When you become a Mom, you give over a part of your life to the raising of your children.
There’s a lot of societal talk about “having it all” – Moms that retain their identity and their life while raising kids. It’s a seductive thought, too – and most of us strive to keep something that makes us, well, us. It’s not the best idea psychologically to completely absorb yourself in the task of raising your children. For one thing, you’re just setting yourself up for a nasty future case of “empty nest syndrome.”
Nevertheless, what are the reasons you became a Mom? Did you do it so you could have it all, change your life as little as possible and still do all the things you could have done if you weren’t a Mom? Or did you do it because you liked the idea of how your life would change? You knew, acknowledged and wanted to raise a child and see them through to adulthood. So if you knew what you were getting into, it makes sense to want to balance the Mom you with the old you. You’re the same person: the two aspects of your character don’t have to be in constant competition.
We’re going to focus on an aspect of life that we should probably all pay more attention to than we do: health and fitness. Often, products and writing in this area focus on the single gal, career-driven lifestyle. If you get nutritional or exercise tips aimed at Moms, it generally is focusing on how to provide well for your kids. It’s almost as if your own nutritional needs and guidance fade into the background the moment you get a positive pregnancy test.
The only way you can truly bring all the different facets of your personality together is to incorporate them. Select all the different strands of your life, the essence that makes you you, and then braid them together. When you do that, you create something better than the sum of its parts – something beautiful, something worth having.
You Can… Exercise With Your Kids
The wonderful thing about this is that for kids, exercise isn’t exercise – it’s just playtime.
Think about it. When you were younger, what are the conventional ways you used to spend time? We’d wager that the jungle gym, running around, going for walks to explore new places, playing games like hide and seek, playing with jump ropes – all of these are involved. So that’s play – but it’s also, on a purely physiological level they have another description.
They’re cardiovascular exercise.
Exercise as an adult has a tendency to lean towards the boring. It’s all sitting on a stationary bike, pedaling furiously to go nowhere at all. Why not introduce some fun back into your own regime and involve your kids with it?
Kids need exercise for the sake of their physical and mental well-being. You need exercise for the exact same reasons. So why do we so often separate these? Have you ever seen (or even done yourself) a routine whereby your kids get sent out to play, so you have time to hit the treadmill? It’s madness!
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Go for nature walks. The benefits for you are the walk itself, with its gentle workout and mood-improving wonders. For your kids, it’s a time to learn. Print out worksheets of different levels with plants, birds, and animals and see if they can find them, with a small prize in reward for anyone who manages it. For your own benefit, equip yourself with the best walking shoes for women and even consider carrying small hand weights to give yourself an extra boost.
Trampolining. If you have the backyard space, a trampoline can easily be turned into a tool for exercise. You can use it alongside your kids, or amuse yourself with it while they play nearby. Supervision and a workout? Now that is having it all!
Jump ropes. These were mentioned earlier in passing, but skipping is an intense way of upping your own regime. Teach your kids how to double-dutch, and you can all feel the benefits.
Yoga. The idea of doing yoga with children might sound off-putting, there are plenty of ways to make it fun. Positions can be a competition for who can get into it best and hold it for the longest. It might not be the most mindful of workouts, but your body will get the benefits all the same.
You Can… Teach Them To Cook With You
Lessons don’t just happen in the classroom. Teaching your kids the fundamentals of proper nutrition works well for both parties.
One of the best ways of introducing kids to the kitchen is to ask for their help preparing an exotic fruit salad. No standard apples or bananas they have seen throughout their life here! Go for the strangest, most interesting fruit ideally from far-off climes. They’ll be interested in something because it looks weird, and it gives you the chance for a brief geography lesson about its origin state. Then you get to eat what you’ve prepared and get a nutrition boost from it.
For older kids, teach them about the food groups and how to balance a plate. They can learn about proteins, carbohydrates, different kinds of fats – and even get a little math in there as they work out what percentage of the plate should be what.
It’s advisable to keep children away from direct food prep. You’d be rightfully reticent about the idea of them handling knives until they’re of an appropriate age, but when that time comes, don’t shy away from it. Show them how sharp knives are before you begin, so they understand the consequences. Even with proper instruction, it’s wise to keep their prep to fruits and vegetables only – no one wants them handling meat, and gaining a new lesson called “How It Feels To Have Salmonella.”
By uniting these areas of your life, everyone stands to benefit. You take care of you and in doing so, your kids as well. Unity at last.