Posted in Family, Faith and Fitness, Other, Parenting/Running/Pets, siblings

Parenting and exercise – 5 ways to make it work without the guilt

IMG_0540LENTEN REFLECTION: #28

I ripped this page out of a 1990-something Runner’s World Magazine to remind me why I run and it’s hung on our refrigerator ever since. It’s the subtle reminder I need when the guilt of exercising overwhelms me. It screams, “Lace up and go! Now!”

Here’s how I learned to fit exercise in when my kids were younger…

I had everything timed. While my boys were napping, I would do an at-home workout. At 2:20 as the P-90X or Shaun T cool down concluded, I’d switch off the DVD or treadmill and quietly walk about 30 steps to meet my daughter at the elementary school bus stop. Most days I arrived dripping in sweat from a workout. I repeated this ritual for nine years.

Eventually, the kids got used to my semi-sweaty hello kisses and groaned less each time.  In a sense, I was training the kids to know exercise was part of the day. Kind of a Pavlov effect. Sweaty mom equals a happy mom.

I remember speaking to a friend at church about fitting in workouts. He said, “When my wife complains about my running, I have to remind her I really do it for her.” I nodded, saying, “I get it. I do it for my kids.”

It’s one of those conversations people may overhear and think we’re selfish and crazy…well, maybe.

Frequently, Catholic guilt lurks behind the corners of my decisions and since naptime was retired years ago, I naturally feel bad if I exercise while the kids are home now that they are older.

But now we understand each other and often times, they’ll encourage me and my husband to go run or go to the gym. We take them to practices for their respective sports and never once have they said, “I’m going to exercise really hard for 2 hours, but I feel really guilty about it.” It’s just part of our lifestyle.

Now for the last 27 days, I’ve felt that same remorse blogging. I write during stolen moments of guilt while our kids stare at their exhausted devices and labor over homework. But I can’t stop. Writer’s high is akin to the one of running and is highly addictive. There is joy in sharing my untidy life story and hope that a tiny bit of my parental insight might benefit another soul.

I’ve learned to let the guilt go. After all these years, my kids understand me and can even exercise with me or edit my blog posts. They appreciate that our family values lifelong fitness.

After all, I really do it for them.

Fine. Mostly me.

Here are my top 5 tips on how to fit exercise in and minimize the guilt:

  1. TAKE TURNS WITH YOUR PARTNER – Take turns exercising. One works out, the other helps with homework.
  2. ASK YOUR KIDS TO WORKOUT WITH YOU – Do a 10-minute workout with your kids. Depending on their age, you could run around the block together or they could ride a bike while you run alongside. If they are younger, do simple Yoga stretches like butterfly and cat/cow.
  3. ACCEPT A SHORT WORKOUT – realize even a short 20-minute run or workout will do. Some days I set a goal to do 100 burpees. I’ll break it up throughout the day, or knock it out in sets of 10 with a 45-second rest in between.
  4. HAVE A PLAYDATE WORKOUT – Meet a friend at a playground, play with your kids and mix in playground exercises like push-ups at the end of the slide, monkey bar hanging hold or chin-up hold and planks.
  5. FOCUS ON NUTRITION – Make a healthy meal with your family. Think about the 80/20 philosophy. When you hit 40 years of age, maintaining good health is 80% nutrition and 20% exercise. Sad, but true.

Run on!

Spiritual Workout: Take a walk with your kids and just listen. Don’t try to fix, just listen.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Family, Faith and Fitness, Parenting/Running/Pets, siblings

How to keep the power of storytelling alive…

Throwback Thursday…Originally posted on March 2, 2018

Always, ALWAYS tell your stories.

LENTEN REFLECTION #26

FAITH IN STORIES

Last week, our son was riding bikes, exploring the woods, and climbing trees with a friend. After a while, he came home from the trails and told us a tree fell on him. A little daunting, but luckily he was with a friend who was able to lift it off. Turned out it was an old, small pine tree he was climbing when it just snapped. Thankfully, he was wearing his bike helmet and ended up with only a scratched face, and legs. On Monday at school, he was questioned by friends about the mark on his face, and he shared his story. In the group of students, one boy pressed further, “Do you have a video of it?” “No video” was the reply. “Well then, it didn’t happen.” They debated back and forth, then finally, being a professional selective listener, our son confirmed, “it really did happen” and then moved on, ignoring further hassle.

