Posts Tagged ‘health’

Why Should We Have to “Have it All”

Monday, December 19th, 2016

have it allSocial media did it again. Another mama went and did something that has a lot of people armed and ready with all their judgments. A mom, ten weeks post-partum, videotaped herself working out as she went about folding cloth diaper laundry from the dryer. Diary of a Fit Mommy is known for her videos incorporating workouts into daily routines and inspires a number of other people, mostly women, to do the same.

I want to be very clear. I have nothing but love for this mama. You get yours! I work out most days of the week and have my own strategies for fitting it in. My routine is a work in progress but I think I get the sentiment behind the idea that we all have time and can find said time if we get creative and honest with ourselves and our day. I also wonder if people would have a strong response to my laundry multi-tasking—folding while talking to my hubby about our day. We are all multi-tasking.

But my first thought upon viewing this video was more of a question: Why must everything be so complex? Can we make single-tasking a fad that sticks? Perhaps the response is doing squats while stuffing cloth diapers is not a complex task. That’s true—it appears relatively easy. I just tried it myself and, yes, it’s simple enough. I’m just wondering what’s so wrong with single-tasking?

All day I’m doing five things at a time. I just want to sit and do the laundry with a show on the TV or even just in the still silence of children in bed. In some ways sitting in the quiet or watching TV still isn’t singular in focus. I might be reflecting on the day or catching up with hubby. Still, can’t I just not always be thinking and acting on the idea of “having it all?”

Lots of women all over the world don’t have it all—they don’t even have the time or resources to play around with the idea of having it all. Sometimes I think what many of us want is just a little simplicity. I am okay with a single focus even if it means I don’t have a “perfectly” slim tummy. For my own sanity I need to not always be doing, fitting everything in, and getting the most out of the day. That just feels like unnecessary pressure and anxiety.

Yet again, that’s what I’ll have to come down to, my own sanity and my own experience. We are all battling different demons; we all have different places we’re coming from and ideas of whom and how we want to be. If you’re in the mood to multi-task your way to a perkier tush while preparing diapers for your baby’s fluffy bum I’m happy you’re finding ways to make your goals reality. I’ll be over here folding laundry and little else, except perhaps taking a sip or two of wine.

Lynette is a mom of three children from 8 months to age four. She has cloth diapered all three since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.

Finding Time to Work Out

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016

finding time to work outYou’re busy. I know. But you hear the voice in the back of your head. Maybe it talks about the clothes that are snug or don’t fit since having babes. It reminds you that you want to be a healthy example for your children. The voice tells you how tired it is, that you need to get some energy in your life. Yet time is always out of reach. This is true for any caregiver whether with one child or four, whether you have a partner or not. We each have particular challenges that make fitting in a workout very difficult sometimes. If you’re convinced you just don’t have the time, consider your situation and see if a few of the following could create time in your day to break a sweat.

Cut something else. For example, take the Facebook app off your phone so you are less tempted to scroll after everyone is asleep and instead put on your sneakers or get some rest so you can wake up a few minutes earlier. Maybe you like waking up slowly in the morning, requiring an extra 15 minutes. Several times a week, take a deep breath and just get moving, literally.

Add an app. Perhaps it’s a nutrition app. Maybe you already have a workout app through your favorite online program or smart watch technology. Update it during that minute you have at lunch or while nursing the babe to sleep. Tracking may offer you incentive. Or add a reward of something special when you reach certain milestones, like a target number of workouts, minutes of workouts, inches lost, pounds lost, and so forth.

Get some accountability. Turns out when people expect me to check in I am more likely to magically find time in my schedule. Accountability offers motive and incentive for me to create time in my day. Try joining a group of friends or even strangers. If you’re in a mom sort of group I am almost entirely sure you could ask and suddenly other moms you know will appear to jump on board or invite you to their group.

Adjust what you consider working out. It doesn’t require fancy weights, a high-profile coach, or an expensive jogging stroller. Use your body weight and take advantage of at-your-fingertip resources like the endless variety of free YouTube videos. Many magazines (like Runner’s World) or organizations (like Yoga International) have free access to many videos with their knowledgeable teachers and leaders. Start small, like with a plank challenge—anyone has time for 2 minutes a day, and a strong core can make other types of exercise easier.

Include the kids! Run around with them, let them climb on you, or encourage them to follow along. You don’t have to find time without them if you include them. This is especially great for caregivers who are with their young children all day but can’t find time alone or those who don’t want to spend what little free time they have at the gym in the evenings after work. This encourages them also to get up and get moving, and may inspire new behaviors and bonds in your family over the years.

At home the kids know I have a workout time. Immediately your preschooler will need you like never before, but stick to your guns so you can firm up your guns! My infant likes to sit in her high chair with a snack and watch the entertainment that is her mother trying any variety of workout moves. She offers inspiration for me to be a great example and I take heart in knowing she won’t remember any of the silly faces I make in pure determination. My preschool-aged sons play with Legos or sometimes join in—as long as they give me enough space to exercise safely.

…Or Set the kids aside.  Sometimes knowing you’ll have kid-free time can motivate you to get out there and get moving. Ask your partner to take over some of the morning or bedtime routine so that you can work on being healthy. Whether you walk, run, or ride, an hour away from the house can be a great way to catch up on the news, a favorite podcast, or audiobook, and being able to keep up with our grown-up interests helps us all feel a little more human.

Break it up. You don’t need to pour sweat for 60 minutes to get in a workout. Ten minutes here and there of getting your heart rate up is a workout! Or, for a SAHM like me, I can manage to find 30 minutes in my day but that takes effort. Sometimes that means 25 minutes of workout and 5 minutes of stopping to redirect my children in some way. I use that half hour and then shower later as I find another free five or ten minutes.

