In honor of Mother’s Day, we’re celebrating some of the moms in our community — their strength, their resilience, and their stories of motherhood.
Get to know these moms and many more in our Official Tempo Facebook Community
Kim Hew Len, 43
Las Vegas, NV
Mother to Hikianalia
I grew up in the Bay Area and have been living in Las Vegas for 13 years. I met my husband in Las Vegas through a Polynesian dance group. He’s a Tahitian drummer and I’m a Tahitian/Hula dancer.
We got married in Hawai'i in 2018 and we have a 4-year-old daughter, Hikianalia.
My husband is an Air Force veteran and is currently working in Afghanistan as a firefighter.
I’ve always enjoyed being active, and I still do; however, as a mother of a 4-year-old and a full-time working mom, I really have to make time and focus on keeping myself healthy and being a good role model to my daughter. It’s important to me to show my daughter that mommy takes care of herself, stays active, and eats healthy.
Being a mother makes me feel like a strong and fearless beast. But it also changes your perspective because you always think about your child’s health first, but in order to maintain the energy and strength to be there for our kids, we have to remember to take care of ourselves — and sometimes you need to come first.
I want to live a long and healthy life to be able to watch my daughter grow up and also have her understand the importance of being healthy and active too. While it seems like there’s never enough time in the day when you have a kid as a working mom with a husband overseas, it can be a struggle. But being a mom is the most rewarding gift in my life. Hikianalia is my number reason for everything I do, and she reminds me daily of the importance of the little things in life.
She reminds me of the importance of taking care of myself as equally as my family, and that I’m an amazing woman who can do anything I put my mind to.
Maria Campbell, 34
St. Augustine, FL
Mother to Eli and Liam
I’m a mother of two amazing boys ages 3 and 4-years-old and the wife to an amazing husband who supports me, including all of my fitness goals. I also work full-time as a leasing manager.
Before I became a mom, all I wanted was that perfect skinny body without working for it. Once I became a mom and found out that my oldest son, Eli, has a genetic condition called Spinal Muscular Atrophy, I realized that I needed to take care of myself and I needed to workout so that I could be stronger both physically and mentally. I knew that I had to be strong to help him do daily things.
Even if Eli is in a wheelchair and the wheelchair can’t do things, Eli still can.
My whole outlook has changed because I’ve become a mom. I know I have to show my kids by my actions what I am trying to teach them with words — I love how I can train with my kids to show them how we can care and love for our bodies and mental health. Some mornings they even join me while I’m working out!
Being a parent of two is fun, challenging, and enjoyable; having one of those two be disabled turned my life into an entirely different situation. I refused to allow his disease to take over my life and our family’s life. Fitness is something that helps us all stay focused and gives you the courage you need to make it through each day.
Mother to Titus and Ely
I am a coach's wife and have been married to my husband who I met in college for almost 16 years. We are proud parents to two incredible boys, Titus and Ely. We've been able to adventure around the country taking on some exciting opportunities in Idaho, Illinois, and California.
We currently live in the Boise, Idaho area where we are originally from. I was a children's and family pastor for many years until our oldest son, Titus, was diagnosed with a rare, genetic disease (CLN2) just before he turned 5. When we found out it was genetic, we quickly got our youngest son Ely tested and found out he too had the disease even though he showed no symptoms yet at the age of 2. At the time of diagnosis, we were told there was nothing that could be done and the disease was always fatal. Our boys would not live into their teenage years.
We began a journey of advocacy to help our boys the best we possibly could. I quit my job to stay home full time and learned skills I never imagined motherhood would summon me to learn. As we dove into the rare disease world, I began writing and sharing what I was learning about life, faith, and the unexpected plot twists life can throw at us on my blog Can't Steal My Joy.
The disease progressed so fast in Titus. It took away everything — his sight, his ability to speak, move, eat by mouth, etc. As the fall of 2016 approached, it was clear Titus's body was entering the end of life stage. We huddled around our son 24/7 not knowing when our last time with him would be.
On September 17, 2016, we had the holy honor of ushering Titus into the arms of Jesus. He was 6 years old. Grief had already been a regular guest in our home as we anticipated this loss, but as one could imagine, our hearts were shattered.
