Jab, upper cut, cross, hook, round house, sweep…! These words and more used to be my mantra. Those knowledgeable understand I am talking about boxing or, to be more specific, kickboxing.

Before the husband and child arrived on the scene, this mama was a kickboxing and Muay Thai enthusiast, who willingly forked over bundles of cash for someone to kick and punch her.

Let me tell you, that rhythmic sound of the boxing glove hitting the sand bag is such a thrill. In those 45 minutes or more, you will forget stress (tough clients – what is that? / no coverage on a press release – eh?) and the sense of calm you feel will justify the torture you willingly subject yourself to.

Since turning a Mum, I haven’t picked up the gloves again – yet (never say never), I do know that as stressed as we are, what with the pressure of quality parenting, judgy internet and everyone and their aunts having an opinion on your parenting style, kickboxing is one sport that should be made mandatory for all Mums.

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Let me explain. As Mums of today, we live with an inordinate amount of guilt. WAHM /SAHM/ helicopter/free range – you get the point – whatever you do and however you parent, the judgement is always there. Add to that the stress of bringing up well-rounded children while managing a career. Amid all this superwoman syndrome that we have, we forget self-care.

Enter kickboxing – now not only is KB a killer workout (hello, toned arms), in my experience it’s a great teacher! Two words – Patience and perseverance.

It teaches you that yes, life will throw a punch or two or more your way and you will be able to do nothing about it except take it on the chin. Sometimes, you will get punched in the gut and feel all the air sucked out of you. Sometimes your legs will feel like they will buckle and there will be days when getting out of bed and trudging will be a chore.

But there will also be days when you will give as good as you get, you will find that opening and take a shot and connect, and you will not give up. Boxing will teach your kids that you can get fit whilst having fun. It’s empowering and will boost your self-confidence. It teaches you to hone your strengths and manage your weaknesses (can’t get hang of the hook? No sweat, go for the jab!).

Every punch you take and every punch you deflect is an exercise in navigating obstacles life will throw at you.

Did I mention toned arms and that warm feeling that comes from the knowledge that yeah, I can kick a#@!

These are some of the life lessons I have learnt from my boxing days and I believe they have served me well as a working Mum. I know there are days when a dirty, messy house/kitchen will win over the desire to clean. Some days, ice-cream will be the accepted dinner or breakfast choice but there will be days when all will work like clockwork.

So, ladies, pick up those gloves and pad up, there’s sandbag waiting for you!

Sunaina Jairath is an executive at a public relations firm. Views expressed are the author’s own.

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