Cut out other time related to working out. Perhaps the time to wash and fix your hair cuts down on your enthusiasm to work out. Throw your hair back in a ponytail a couple days a week or find online tutorials on cute simple wash-and-go hairstyles. Perhaps the travel time to and from the gym is stopping you. Cut it out by finding online videos or body-weight exercises you can do at home.

Consider the gym. Many say it’s not worth the cash. I say it depends. We did not have the extra cash for a gym membership until it became important enough that I was willing to cut other things in our budget. The stars aligned for me when a third child made any childcare too expensive; my interest in getting back to great health increased; and a gym that includes childcare opened nearby. Now it’s a win/win/win—a 90 minute reprieve from the kiddos several times a week, the opportunity to get in workouts, and child-free showers! Look at your budget, local options, and find if health can get a line in your budget.

IMPORTANT: Moms who are nursing must find time to shower and change after every workout! Staying in that sports bra increases risk for mastitis, clogged ducts, and yeast infections. If you don’t have time for a full shower, wipe your breasts with a baby wipe after and change bras at the very least. Never re-wear your sports bras without washing them.

Lynette is a mom of three children from 6 months to age four. She has cloth diapered all three since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.

Tags: infant, toddler, preschooler, parenting, health, exercise, schedule

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. 

Why I Love My Post-baby Body

Thursday, January 21st, 2016

why i love my post baby bodyBefore having babies, I had a terrible attitude toward my body. No matter the size or shape, I was never proud of the body I had and I went to great lengths to shame myself into hiding or masking what I had. After dieting and obsessing over every bite that entered my mouth, I ran and tried the fads out there and never found a cure for my own displeasure.

Then, I got pregnant with my first baby boy. I was suddenly aware of my body, aware of how it functioned and behaved and wanted to fuel it with real good food to help that tiny bean grow. Suddenly, it became less about my looks and more about my health–and for that I am eternally grateful. Now, six years and three babies later, I find the love and respect for my body has increased. I adore my body today in a way that I never would have six years ago.

My weaned breasts are floppy and deflated from their rich, milk filled glory. They no longer look great as they did before children, yet they managed to sustain my children’s life for years on end. They’ve done their job, they put in hours and hours of good hard labor nourishing my little guys and helping them grow. I’m proud of my breasts and their work, and even proud of what they look like now.

My stretched out belly, let’s be honest, was never flat or close to it. It’s always been chubby and full but today it is more marked and stretched than before. I’m very much proud of my love handles, my strong abs that bounced back after babies. These abs are a work in progress, yet they have made a wonderful resting place for my babes, allowing them to bounce and climb all over my cushy tummy.

I remember seeing my swollen ankles the days right before my third baby came. Preeclampsia had made them swell to epic proportions, looking more like swollen pufferfish than ankles (the lack of shaving sure didn’t help!). My toes were sausages, my feet, tamales. Yet today, those same wonderful ankles, feet and toes chase and kick and play with my boys. The keep me going all day and allow me to keep going strong.

Let’s be real about it all–I wobble, I jiggle, I am squishy and roly-poly. I have a thousand flaws and stretch marks, but every one of those are marks of what makes my body unique to me and what I do. I may not look like a supermodel, but I bet you they don’t garden, run or roughhouse my boys like I do.

I may not be a size 6 or 10, or even a 14, but I am very proud of the strength, beauty and health aspect that my post-babies body has given me. I pay attention to health, to balance, to setting a good example for my boys to know what healthy is. And I try to show gratitude for what I’ve been given on a daily basis.

Pia Watzig is a stay at home mom to three crazy boys ages 6, 3 & 1. She enjoys knitting, cooking and trying to wrangle her crazy kids. She lives in Portland, OR. 

Ditch the Resolutions in 2016

Tuesday, January 12th, 2016

ditch resolutions in 2016Every year we get a fresh start, a blank slate, to make this the best year ever. We make decisions to get in shape, lose weight, advance in our careers, buy a new car, save more money than last year. Whatever it may be, there’s something about rolling into a new year that brings with us motivation to do all the things we’ve always wanted to do but haven’t gotten around to yet. At least until the end of the month.

I stopped making new years resolutions a long time ago. The feeling of failure when you don’t accomplish the resolution you’ve been telling yourself you’re going to accomplish for the past five years just isn’t worth it. Instead I’ve opted for baby steps. Better behaviors that I want to incorporate into my life. Behaviors I’d like to see my family incorporate. No resolutions. No I’m going to lose 10 pounds and be a better mother this year.

What does that look like? Simple. Find some small things you’ve always wanted to do and just do them. Small changes don’t seem daunting and life changing but at the end of the day anything that improves your life for the better is life changing in the best of ways.  Here are some good ones to think about for this year.

Spend more time in nature. No matter what you do, make it a habit to spend time outside. We spend too much time inside and nothing connects us to the bigger picture of life than connecting with the physical planet we live on. Go for a walk, plant a garden, hug a tree. Just do something to get you outside.

Cook more. Eating home cooked meals is one of the easiest things you can do to keep yourself, and your family healthy. How many times do you cook dinner? Add one more dinner to the list and something and you’ll be surprised how much of a difference it will make.

Express gratitude daily. We easily get lost in all the material things we want and “need” it can be easy to forget all the blessings we already have. Take some time to look beyond all the “things” and focus what wonderful things have happened.

Jacqueline Banks is a certified Holistic Health Counselor focused on nutrition and green living strategies. She works with women in all stages of motherhood, from mothers struggling with conception, through pregnancy, lactation and beyond to ensure the best health and nutrition for both mother and baby.