Archive for the ‘Erin Burt’ Category

Training When You Have Toddlers at Home

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

training with toddlersI just finished my first marathon. I can’t tell you how many moms asked me, how did you do it with kids at home?

Certainly, for anyone who has trained for a major event before having kids, it must seem impossible. I regularly trained for half marathons before and after having kids, and I can tell you it’s a very different experience. But it is possible.

First, it’s ideal to be done nursing before you attempt training like this. For one, your body must be completely recovered from childbirth. Two, training at an intense level will affect your milk supply. Three, you put yourself at risk for conditions like thrush, mastitis and fungal infections if you are not vigilant. If you can handle training while nursing, that’s great. Either way, talk to your health care provider first and make sure you are ready to take this on.

Once you have a goal in mind, like a race, find a training plan. You can’t come at this without one, no matter what your distance, from marathon to your first 5k. You’ll need something to stick to and something you can make a part of your routine. After you have a plan, you have to have great communication with your partner. If you’re getting up early to run, you might need your partner to jump in and get the kids up if that’s something you normally handle. Evening training might mean additional help needed at bedtime.

Having a running group was also crucial to me. I don’t get great sleep, so it’s really hard to commit to getting up early on the weekends to do long runs, especially since I know I won’t get to nap later. But having a running group was so motivational. Check out your local running club or a group like Moms Run this Town to find runners of your pace and distance. It was great to know I would get kid-free time with grown-ups every week with no mom guilt attached!

Screen Shot 2016-05-21 at 12.03.31 PMI love having a jogging stroller available to me, but I don’t always use it. Some days, the jogging stroller and a 7-mile run was my only escape from a grumpy toddler who wanted nothing but to whine all morning. Other times, leaving the house on my own and letting my husband do bedtime was a welcome escape. Change things up to help motivate you to get out and get your training in.

Don’t allow your goal to overwhelm you. Just like you can’t think about graduation day when you’re bringing a newborn home from the hospital, you have to take training one day or week at a time. Look at your schedule at the beginning of the week and figure out how it’s going to get done. Try to use a plan that gives you at least one or two days off so you can adjust your schedule as needed if something comes up. And if you don’t get all your training in, don’t beat yourself up. Let it go and move on to the next week.

The real benefit of training for an event when you have small children isn’t the event itself. The benefit is in caring for yourself and your health, giving yourself goals, nurturing interests that don’t have to do with children, and letting your family see you working toward a goal and accomplishing it. Your kids may be small, but they will understand it when they are older. Hopefully you can inspire them to accomplish more than they thought possible, too.

Erin Burt is a first-time marathoner, freelance writer, and mother of three girls. She lives and writes in Oklahoma City. 

Grinching Out On Mother’s Day

Thursday, May 5th, 2016

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Sometimes I feel like such a Mother’s Day grinch. But the truth is, for most moms Mother’s day is no different than every other day of the year. And even if you are Jedi-level good at keeping expectations low, they can creep up on Mother’s day despite your best intentions.

Last year, Mother’s day was kind of a wreck. It was just a hard day, which happens pretty frequently when your kids are 6, 3 and 2, superfluous holidays notwithstanding. It’s a day when I tend to stay off social media, as obnoxious humble brags abound about worlds’ best children and husbands, who are, in reality, probably selfish and thankless and piggish every other day of the year, but on this day are photoshopped to be the standard bearers for selflessness and generosity.

So, to flee the suppressive air of social media and all things mother’s day, I went on a hike. Alone. A hike broken only by the ringing of my phone high on the top of a hill to confirm the reception of one (1) orphaned squirrel baby that we found in our backyard and to be placed with the finest of (free) wild squirrel rehab facilities. A call which I was happy to take. Because I am no squirrel mom, and I figured if she abandoned her pup as we had to surmise she did, she’s probably having a worse day than I am.

The year before, just months after having my third child, Mother’s Day had been punctuated with silence from my own mother. I had sent her an email gift certificate which became lost in her inbox; she assumed I had gotten her nothing for Mother’s day and didn’t call until Monday, when she found it.

IMG_9759So I cried a little bit on this hike, and felt sorry for myself, and then got over it. I did a little trail running her and there, and when I got to the top, it was worth it. I sat on a bald spot of rock and watched boats trail lazily in the water below, their motors audible even this far up. I watched birds soar past a little farther down over the lake, hunting prey. I took in the shadowy silhouettes of the mountains across the way, disappearing back as far as I could see. I ate some flavored almonds and an apple and I didn’t share with anyone.

