Real Life Wonder Woman: Meet Sonali

It’s Wonder Woman Wednesday and we had to make sure our interview with Sonali got featured today! Last week we shared Tara’s story aka the originator of Wonder Woman Wednesday at OrangeTheory Fitness (OTF). But Sonali is the OTF member who keeps this movement alive week after week! Not only does she dress in Wonder Woman attire every week, but to make sure other people don’t feel left out she gifts OTF coaches and members with Wonder Woman shirts, bracelets, water bottles, headbands, rings, lollipops, socks, etc. – you name it!

This is just ONE example of her amazing generosity.

I actually got to know Sonali through her cooking before I met her in person. Kelly would come home from coaching and would have all these containers of food that members gave to her. Since I don’t get gifted with presents everyday at my office, I was a little skeptical of these women bringing my girlfriend gifts everyday (yes, sometimes the jealousy bug hits me hard). But then I would see these little notes on the food containers, “I hope you and Lindsey enjoy the homemade salsa,” “Be sure to share your ice cream with Lindsey,” and “Here’s a Wonder Woman shirt for Lindsey too.” I soon realized these women weren’t trying to woo their coach with presents; they were simply being their typical just kind and generous selves. It’s sad I thought otherwise, but it’s a rarity to find people like this anymore!

Sonali is one of those genuinely kind and generous people. She’s a cheerleader, a champion for positivity, and just a damn good person who we are lucky enough to call our friend. I think you’ll see what I mean in her interview below.

Wonder woman_sonali

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

I am 42 and love life.  I met my husband (Scott) while in medical school (20 years ago!!!) and we have been married for 15 years- I am a physician and we have 3 kids- first one at the age of 29 while in residency and the last at 33. I told Scott I would rather just get “it” done rather than space out kids, seemed like it would be good for all (the kids and us- and it was!)  So the first two girls are 20 months apart and the 3rd is my little man and is 2 1/2 younger than our middle child. We were in South Carolina when we had our first child (Maya) then moved to Tampa in 2004 since our families are here.

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

While in college and medical school and residency, I exercised at least 3-4 times a week. But after I got pregnant with our fist baby exercise and fitness came to a screaming halt.  I joined OTF March of 2015 after almost 11 years of no gym or fitness routine…I got sick of not being active and missed my mental sanity that I got with exercise. I had somehow convinced myself that taking care of others was more important than taking care of my mental and physical well being. Since March of last year I have happily been going to OTF 4-5x/week or sometimes 6x/week to get my mind right!  January of this year Scott and I made a commitment to start clean eating, so as of January I really feel I have gotten my mind and body right. It has been wonderful for me, my husband, and the kids!

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

I grew up in a culture and world that is very family oriented and my dad is a big believer in education – health and family. So my parent’s teachings focus on having a a strong foundation.  They are amazing parents and have taught me many things and keep me focused and grounded.  My parents are both doctors and philanthropists- my mom somehow managed to raise 3 kids, take care of her patients (she is a pediatrician), take care of her husband, take care of the household, and make that shit look EASY the whole time! She never complained, never had a sick day, and never claimed tiredness or overwhelmed-ness she just got it done!  My dad is amazingly kind and giving and always gives a person a chance. He and my mom never turned away a patient or someone who needed help.

The cosmic rewards I gained from seeing and feeling my parents do this has lasted forever. While this is good, it also could be a reason I have neglected myself or sacrifice my “ME” time.  I would often give up time for me so I could make sure I took care of the kids, work, husband, family. Only recently did I rethink things and figure out that if I am healthy and happy – so are those around me. Ultimately I have to keep myself on track and have folks around me that keep me thinking about the “why” in life.  If I look at the why – I can see the bigger picture as a mom and wife. It’s so easy to lose the bigger picture.

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

Being a working mom is my biggest challenge! LOL!!!  When you “work” you have to put in your all for your work and what you are doing. Then I get home and I am MOM/WIFE so now I have to put in my all for the kids and husband.  I come home from work and need to make sure dinner is made or in the works. I have to be the tutor/teacher/disciplinarian too! Let me tell you how MUCH teaching and education has changed since I was in grade school!!!! Then when the kid stuff is done, I need to make sure I have “grown up” time.  I need to make sure that we keep up with Scott and Sonali time because without US it is hard to stay sane! Oh and don’t get me started on extracurricular activities that the kids have!!

The trouble is with me rushing back and forth from work it’s easy to bring work home. At times I have work looming over my head. I usually spend a chunk of time catching up with work until the wee hours of the night after I spend time with my kids and husband. So I guess the biggest challenge in a few words is TIME MANAGEMENT!

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

I am super lucky to have an Aunt who stays at the house from 7-5 daily. She has helped me figure out (actually she does it!) girl’s hair issues and fashion (I was and to a big part still am a tom boy and I gave birth to two diva’s!!!). When the kids come home from school she is the warm and smiling person who has a hot delicious snack waiting for them.  She is an amazing person who helps keep my home sane!  She does not drive but is my sanity for the house. My parents, no matter how busy, are also there to keep me sane! They have helped with school pick-ups, going to spelling bees, or taking the kids for a night or weekend so Scott and I can have “childless” time. Having family near by is a HUGE blessing!

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

Make time for what keeps you sane. If you are good, the rest of your world is better! I tell my patients who are caregivers that if they don’t take care of themselves- who will take care of everyone when they fall ill or slow down? So I have to take my own advice.  I would also tell them that it is NOT EASY and ASK for HELP!  When I started my journey I was “too proud” (aka stupid!) to ask for help….I have learned slowly that it is ok to get help….MOMS NEED HELP TOO!!!!

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

Too many funny stories with this one! One that I just assumed since nobody tells you otherwise- BREASTFEEDING IS NOT “NATURAL” MOMENT AND IT AIN’T THAT EASY AT FIRST!!!!  Another thing I learned was that Mommies can’t always make their babies stop crying. I recall Maya was 6 weeks old and I had fed her, changed her, and was rocking her. When Scott came to check on me I had tears in my eyes and said to him,
“Scott I can’t make her stop crying! But I’m the MOM. I’m supposed to make her better!” He hugged me and gave me a kiss, and told me I was the best mom ever. Now so many years later I am often MEAN MOMMY and I make life difficult haha! But Mean mommy= Mommy who loves her kids.

We would describe you as one kickass woman 🙂 How do you think your kids would describe you?

Strong- Caring- Mean- NEVER TIRED and NEVER FORGETS ANYTHING WE LOVE!

If you ask my kids what I say when they complain they would say one of of the following:

  • “I did not give birth to weaklings!”
  • “Suck it up”
  • “Be lucky you have a _________ to complain about!” Insert the body part or “injustice” you feel you are suffering about in the blank

I think I have been lucky. I have the strongest and most amazing mom in the world! I have the kindest and most loving father. I value family, love, friendship, and now I have learned to value ME. We chose to have kids- I cannot and will not use them as an excuse for anything.  It is a hard life, but well worth it.  And it is a better life if you don’t lose yourself in the big picture.  It is easy to focus on your “small world” (AND IT CAN SEEM HUGE) of kids and family, but the bigger picture is YOU IN THAT WORLD.

WHAT DOESN’T KILL YOU MAKES YOU STRONGER (OR DRINK MORE-LOL)

Working out is my sanity and my kids think I am a badass especially now that they see me taking care of me and them. Lead by example and BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE IN THE WORLD. I want my girls to be strong and my son to be amazing.  Can’t teach them that without living that life!

Thank you so much Sonali for ALL that you do to make this world a better place!! We are so grateful that you have come into our lives!

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