FITNESS - How To Be A Fit Mommy
Who Needs A Gym?
So, the other day I was driving my kids to school trying to organize my tasks for the day while I was listening to several conversations at once. The radio was blasting, my little girl was chatting about some "little" thing at her new school and my son was yelling about the fact that we were 5 minutes late. Did I mention that his school started 20 minutes after we got there? "Oh, I said to myself. He meant that he was LATE to hang with his friends BEFORE school." This happens every day now and I just go into "automatic mommy program mode."
After I first dropped my oldest off at his school, I noticed some of the moms hitting the nearby bike path for an early morning walk. I usually hike up above my home with my dog, but since I drop my kids off at different schools now it gets a bit easier to make excuses. I used to drop them both off at the same school and then I would head home for a good hike with my dog before I started my day. Since now it has become more social with the other parents at my daughters new school which is a bit of a drive, I never get back before 8:45am. By that time I get a bit lazy since my day starts at six in the morning or earlier and I'm never still until the moment that both kids are at school. This is the moment that I think to myself "silence," "breathe," and "coffee!"
The main thing is even if I still belonged to a gym, I would never get there if I get distracted by too many things. I call this "frazzle brain" which seems to happen more and more often as my children get bigger and I have become a taxi for them! It also happens when I get "overwhelmed" by everything else I'm doing including pursuing a career, or maybe two.
I decided if I do not get myself moving right when I return from dropping off the kids, I will not get "moving" at all. My plan has now become a map and I have figured out ways to "keep myself moving" and also include the children at the same time. So, every weekend I make sure we do a family hike into the mountains on Saturday or Sunday. If we go to the beach, I make sure I run along the water while they play. Lately I have been running with my daughter down at a local school that has a great running track once or twice a week even if she keeps running and I eventually keep walking, we enjoy doing this together. When I take the kids to their afternoon activities, I make sure that I take a walk while they are busy. When my kids ride their bikes, I also run alongside them on the bike trail. I tell you, trying to catch up with a bicycle and a skateboard will do wonders! Especially if I imagine that something may be wrong when they are "out of sight" because I'm too slow! Being "neurotic" works wonders in this sort of setting. I yell for them until they answer just to make sure everything is ok and I can still hear them. I must sound ridiculous as I yell their names in my frantic and "out of breath tone." Ofcourse I always hear them giggle and make fun of the fact that I'm a bit behind. This still brings them great joy.
I did promise myself that I would hike atleast two times a week in the morning instead of hitting my favorite coffee shop. Another thing I do whenever I meet friends for coffee or a meal is take a walk afterwards or during our visit. This was suggested to me by a few of my friends a while ago and I really enjoy it.
Now I know some women who are reading this work full time and do not relate to this at all except for the extra activities on the weekends. Quite a few of my friends who work all week and have young children try to slide out for a walk after dinner. If their spouse is working late or they are single moms, they try to take the kids with them in a stroller. If their children are too old for a stroller and they do the "whiny sounds that sound like they have regressed back to babyhood," my friends bribe them with something else like a "special treat" of some sort. If I'm gone all day and I want the kids to get out of the house with me, I reach into my magic hat for my favorite "bribery spells." I can get my son to stop whining by just saying a few very simple words like "VIDEO GAME." He sort of "lights up" and suddenly becomes a robot and I do not have to tell him to do a thing! He gets up, puts his shoes back on and heads out the door knowing that he will be rewarded with the ultimate brain damage on his return! Voila! My little girl will ask for money and put her hand out, so I go to the coin jar and give her a few coins. "Hey," I always say to myself "whatever works!" After all, let's not forget that this is "me time."
If I get home late, I try to watch and pose along with a yoga tape or just do a twenty minute work out that I learned a long time ago. It has been proven that any workout does not have to take up your day. Sometimes twenty minutes a day is all you need to get fit and this is what should break people away from their every day excuses. I did learn a lot about this in a weight loss program called Body For Life a few years ago. I could never stay on the Body For Life food plan, but the weight training and fitness instruction is fantastic. Another great thing to do indoors is a stationary bike that you can do while you read or watch television. I do this sometimes after the kids are asleep if I have any energy left or at lunchtime when I'm working from home and I'm too "overwhelmed" to leave.
If you are at work and away from the children most of the day, it would be best to walk around the block at lunchtime or get a few friends in the office to join you. It's not always fun to go at it alone and if you talk the whole time, you may not even notice that you are completely out of breath! I do this with other moms and we really do have a great time.
The point is that there are so many ways to get fit when you are a mom. Instead of making it seem like it is "too much," just try a few things at a time. A family walk or hike on the weekend and maybe a walk in the morning after you drop off the kids once or twice a week. Coffee and a walk with a good friend or two and don't forget to include the kids too!