It took me an hour and a half to hike up, an hour to hike down, and an hour of driving round-trip. And when I got home, I felt refreshed, restored, and ready to deal with a baby squirrel rehoming emergency.

Happy Mother’s Day.

Erin Burt is a freelance writer, marathoner and mother of three girls. She lives and writes in Oklahoma City. 

Dressing Your Post-Baby Body

Monday, March 28th, 2016

Dressing your post-baby bodyClothes shopping after baby is just…different. No matter if you still have baby weight or you already lost it all, your body is just different. I didn’t notice it as much after my first as I am aware of it after my third, and I realize part of that is age and time. But some of it is strictly baby-related.

For example, my feet are slightly bigger, by about a half-size. They are slightly wider at the forefoot. Not enough to change my shoe size, but enough to make some of my flats not nearly as comfortable or roomy as they once were. My shoulders are slightly broader, although my hips (?!?) don’t seem to have changed.

All these small changes have definitely changed how I shop for clothes. Not because I’m ashamed of my body, but simply because it’s different than what it used to be. Here’s how I have adapted.

  • Get a good bra. Seriously. If your bra sucks, nothing is going to look good on you. I am loving Coobie bras right now. They’re $20, washable, one-size, and don’t have underwire. If you need to start from square-one on bras, go to a professional fitting. Nothing is the same after baby, and that goes quadruple for The Girls.
  • Try everything on. I used to be able to eyeball items in my size and determine if it would suit me. Not anymore. Try everything on, unless you can afford to just never wear it.
  • Alter your clothes when possible. I just don’t fit into one ready-to-wear size neatly anymore. My bust is over in this size column, while my waist is waaaay over there, and then my hips are over here. I already knew how to sew, so I began to alter my clothes myself for a more tailored fit. It makes me feel better about how I look in the clothes I already have. If you don’t have access to a sewing machine, ask a friend who sews or ask your local dry cleaner. Alterations generally don’t cost much, and they are certainly cheaper than buying all-new clothing.
  • When you find something you like, buy a few. I used to like way more variety in my closet, but these days I find putting together a new outfit everyday kind of taxing. After dressing three little girls each morning, it’s no wonder why! So now, when I find something I like, I buy a few in different colors. It saves time (and usually money) and then I have things in my closet I know fit well and look good, instead of the one shirt I want to wear over and over because it’s the only thing I feel confident in.

Fashion-wise, I understand I am kind of in a rut. But I also understand that this a season. There will be a time when my three girls are only TOO HAPPY to pick out and shop for their own clothes and will not want my help at all, and then I’ll have that tiny bit of mental energy it takes to have fun shopping for and dressing myself once again. But until then, I’m making do just fine.

Erin Burt is a freelance writer and mother of three. She lives and writes in Oklahoma City. 

Dear Moms of the Internet: Can We All Just Calm Down? Nope, Not Just Yet.

Monday, March 21st, 2016

IMG_9931I read this blog on Huffpost Parents, titled, “Dear Moms of the Internet, in 2016 Can We All Just Calm Down?” and while I’d love to answer yes, I just have to say no.

Yes, the epidemic of offense has gotten out of control. Everyone’s on Facebook whining about something that offends them—that’s why I never post anything on there anymore. From my kids to my house, I’m afraid of being judged, shamed or scorned, so I just gradually quit posting things on my “danger zone” list until nothing was really left except my Nike+ running updates, which I don’t remember how to turn off.

Yes, people are out there looking for a reason to be offended. And while the author is a mom of four and has totally been there, her kids are nearly all teenagers, and that puts her in a vastly different position than moms of small children.

When you’re a mom of a toddler, preschooler or infant, you are getting a barrage of unsolicited advice thrown at you all the time. You basically can’t go anywhere without getting glares, the side-eye or being judged. Those comments that kind old ladies make? You hear them 20 times a day.

Fourteen different strangers kindly suggesting you “have your hands full” while letting the door slam in front of you. Five grocery store ladies asking “Are they all yours?” and walking off smiling at their own wit. Two preschool moms asking if your last child was planned. Four ladies at church asking if you’re breastfeeding or bottle feeding, and then before you can even answer, loosing forth all the outdated knowledge they have accumulated on the subject.