10 days later, we flew to Columbus, Ohio for a clinical trial Ely had been accepted into. It was so odd holding hope and grief, pain and joy together in my heart. As the youngest child in the US at 3 years and 3 months old, he began treatment, gifted this newly found hope because of an early diagnosis. Titus trail-blazed this new path for his little brother. With 119 infusions to date, his life looks significantly different than his big brother's and he will be turning 8 this summer.
I have always loved being active. I grew up playing soccer and played at the NCAA Division II level in college. Throughout my parenting years, my fitness game has had to shift with the unexpected plot twists we were dealt. I found I had to give myself a lot of grace when I couldn't work out 5 days a week. My journey with fitness has matured from my initial "all or nothing" perspective. I used to sabotage myself when I couldn't get a workout in every day, so I'd quit. Now I understand that every time I can get out and do something fun and good for my body is a win.
I used to work out so that I "looked good". It was a vanity thing. As Titus grew sicker and became entirely dependent on me, I began to appreciate my body for how it could serve my son well. I was able to pick him up and dance with him when he couldn't dance himself. I could rock him when he needed it, lift and move him around the house and participate in all parts of life with his family and friends. Heck, we even went down slides at the park together after he lost his ability to do so on his own. Today, I'm grateful for those surrenders our Tempo coaches make us do, as I get down on the floor multiple times a day to change diapers. I'm grateful for squats when I need to lean down and pick up my 60 lb son safely. I'm grateful for cardio endurance when my son's body grows tired and I need to carry him. I might have more pounds on me now than I used to, but my fitness journey is helping me stay strong for Ely giving me a different level of appreciation when I workout.
Every day I am reminded of my limitations, my separation from my son (which is so unnatural for a mom), and yet I feel invited into a bigger story than just my own little broken one. It's a story of hope and redemption and one where all our little stories get to intersect in divine ways. This is where my strength comes from.
Knowing that all that is broken and wrong will one day be whole and right. I watch my son Ely face a rare disease with humor and courage, and while he is physically blind, he has taught me to take off my blinders of how I view life. I've learned to dig around in the ugly and discover the beauty around me. While grief accompanies everything I do, so does hope — and hope gets to be stronger.
Venessa Perkins, 37
Mother to Kennedy and Joey
I have been married for 10 years. I’ve known my husband since high school and we’ve been together since college. I have two kids: Kennedy, 4, and Joey, 2.
Fitness is a necessity in my mind to be healthy. I’ll be honest, I don’t have the best diet. Candy is my weakness, especially sour candy. If I want a piece of cake, I eat it. I work out every day so there’s my balance to my not-so-great diet.
In order to keep up with my kids as they get older, I feel like I need to be healthy, happy, and fit. I want to be able to run outside with them or pick them up if they need me to, or even if they don’t need me to!
The most challenging thing about being a mother is making sure I have enough time for my kids while also not neglecting myself. As a working mom, I don’t ever want my kids to feel like I’m not there for them. The most rewarding thing is my kids' unconditional love. They hug me when I’m sad. They laugh with me when I’m happy. They’re both so filled with love and it’s amazing to be with them every day.
The fact that I can get up every day, take care of my children (and husband), work, and find time for a workout makes me feel strong every single day. It’s a lot of work being a mother and I’m proud of myself and all of the other mothers out there for doing what we do every day.
I created and carried two humans. Just knowing that makes me feel stronger. My Tempo pal, Peter, jokes and says I must be from another planet. All mothers who love and care for their children are our own species. Being a mom is not easy and we do it!
Michelle Grabau, 32
San Francisco, CA
Soon-to-be mother to a baby girl
I live in San Francisco with my partner and our 2 dogs, Rachel Bilson and Miliford Grace.
As a lifelong athlete, a soccer player turned marathon runner and a fitness professional, fitness has always been a staple in my life. I see fitness, working out, running as something I get to do, not something I have to do. I always encourage people to look at how a fit and healthy lifestyle enables them to do the things that they love. Whether it’s running a marathon, rock climbing or hiking, or even keeping up with your kids as they tear through Disneyland, a regular fitness routine makes life better.
But as a woman, I’ve struggled with external, societal expectations of “beauty”. I’ve spent a lot of time chasing some ideal body shape and size, and, while I am ultimately proud of what my body is capable of and what it’s allowed me to accomplish, I often find that my self-confidence and self-image are contingent on how my body looks.
