Posts Tagged ‘schedule’

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

Do We Need a Daily Routine?

Thursday, October 13th, 2016

During my baby’s first year, one of the most common topics of conversation was about how she was sleeping.  Friends/family/moms in mom groups/strangers in the grocery line all seemed really interested in how she was sleeping.  Once we had established a daily routine, my response was much more positive to the dreaded sleep question. Routines are needed because they let your baby what to expect next, according to Babycenter.  When babies can anticipate what happens next, it provides comfort to them and helps them sleep better. Experts say that routines can be established as early as 2 months or as old as 6 months old, depending on your (and your baby’s) personality.

My first daughter was a snacker. She liked to nurse for short amounts of time every hour or two all day, every day up until she was about six months old. At about 6 months, we started to establish a routine with her, encouraging her to eat more during the day and sleep for longer stretches at night. My younger daughter was content to nurse for long amounts of time, less frequently. We worked out our routine around 4 months. Establishing a routine earlier with my second daughter also benefited my first because we returned to many of our activities that we did before the baby was born.

There is a wide range of philosophies about establishing routines, ranging from the parents setting the routines to basing the daily routine on the baby’s natural schedule and everything in between. For me, and my children, building a routine around their natural schedules worked best.  However, I am a stay-at-home mom, so I have flexibility with our days.

I found that using time intervals–instead of basing the routine off the clock–created a routine that was flexible but still offered my babies the comfort about what was coming up next.  Juniper was the most happy with about 3-3.5 hoursbetween waking and going back to sleep.  When she was about 6 months old, Juniper’s routine would begin with her waking up for the day.  I would feed her breakfast, play with her and do tummy time while her big sister was eating breakfast, get the three of us dressed, then about 2.5 hours after she initially woke up, I would nurse her for about a half an hour to forty-five minutes until she fell asleep for nap.  During her naptime, Lily and I would do one of her classes or another activity (like going for a walk or to the playground).  I would let Juniper sleep as long as she wanted, and then we would start the routine over (meal of solids, play/activity, nurse, nap) again, this would fit into about 3/3.5 hours.  At this point, Juniper was taking two naps a day and going to bed around 6/6:30 at night.  Because we were not tied to the clock, if Juniper wanted to nurse an extra time or take an extra nap, our entire day was not thrown off.

Setting a routine doesn’t have to be a struggle to have your baby follow a schedule based on the clock.  Setting a routine based on a pattern during a rough time interval offers your baby predictability and meets her needs based on her natural schedule with the flexibility that she needs day to day.

Becky Nagel is a stay at home mom to two girls, a three year old and a one year old, in Denver, CO who enjoys cooking for her family, running, and hiking.

The Value of Free Time

Friday, May 13th, 2016

grass rollingFor the first time in my parenting life, my toddler has absolutely no activities to attend, classes to take or socializing to do. This tiny tot has a completely blank schedule, with free time galore. And I’m loving every second of his lack of activities.

When my first baby was born, we filled our days with library storytimes, play dates, zoo trips, swim lessons, art classes, mommy and me symphony, breastfeeding support groups, you name it and we did it. We were BUSY–a set schedule as rigid as could be because they had to have stimulation, socialization and friends. Truth be told, I needed these as much if not more than my kids did. I needed the mommy and me comraderie, the momma tribe of like minded friends who were as sleep deprived, milk stained and hopped up on nursing hormones as I was. I needed to hang out with others who understood if I lost it over a spilt sippy cup or a leaking boob. It was a special and precious time, I made some incredible friends and memories, exploring the world through my baby’s eyes.

Somewhere between baby two and three, my perspective changed on toddler and baby activities. Instead of searching out more things to do (I had plenty already!) I chose to simplify, to reduce our activities and busyness and give this baby the gift of time. Time to be himself, time to play at home, time to just be with mom. He enjoys playing on his own, exploring our back yard and spending endless hours in the parks near our home. We do art at home, we play playdoh, color, build with legos and read. We eat, cook, bake and garden. He enjoys sitting in the sun and watching the birds, and just hanging out. The biggest benefit I see in this free, unstructured gift of time is the abilitiy to self regulate how much he wishes to participate. Studies find that children who participate in more structured activities tend to self regulate less than kids who are left to their own devices. I see now how structured his life will be as he enters preschool and elementary, and if this small gift of freedom is an easy offering I can give him to enjoy these early years in easygoing bliss.

Someday, his days will be filled with busy, but for now, he is happy being free.

Pia Watzig is a stay at home mom to three little boys in Portland, OR.

Let’s Be Bored!

Monday, January 25th, 2016

boredBetween library time, lessons, errands and groceries, many of our kids spend very little time unscheduled. Imaginative free play is very important for building self esteem and confidence in kids, yet many parents shy away from unstructured time. Let’s face it, leaving a toddler to their own devices is something that is not only frowned upon but also a little terrifying. I know my one year old is usually up to no good if allowed to roam freely. But unstructured playtime is very good for our modern kids.

Starting a toddler in an open-ended game–say tents and tunnels, pillow forts, or even blocks, and then stepping away when they begin playing on their own is an excellent way to help them get started. Leaving a few age-appropriate toys in a room for them is great too–it allows them to decide how and what to use and come up with a way to free play. This stimulates the decision and impulse control areas of the brain and allows the child to determine how and why things are done.

Staying home and allowing boredom to occur is another way to allow children and toddlers the time to decide what they truly wish to play with. I know I tend to be out of the house too often, with errands or activities, and my kids don’t get the time to truly immerse themselves into play. When we choose to stay home, I find my boys get wrapped up in make-believe, setting up things for themselves and day dreaming away the hours. Sometimes I find them thumbing through picture books, letting their imagination run wild.

Ways to Encourage Free Play

1. Keep the TV off. Even if the TV is on a show or channel that is not for kids, they will tend to pay attention rather than play. If your kids were watching a show and become absorbed in play, quietly turn down the TV and then turn it off.

2. Don’t “help” them. If your kids want you to solve play problems for them, like building a tall tower, drawing something, or changing a doll, encourage them to take the problem-solving lead and show you how. Praise their efforts when they do!

3. Rotate your toys. Kids love new toys, but their definition of “new” is anything they haven’t seen in a while. By keeping some toys out of sight and bringing them out when the toy selection gets stale, you can get that new-toy mileage out of the stuff you already have, and it also helps cut down on clutter.

4.  Bring out the open-ended toys. Remember when Legos used to come in buckets? No instructions, no pictures, no branding? Branded toys are easy for marketers to sell, but it’s toys like blocks, dolls, balls, and even cardboard boxes that allow children to let their imaginations run wild.

When we allow ourselves to be bored, we let the busyness go and children see us for ourselves. They see how we can pass the time by reading, knitting, cooking or enjoying a good long snuggle. And they learn to be content with what they have within arms’ reach instead of seeking more stimulation elsewhere.

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.