MP: After you graduated from Auburn University, you enjoyed the fast-paced work of retail management. How has that work shaped you to manage your home more effectively?
Mary Katherine: Before my job at Metro Fitness and before I had children, I managed a gift shop. I loved every minute of it. I loved the people I worked with and I loved the constant interaction with the customers. When you are in a management position, you wear a lot of hats, just like motherhood. You have a lot of different tasks every day that need to get done. Being a mother is one of the toughest jobs in the world because there are so many things you need to get done in just one day. One can feel very overwhelmed at times! You go to bed at the end of the day and then the next morning brings on a new list of tasks. Working in management helped me build a foundation. I was able to take what I learned and apply it to raising children. I have come to realize that we can’t be too hard on ourselves when things don’t get done. Try not to stress, and just move on to the next day! It’s also very important that we take care of ourselves one day at a time.
MP: You mentioned that even as a child you were active, athletic, and an outdoor enthusiast. Would you say that your parents influenced these traits? In what ways?
Mary Katherine: I was very active as a child. I loved playing outdoors with my friends in the neighborhood. I also came to love tennis and ended up playing all through high school. I cheered and danced in grades 9-12 at Saint James School and I loved it. I give my parents all the credit! They too, were very active and kept in great shape. When I was 15 years old, my mother took me to one of her exercise classes. I was the youngest one in the class, but I enjoyed it so much! I started going three times a week with her. I came to love it so much that women started asking me when I would start teaching. I finally got certified and taught my first class when I was 22 years old. I’ve been doing it ever since.
MP: In your opinion, how important is it to encourage children to live a healthy lifestyle? Even though they are very young, in what ways do you encourage your daughter and sons to have healthy habits?
Mary Katherine: Things have changed a lot since I was a child. It seems like technology has taken over our children with cell phones, iPads, etc. It’s very easy for kids to get distracted by them, and therefore, stay sedentary. It’s so important that we keep our youth moving and keep physical education in our schools. We are a very obese country so it’s important that we also teach our kids healthy food habits. I make sure that I keep my kids moving and involved in extracurricular activities. My daughter loves tennis and my older son loves to run, so the two of us run in races together. I keep healthy snacks in the house and try to limit desserts.
MP: At Metro, you have many responsibilities. One part of your job is teaching fitness classes, which range from high impact cardio to exercise for the elderly. How do you maintain the energy needed to be the engaged mom that you are to your kids?
Mary Katherine: I am very active during the week. I teach or attend at least six classes a week. It sounds tiring, but exercise actually gives me energy throughout the day. It also puts me in a better mood! I find that if I keep exercise in my daily schedule, it allows me to be a better mom. I also try and eat as healthy as I can, BUT there is nothing wrong with treating yourself. I eat chocolate every week!
MP: You waited 10 years to have your first child. What do you see as the benefits of waiting, and how different do you think you’d be as a mom if you had your first baby earlier on?
Mary Katherine: I say do it when you are ready because it changes your life. It’s a wonderful journey! We are all different. There isn’t a right way. Most of my friends had their children when they were very young. They now have kids in junior high and high school while I still have a two year old! My advice….only YOU know when you are ready.
MP: If you could go back and tell yourself one thing when you started your parenting journey, what would that be?
Mary Katherine: I would tell myself to slow down. Try and enjoy every single stage. We are always in a hurry because life is so busy. It can get stressful. Take time to slow down and enjoy the moment.
MP: What piece of advice would you share with our readers who are new moms?
Mary Katherine: I’d have to refer to number 6. Being a new mom is scary. We think we are going to mess up. Slow down. Enjoy every moment because life goes by so fast. Before you know it, that newborn will be seven years old!
Mary Katherine Skipworth is a mother of three (Aniston-7, Oliver-5, and Walker-2). She is the Group Exercise Director at Metro Fitness in Montgomery.