Being healthy, fit AND a Mom. It’s possible!
I just spent the last hour (procrastinating from the mound of laundry on my bed to fold and put away) creeping around on Instagram and I’m pretty sure 95% of the girls featured on the fitness pages I looked at are not moms. Actually probably more like 99%. Why do I look? Why do I read??. This is not my reality. Not even close.
Truthfully I want to punch these girls with their inspirational messages about being healthy and getting more sleep and taking more time for yourself and “not stressing.” Ahhhh sure! That’s what I’ve been doing wrong. Next time my son is up in the night with a nightmare and I’m up for hours or my daughter still needs help with her homework at 10pm I’ll just tell them to stop it because I need to de-stress and take some time. I’ll skip making supper a few nights a week. I’m sure they will understand.
Or maybe I should just put a stop to the constant driving to play dates, sleepovers, activities and birthday parties. Or maybe it’s packing lunches, getting groceries, doing laundry for 3 and picking up and cleaning behind them. That alone could free up 2 full days of my week so I could “rejuvenate.”
Doctors/dentist appts, school functions and volunteering, worrying that they are developing normally, tournaments, swimming and piano lessons, going through my tweens internet history, colds and flu’s. It goes on and on and before you know it it’s time to repeat it all the next day. Not to mention that I still have to squeeze my job that actually pays in there…..
Honestly though. It’s life. And they are the best part of mine. I wouldn’t trade them for all the sleep and zero stress in the world. And though I do make certain things a priority for myself at times, as a mom your children and their well being will always come first. It’s a law. I’m sure of it.
So let’s be realistic. The social media images we see on popular fitness pages are most likely childless (meaning they haven’t had a 55lbs weight gain with a 5 lbs baby…oops), 20 years old and have spray tans and professional makeup artists, hairdressers and photographers. If I had to guess none of these girls just finished dropping their screaming child off at the gyms’ child care facility so they could maybe get in a 45 min workout. Just a hunch.
Instagram, Facebook, webpages…what you are seeing is not any more “real” than what you are seeing when you watch a movie or your favourite show. It’s easy to think these images are somehow “personal” or realistic but they aren’t. And though I am all for any media portrayal of a healthier lifestyle I think it’s important to remember the level of glamorization that is going into many of these images. Most of these girls are being paid to workout and are essentially models and “faces” to products and the diet and fitness industry.
However this doesn’t mean being healthy and fit is impossible for us moms. It just means we need to acknowledge the farce that online media is and accept it is going to be slightly more challenging to be fit and healthy. Ok fine…WAY more challenging. But it IS possible! And not only is it good for you it’s also an amazing example for your children!
So where do we start? Stress… Nobody can eliminate that. And as moms we have more than most. However, the healthier you eat and the more fit you are, the better you will be able to handle your stress. I eat extremely healthy and I work night shifts as a nurse, am a single mom and just finished a graduate degree. If I can maintain a healthy diet anyone can.
You HAVE to plan and prepare your meals ahead of time. I can’t stress this enough. When I bake I make enough for an army and freeze. I make enough rice or quinoa to last for 4 or 5 days and cut up a weeks worth of veggies at a time. You cannot be coming home after swimming lessons or practice and not have something half ready to go already in the fridge.
Speaking of which, I always have nuts and dried fruit in my car and something healthy to eat in my purse that will keep myself or the kids from wanting to eat junk on the way home or when we are out. I make breakfasts and lunches at night (before I go to work) because school mornings are always crazy and doing these things at night allows me the extra few minutes to make sure nutrition and not a lack of time is dictating what we eat in a day.
Then there is the time. Every person on this earth has the exact same 24 hours as the next but as busy moms these 24 hours will never, ever be enough. You will most likely never say to yourself “wow, I’m so bored I’m going to spend extra time at the gym today” or “I can’t believe how little work there is to do around the house, I think I’ll go for a run.” (If you have ever said either of these please email me because I need YOUR help). So basically time comes down to choice. You NEED to CHOOSE to make nutrition and fitness a priority.
Make family time active. Walk, bike ride, rock climb, archery, golf, hike, swim. Don’t just watch your kids at the park get in there and play too! There are SO many family friendly rec facilities. No excuses there! I have also made it a habit to never and I mean never watch TV without being on a treadmill or elliptical. If you have time to sit and watch a show for a hour you might as well be active at the same time. So watch whatever it is on your iPad and move (when House of Cards came out I was in the best shape of my life haha!)
Also, change your perspective. By this I mean that your toddler will not be developmentally delayed from being on the iPad for an hour while you walk on the treadmill. You CAN walk with your head held high past 4 baskets of laundry and toys all over your basement while you head out to the gym. Running around the field while your child is at soccer practice is NOT strange it is awesome! You just need to do it, in whatever way works best for you and your children!!!
My perspective has changed that I look at being active as my “reward.” As I was recently unpacking and doing post-vacation laundry and clean up I literally said to myself “get this done and you can go to the gym.” It is MY alone time. And I need it. My kids know to leave me alone for an hour unless it’s an emergency when I’m working out at home (though we have had to have a few talks about what is considered an emergency). And I do not feel guilty about it. Not even a little. Because as much as being fit is for you it is also for them. Not just as an example but also in the way that a healthier lifestyle makes you stronger mentally and physically and ultimately that makes you an even better mom!