January's Mom of the Month

Congratulations to Asli Serlo, our 'Mom of the Month' for January!

Asli has been a Stroller Strides member with her sons, Aydin and Aaron, for the past two years. She is also active with our Running Mamas program, completing both the 10K and half Marathon programs! In addition to all that, Asli has taken part in our Body Back mini session! This active mom deserved this Mom of the Month award a LONG time ago! Asli has made great strides in fitness, motherhood, and life, and we are so thankful that she is an integral part of our group!

Mom of the Month Questions:

Hometown (where you grew up): Jackson, Michigan

Current part of the Triangle that you live in: Chapel Hill

Education: BA in Psychology, MSW and MPH all from the University of Michigan (Go Blue!)

Stroller Strides Member since: I tagged along with a friend for my first class in late 2012 and became a member in early 2013.

Members of your Family: My husband Adam and I met early in college and have been married for 16 years (wow!!). We have 2 amazing, curious, and ACTIVE boys - 4-year-old Aydin and 20 month-old Aaron. Our 4-legged babies are 6-year-old boxer/German Shepherd mixes, Myra and Lucy, who are also litter mates.

Tell us about your children: Aydin has been on the go as soon as he could roll. Now at 4 years he is just as active and is also very inquisitive and imaginative. He is in preschool and loves soccer, music, airplanes, trains and spaceships. Aaron has always been much more laid back and as an infant was very content sitting and playing. He took his time crawling and walking but is now very much in exploration mode. He has a great sense of humor, hiding all over the house then popping out to surprise us, and loves to sing and dance.

Current/previous Career: I worked as a Clinical Social Worker at UNC Children's Hospital for 11 years after moving to North Carolina. I worked primarily with children and adolescents with cystic fibrosis and their families. After Aydin's birth, I shifted to part-time work with the same population and became a SAHM just before Aaron was born. I miss the work I used to do but I wouldn't trade this opportunity to be home with my boys for anything.

What was your childhood ambition? I wanted to be a pediatrician and a mother. One ambition became a realty! The thought of medical school and residency became daunting while I was in college but I managed to find a career that allowed me to work with children in a healthcare setting.

What does motherhood mean to you? I don't think I've ever wanted anything as much as I wanted to be a mother. For years I wondered if it was going to happen for us but something kept me clinging on to that hope. Both Aydin and Aaron came into our family through open adoption which proved to be a very long and emotional road. Looking back, I wouldn't change any of it and I'm so thankful that I was chosen to be their mother.

What is the furthest you have been from home? Istanbul and Ankara, Turkey. Both of my parents are originally from Turkey and we used to visit extended family there every few years during my childhood. My last trip was in 2009 and I miss it but the thought of traveling that far with our 2 active boys makes me a little nauseous. One of these days we'll make it happen.

What has Stroller Strides, Running Mamas and Body Back done for you (or meant to you)? When I first heard about Stroller Strides I thought it was just a group of moms power walking with their strollers. I had no idea what an amazing workout it would be! Stroller Strides gave me an amazing opportunity to do something to keep myself healthy that I could share with my boys. I love that they can have playtime with friends after I finish a work out. I also love that they see me doing something healthy for myself. One of Aydin's first phrases was "Butt kickers!!! High knees!!" I joined Running Mamas to motivate myself to stick to a training program for a race my husband and I have run every April for the last 5 years. I worried that with 2 kids it would be even harder for me to carve out time to run on my own to prepare for the 10 mile race. I met some amazing women through the half marathon program and felt stronger and faster than I have ever felt during a race. I've been running for exercise since college but after training with the Running Mamas, I beat my PR by one minute per mile. I've only taken a handful of Body Back classes but I've been amazed at the intensity and can't wait to do more. It's such a great workout and much tougher than Stroller Strides! I love the energy and camaraderie among the mothers and being able to carve out time for myself to go to class.

What is your favorite exercise? I have a love/hate relationship with burpees. I also love to run.

What is your proudest moment? There have been so many as a parent that it's hard to choose one. Aydin struggled with speech and needed speech therapy around 2 and a half years of age, so one moment that comes to mind is hearing him say his first short sentences. At night I could hear him through the monitor chatting with himself and practicing words he had learned.

What are three of your favorite things (besides your family!)? Traveling, baking and running.

Tell us something about yourself that would surprise us or makes you unique. I speak Turkish.

If we asked your spouse what they think your best qualities are, what would they say? Adam says I'm patient, nurturing and a hard-worker. Now how do I get that kind of feedback without soliciting it?

What advice would you give to moms looking to get back into shape? Be realistic and take baby steps, otherwise it can feel overwhelming. Take advantage of the support of this amazing community of moms. I find that my mood really suffers when I don't make it to Stroller Strides for a week or two. The support and camaraderie make exercise seem (almost) effortless.

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