards my career as a nurse and also to being a mom. If I am drained and out of energy, I will have nothing to give to anyone else. I need to be happy within myself to adequately care for anyone else. Exercise is my therapy. It helps keep me grounded and work out the stresses of daily life. We all need to find that one thing that helps us cope just a little bit easier.

What’s the WORST piece of advice someone gave you when you were a new mom?

It took you 9 months to gain it, it will take you 9 months to lose it. It took me 4 years to lose it. First, I had to gain 50 more pounds(I blame birth control) and then lose that plus the pregnancy weight. Every woman is different and carries/gains/loses weight differently. We all have to find the plan that works for us. I wish I could be that woman that only gains a tiny belly and can wear a bikini 1 month after giving birth, but I was blessed with stretch marks and saggy skin. I have accepted what I can’t change but work hard to change or maintain what I can.

We would describe you as one kickass woman, but how do you think your kids would describe you?

It’s a strength as well as a downfall. I’ve struggled with letting others into my bubble and accepting help. I hope my kids appreciate how hard I work for all that they have. We may not have a fancy house or fast cars or go on extravagant trips, but I work my ass off so they never know how it feels to go without. They have everything they need and a lot of what they want. I like to think I’ve taught them the value of hard work.

Catherine, thank you so much for sharing your story with us!! While we can’t speak for your boys, but we think you’re strength and determination teaches us how badass women can be. xoxox

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