Since becoming pregnant, I’ve had to face my insecurities and embrace and celebrate my changing body for all it is doing to keep both me and my baby safe and healthy. I’m pregnant with a baby girl and it pains me that she will no doubt face many of the same external expectations that I’ve struggled with for so many years.
This pregnancy, and knowing that I’ll soon have a young girl looking up to me, listening to every word I say, and watching my every move, has forced me to examine the way I speak about my workouts and my own body. I hope to teach her that fitness is not about a number on a scale or a pair of pants. It’s about proving to yourself that you can overcome mental and physical barriers and build strength and power from the inside, out.
So, to my daughter:
May you move your body freely and frequently, with strength and confidence, not to fit the molds and conventions of “beauty,” but to feel empowered, independent, and healthy.
Kimberlee Billet, 37
Mother to Max and Penelope
I’m 36 and I have two kids. My son, Max, is 6, and my daughter, Penelope, is 4. They are pretty cool little people if I say so myself. We have a French bulldog named Jack and he is so much fun to have around. I am the operations manager for my family business, a commercial equipment repair company, focusing mostly on restaurants.
Being a mother has made me realize that time is fleeting. The kids grow so quickly. In the blink of an eye, they are walking and talking, then starting school. So they’ve made me realize I can’t just keep saying, “I’ll start working out, eating better, taking good care of myself tomorrow.” They help push me to be a better person. More driven. They also make me feel so much more accomplished when I do work out. There are an endless amount of other things I could or should be doing, so when I make time to work out I feel like I’ve really had to do a lot to get even 30 minutes in. But it’s worth it because they are genuinely proud of me. Even though they make it almost impossible to fit working out in sometimes.
The most challenging thing, though, is to stop feeling guilty. Guilty that you’re not spending enough time with the kids, guilty that you’re spending too much time with them and letting other responsibilities go. Guilty about when you discipline them, guilty when you give it. It’s hard to just be ok with never doing everything right. That and keeping the house clean.
The most rewarding thing about being a mom would be my kids. The little humans that I created and helped turn into the thoughtful, funny, smart, silly, caring, independent people that they are today. The little things, like asking if you’re ok when you don’t look happy or complimenting a shirt you’re wearing. They have their own thoughts, dreams, and personalities and I helped make that.
Mother to two kids
I’m married and I have two kids, a 3.5-year-old and an 8-month-old. I am a police sergeant assigned to the Detective Bureau.
Fitness and health are both absolutely essential parts of overall wellness. In my line of employment, not being fit and ready for duty could literally be life or death. Being prepared both physically and mentally is what gets you home to your family at the end of the day.
Being a mother has changed my perspective on fitness and health in that now I am no longer worried about just myself. I take care of my body in order to continue to provide for my children. I need to be able to keep up with my active boys and everything that they’re up to. I need to nourish and be healthy to be the best version of myself for them.
Before my children and my increased responsibilities, I used to be very fit and I worked out a lot. Unfortunately, life got a little crazy and I fell off my healthy habits. Having not worked out and eating whatever in order to fuel my body so that I could continue working long hours, getting home to tend to children, and overall being in survival mode with two young kids, and a demanding career, I became a version of myself that I wasn’t content with.
With Tempo, I decided that I would not let fitness take the back burner anymore and I found something that would allow me time with my children, cutting out the commute to the gym, and allowed me the flexibility of when I could get a workout in. Ultimately, I see myself sticking to a plan that works for me and my family, and continuing to re-implement healthy habits that will improve my quality of life.
The ability to do today what I couldn’t do yesterday, makes me feel strong. Being able to lift a little heavier, and run a little quicker than before. Being a mother has made me feel even stronger because it’s still astonishing, even to myself, what my body was able to do to give life. Nine months growing a human, sustaining life in the womb. Giving birth makes you feel strong, it makes you feel empowered. Postpartum healing is rough, but you come back stronger in order to nourish your baby with your own body. If I can give life with my body, there’s nothing my body can’t do.
Being a mother is beyond rewarding, but of course, it comes with challenges. Caring for another person’s every need is exhausting both physically and mentally. Wondering if what you’re doing is enough, trying to shape them to make the world a better place and be good humans. The most rewarding thing is to see your children’s happiness. To understand that you are doing enough, that you are doing your best, and that they are thriving because of it.
Responses have been edited for length and clarity.