These comments are harmless in the ones and twos. By the third one, your ears turn red the moment someone opens their mouth. They are motive for homicide after the tenth or twelfth. And while that is going on every time you leave the house, at home you likely feel overwhelmed, lonely, and you’re probably sleep deprived. So no matter what you do, you just can’t win.

I have three kids, 7, 4, and 3, and I feel like we have just reached an age where we can go out of the house without feeling self-conscious and judged every time. Life is really hard at this stage, and it’s impossible to know how hard it was until you’ve cleared it. On the rare occasions someone does have a freak out in public now, I can’t remember how I managed when it was a daily occurrence. Probably because my brain just blocked it out.

So please, forgive these moms for being a little quick to be offended or take things personally. It’s hard right now. Really, really hard. But it gets better. And when it does, they’ll try to remember so they can smile at that overwhelmed mom in the grocery store, and simply say, “She’s beautiful. You’re doing a great job.”

Erin Burt is a freelance writer and mother of three girls. She lives and writes in Oklahoma City.

Getting Your Toddler to Try New Foods

Friday, February 19th, 2016

Getting your toddler to try new foodsWe all want our kids to love fruit, veggies, and other healthy foods. Each child is predisposed to liking different foods, and most kids go through picky phases where they assert their independence through rejecting the food you give them. So what can you do to help encourage healthy eating habits in the long run?

A new study done with schoolchildren in Australia indicated that no amount of “education” or telling kids that something is good for them really has any impact on what foods they eat. What did have an impact, however, was when they allowed children to try a variety of foods and talk about how they tasted, what they liked, and what they didn’t like.

Presentation matters, too. A Cornell study found that while adults preferred three groups of food and three colors on their plates, children preferred six colors and seven groups.

Another important factor is what the parents eat. Every mom can tell you that almost without fail, every child’s favorite food is whatever you are eating right now. If you’re not eating fruits and veggies, they won’t either.

Here are a few things you can do to help encourage healthy eating:

  • Take your toddler grocery shopping with you. Talk to them about the different food and let them pick out something that is “their” special snack. Try a new fruit or veggie each time you go and let them try it as soon as you get home.
  • Let your toddler help you cook. I know, toddlers, cooking? Disaster! There are ways to do this that won’t make you want to pull out your hair. You can premeasure or precut the portion that your toddler is helping with, and let them dump or throw the item in the pot or dish. Allow them to sample safe ingredients, like veggies, if possible. At dinnertime, gush over how your child “made dinner.” They will be so proud, and also more likely to eat what they helped make.
  • Bring home new things to try. Bring home a new fruit or veggie from the grocery store each week for your child to try. If your toddler is older, talk to them about how the new food tastes, feels, and what they like or don’t like about it. Talk about the different things you can make with it. One time my oldest saw a whole coconut at the store and asked if we could buy it. Of course, I almost automatically said no. But we bought it, looked up how to get it open, tasted the coconut milk, and found a recipe to use it in. It was a fun learning experience for us both. Put the emphasis on trying new foods and not just liking or eating it all.
  • Have healthy foods available for snacking. It really kills me when my 4-year-old grabs an apple out the bowl, takes five bites, and leaves it. But at least she’s eating apples. Keep healthy food around when your kids ask for snacks. It will help curb snacking and also help them learn about seasonal foods as the snacks change from season to season.

One thing I discovered worked in our house was when I put a new veggie only on the adult plates and not on my daughter’s when we ate dinner together. I initially did this because of the pediatrician’s recommendation that we introduce new foods slowly to watch for reactions. My daughter immediately noticed the new food and wanted a bite. I marveled at this happy accident that had led my tiny child to beg for bites of broccoli, spinach, zucchini, squash, green beans, and every other veggie I could make. She wanted anything that I had on my plate that she didn’t. It worked with all three kids, although my middle child has become pickier now, and I can’t really explain why.

No one strategy—eating healthy while pregnant, making your own baby food—will guarantee any kid is a healthy eater. But all these little things together can help encourage a lifetime of healthy eating by getting your child off to a strong start.

Erin Burt is a freelance writer and mother of three girls. She lives and writes in Oklahoma City.