I've been saving this one up for the right time. And because today is my birthday (whoop!) I feel less conscientious about shameless self-promotion and more open to receiving attention. OK, sure, I love all that any day of the week, but I'm officially an adult now (or so says my age) so I think that means I'm supposed to temper my enthusiasm for said attention and thus have been waiting to share the accolades bestowed on me by my friend Kate who blogs at Mother Words. She sent this my way:
Now I need to pay it forward to seven more blogs. My Lovely Blog picks:
Go Tribal Now: Technically this isn't a blog, it's more of a community, but there are blogs on the site you can read. The site was created to "Empower Women Through the Journey of Sport." Usually I check into things like this and don't necessarily check back. I keep finding myself checking back here. I like what they're doing.
Small Wonders: This blog comes from my friend Patty who is a naturalist and environmental educator (and runner and mama). If you ever loved to play outdoors as a child, if you encourage your children to play outdoors, if you appreciate nature and want your children to, too, you'll love this blog. Plus, Patty has a lovely way with words, and so it is literally, one lovely blog. I'm always amused and also motivated to get outdoors, no easy feat with negative wind chills around these parts.
Sister Sharing: I am lucky enough to have a mother-in-law who is a writer, too. If it's true that men do marry their mothers then I'm flattered. Libbie is working on her second novel, about two sisters, and started this blog to keep her motivated, to get inspiration from readers' own stories of their sisters and to share her progress on the book.
The Great Fitness Experiment: What can I say? Charlotte is one of the best bloggers out there and I'm proud to call her my blog mentor. Charlotte is a riot. And where does she find all those pictures? The crazy small world thing is she lives about 10 minutes away from me so I've been lucky enough to see her in the flesh! All those crazy experiments happen so close and I am so tempted to join her in a Turbo Kick Boxing class one of these days.
Tales from the Pod: This is my blog splurge of late. Janine, a friend from my childhood, is pregnant with monochorionic/monamniotic twins (dumbed down her identical twins share an amniotic sac and placenta, and this is very rare, so rare her first doctor referred to it as a "birth defect," and I say "first doctor" because she had the good sense to find a new one). While I can attest that even an uneventful twin pregnancy is a challenge, Janine is handling her pregnancy with aplomb. (Doesn't it seem that "aplomb" should have double meaning and describe the physical appearance of her belly, too?) You should start from her first hilarious post, but if you read her latest post, "Survivor Mom," I promise you'll laugh out loud, too. Oh, but don't miss the post where she names her placenta "Fat Shari." Oh man, it feels like a lost opportunity not having named my placentas... BTW, Janine is a former professional ballet dancer, but I predict a blog-to-book deal in her future.
Running Diva Mom: Another fit mama balancing the joys of motherhood with her desire to sweat. This mama is fast approaching her goal to run 1200 miles this year--she has less than 50 miles to go. Impressive goal, and then to know she is accomplishing most of that these days on the dreadmill. She will inspire me next time I have to face the prospect of playing hamster. Will she make it with 10 days to go? Check in and find out!
Fast at Forty: Here we go. As I move steadily (and a little tentatively today) into my forties, I give you Joanna Zeiger's new blog. Joanna is a pro triathlete (one more plug--c'mon it's my birthday!--her first ironman story is in my book: Becoming an Ironman: First Encounters with the Ultimate Endurance Event) who is blogging about her comeback since breaking her collarbone defending her title at the 70.3 World Championships. Joanna knows a thing or two about coming back after injuries and I give her a lot of credit for my comeback after childbirth. Oddly enough our back pain was nearly identical--hers after so many back-to-back Ironman races, mine after back-to-back births. She shared with me her winning physical therapy formula and, four years later, it still keeps me out of harms way. I'll keep my eye on her blog, but she says a website by the same name is forthcoming: "I also plan on creating a website also called fastatforty, which will be geared toward women in their 40's looking to become active or to hone their athletic skills." Bring it Joanna!
For the second part of this award (yes, these awards are a HUGE responsibility, or the blogosphere's version of chain letters) I am supposed to share seven things about myself, but after last week's post, what more could you possibly need to know? So, I give you seven things I know about balancing motherhood and fitness:
1) Whenever I can workout early in the morning I know it's a guaranteed workout. Those early morning workouts are the anchor for my fitness plan. If I need to workout a minimum of two days a week, I need a minimum of two early morning workouts.
2) Every little bit counts: 10 pushups here, 20 calf raises there, 15 minutes on my bike trainer or a 20 minute walk. I don't turn my nose up at anything anymore (and yes, before kids I wouldn't have believed a 20-minute walk was worth my time).
3) Before having kids my main motivation was one fitness goal after another. Now, it's stress relief. These two aren't necessarily mutually exclusive, either. There is a difference between stress inducing workouts and stress reducing workouts. This varies from person to person. Some people might need one or the other at various stages in life or just on different days of the week.
4) The more options you have for workouts, the more likely you are to workout. That's why I have a gym membership, workout dvds, fitness websites bookmarked, a jogging stroller and babysitters who don't think I'm strange when I leave them with my children and literally run away.
5) Let's face it. We all need therapy. We all struggle with various challenges. However, you do not need a therapist if you have friends to workout with you. This was true before having kids, too. Life's annoyances seem to work its way out along with the sweat.