At bedtime, he told me this story and we sat and picked it apart like old layers of paint peeling off the wall trying to find the original color. My inaugural feeling on the boy’s need for documentation to prove the truth was a feeling of exhaustion. Nowadays, technology negotiates our day much like a seeing eye dog, but with swipes, texts, and posts. We click pictures of our meals, and memories, shorten words and deliver messages as fast as our thumbs can go. Conversations dwindle with our busy lives, along with the age-old craft of storytelling – exactly what our son was doing.

As young children, there’s faith in stories. Maurice Sendak takes us to a wild rumpus and faithfully floats us home with Max as he arrives home to his warm dinner.

Faith in friendship is palpable when Charlotte sits in her web and says:

“You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what’s a life, anyway? We’re born, we live a little while, we die. A spider’s life can’t help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone’s life can stand a little of that.”
― E.B. WhiteCharlotte’s Web

Faith requires vulnerability. Stripping the need for that which is tangible. In “Yes, Virginia There is a Santa Claus” Francis Church interprets faith in his editorial in The New York Sun in 1897:

“You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart.”

The historian Stephen Nissenbaum connects ”Yes, Virginia” with not only faith in Santa Claus, but faith in faith. In the late 19th century religious doubt ran rampant among middle-class Americans. According to Mr. Nissenbaum “…God must exist simply because people so badly needed Him to.” When Mr. Church referred to ”the skepticism of a skeptical age, he was speaking to grown-ups.”

Now that doubt cloaks children too.

We make an emotional investment with every story we tell. Some may believe if a tree falls on a boy in a forest it’s true, doubters will question and want video proof. The vital action is to tell the story, be the raconteur and propel your listeners with you on a journey of faith.

Dig Deep: Go on a Rosary Run! Yesterday I did and it took my mind off the pain. 🙂 Run on!

Lenten Challenge: Pray for the doubters and cynics in the world, truly that’s all of us at times. Keep story-telling alive!

Posted in Family, Faith and Fitness, Parenting/Running/Pets

Destiny? It’s up to us…

Lenten Reflection #25

While waiting at the orthodontist, my son, who lives and breathes mountain biking was reading Enduro Magazine. This is a periodical deemed the most exciting mountain bike magazine of ALL TIME. Now that’s confident. He and I love quotes. We love motivating words that pack a punch and give you an aggressive, reminding push saying no matter how steep the mountain or rough the road, there are no excuses. 

As he read, he took a picture of a blurb in the magazine to store in his phone and passed it to me. “Yes,” I said, “that’s my blog for today”. 

From Enduro Magazine:

The best way to predict the future is to shape it yourself. More concretely: Don’t let these fast-changing times paralyze you, take responsibility and don’t place the burden of change on “the others”. Don’t wait for someone else to live out your dreams for you – take the initiative instead of trolling forums and social media with pessimistic comments. The mere dream of a better world has never created a better future – you’ve got to go out and create it yourself.

After a little research, I discovered credit for the first line of the quote goes to Abraham Lincoln, a man cloaked in wisdom. The message in its entirety reminded me to strive for whatever completes my puzzle. That truly, if my husband and I work tirelessly on our blogs and mission, there will be more. It tells me we can and will make a difference and leave our mark. It just takes work. But what good comes without work? Work is critical. Real work. Long hours of work. Heartfelt work.

So, it’s up to us. We create our destiny. We can start with a small audience like runonmom.com and bit by bit make a difference in the world. All of us can. It’s our destiny. 

Spiritual Workout: There was an elderly man at church who would not let a person go by without telling them to “NEVER GIVE UP”. Last year he passed away, but he left his mark on our family and we quote him regularly. 

Workout: Hold plank for 30 seconds, then follow up with 15 push-ups and repeat 3 times.