6) I don't have any guilt about leaving my children to workout because I want them to know that fitness is an integral part of my life.
7) As important as it is to make time for my own workouts it's also equally important for me workout in ways that either allow them to see me in the act or include them. I want them to grow up believing fitness is something you just do, not something you have to figure out how to start doing.
Anyone still reading? If you are, what can you share about balancing motherhood and fitness?
I'm finding it extremely difficult to motivate these days. I will spare you the excuses. Still, I manage to get out there and move the minimum required amount. I could tell you it's to keep my heart healthy or to justify the holiday sweets. But that's what they all say. Everyone has their own deep dark reasons to exercise. Here are mine.
1) I need a good reason to wash my hair.
2) I run therefore I poop.
3) My anxiety is in indirect proportion to the amount of exercise I get and I can't swallow pills.
4) The dog needs a walk.
5) I write this blog. Nothing says hypocrite like a sedentary fitness blogger. This blog is as good as an exercise partner for holding me accountable.
And the winner of the Go Go Sports Girl goes to...
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can get you set up to receive that doll. Now you have to decide between the swimmer girl or soccer girl. Hard choice!
Now I have a quick confession to make.
This morning I was helping K assemble her "All About Me" poster. Never mind that it was due yesterday. That is a post about how I can't even handle Kindergarten homework.
I had already been through this assignment with her twin and I remember being surprised by some of the things that define her at this young age.
For instance, I learned Mc hates bees. She has never been stung, but I have, twice, and in the same place: my groin. What are the odds? First time I sat on a bee getting into my car. Second sting was in the middle of a triathlon. Later that day it looked as if I had grown testicles. And then the itching started. So fun. The next day I took the three girls with me to the doctor to get it checked. Perhaps Mc has the image of me bending over so the doc could have a good look. Maybe it was because I was breaking my husband's all important rule: never let your head fall below your ass. Something about that experience impressed upon Mc that bees can cause bodily harm as well as damage to your ego.
The other picture Mc drew in her "I don't like" box was so abstract I had to ask what it was.
"Art projects," she said.
"Since when do you not like art projects?" I asked, hardly believing her.
"I don't like to do art projects at home."
Oh. Read into that what you will. I did.
And in her "What I want to be when I grow up box" she drew a picture of an ice skater. If you're laughing out loud, you probably remember this post last year when I said this about signing my girls up for ice skating lessons: "I left the ice arena secretly hoping they would not love ice skating..."
So now it was K's turn and as we picked out the cutest baby photo (oh, she was cute, my little runt, so spry, so gleeful) and located a family photo, I found myself anticipating what she would include in the boxes.
"I want to cut out pictures and glue them, mama," she requested.
So I went around the house gathering magazines I thought might hold the photos that would appeal to her: Runner's World, Triathlete, Experience Life.
Oh, right, I knew exactly what I was doing, and yet I couldn't stop myself. Would she be drawn to a photo of a runner or cyclist? I swear I will never pressure my kids to follow any particular sport, so what was with my passive persuasion? I was just curious, I told myself, and then to be fair I dug up a Parenting magazine.
She flipped through the Triathlete and started cutting. I got excited and peeked over her shoulder.
"I like Gatorade!" She said.
"But that's not Gatorade honey," I was rolling my eyes behind her. "That's Vitamin Water."
She pushed the magazine aside and picked up National Geographic Kids.
My mother called, which was a welcome distraction. K was able to finish her project without my "help."
Things I don't like: Peanut Butter (Do you know how complicated life becomes when one of your children doesn't like peanut butter? Her twin pleaded with her to draw a bee, too.)
Things I do like: Cookies, candy, Bendaroos (We don't even own Bendaroos.)
What I want to be when I grow up: Artist (I'll admit, that is her calling.)
I put the magazines back (in the bathroom) and complimented her on such a nice poster.
I remember someone telling me once that our job as a parent is not to raise our children but to help them become the people they are supposed to be. We can't want for them what we want for ourselves. We have to help them discover their passions and support them in their self-expression and then stand back and marvel at their unique human beingness.
Of course I want them to follow their heart.
I just want one 5K OK? I just want one of my kids to run one stinking race with me before I die. That's all. I have four kids and a lot of time left. It's like I tell them at dinner almost daily: "You don't have to like it, just eat it." And then, after I've had my one race with who ever draws the short straw they can go on and call me crazy behind my back and become professional ice skaters.
This blog isn't about weight loss or acquiring the perfect body, it's about the absurdities we moms face when we're trying to be mom, wife, employee (or employer), daughter, sister, friend, and the many other roles we take on; while making fitness fit into our lives. As a former endurance athlete, I'm trying to stay in shape while I raise my three young daughters and son. Finding the time and the means to exercise isn't just about me, though. I also want to be a good role model and help my children grow up active and healthy.
I'm mom to 9-year-old twin girls, another daughter who is 8 and a 4-year-old son. I'm also co-author of the book, "Hot (Sweaty) Mamas: Five Secrets to Life as a Fit Mom," (more about that at www.hotsweatymamas.com) and as you might guess, I enjoy being active, especially (but not limited to) running, biking, swimming, and yoga.