Monday, December 28, 2015

Life as a Fit Mom: The Complete eBook Series

This is my 480th post on Mama Sweat. I have finished publishing all six books in the Life as a Fit Mom eBook series and now the final book that includes the complete series. Ta-Dah!

Life as a Fit Mom: The Complete eBook Series is available for $5.99 on:
Apple iBooks
Google Play
Barnes and Noble and Kobo should have it within the next day or so.

As the days for 2015 dwindle and the expectations for 2016 rise, I have an "I've got this" feeling, which no doubt I've earned, not just through trial and error, but from writing about those experiences on this blog. Thanks for listening and giving me space to flesh out the best way to balance fitness and motherhood (or learn from my mistakes).

What I've discovered in these last seven-plus years:

1) Committing to a fitness goal is hard. This I've known for a long time, even back before I had kids. No matter what is going on in your life you have to want that goal, really want it, for that goal to see light. Committing to something can make you feel vulnerable, which can be scary. Then you have to rise above that fear and work toward your goal with focus, passion and intensity. Whether you've set your sights on a 5K, being able to do a pull up, deadlift your body weight, or finish an Ironman triathlon, getting to the finish line will feel easy compared to making the commitment and working toward your accomplishment. And when you do reach your goal the exhilaration is priceless. But there is a price, often a high one, for pushing your body to its limits and so you should spend wisely (and not declare body bankruptcy like I did a few years ago).

2) Committing to an active life is easy. It is. Boils down to moving everyday. The simplicity is shocking. For me, that revelation is also empowering. Being active everyday is also inclusive for my kids (and dog). Most everyday I go for a walk, hike or run for whatever amount of time available, even if I have only 10 minutes. We have a living area in our house with nothing more than a gym mat. There is always someone moving in some way in that room. I fit in yoga and pilates a few times a week and throw down some push ups or play on the bosu ball here and there. I move every single day without any expectations and that's what opens up my options and opportunities to make an active life easy.

I've got this. I'm going to keep on living this active life and when the desire for a fitness goal strikes, I'll take it on. (But I will be judicious about when and how often I do this). I've got this. I'll keep taking my kids on hikes, to go swimming, rock climbing, play tennis, or other activities to keep their bodies engaged (and one of these days they'll appreciate it). I've got this. I'll keep writing and weaving fitness into my work, whatever that continues to be. I've got this. I've also got a messy kitchen, piles of unfolded laundry, and a neglected junk drawer. I've also got a loving family, faithful friends and good neighbors. As I enter 2016 I just have this overwhelming feeling that I've got this. And if you haven't already figured it out, you do too.

Let's stay connected. I'll send very occasional emails to subscribers from my new website,

Make sure you enjoy these last few days of 2015 with some Mama Sweat of your own!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Winning as a Fit Mom

It's my birthday! I can't think of a better way to celebrate than with the final launch of the eBook series that I've been working on for two years. This last book, Winning as a Fit Mom, became it's own  short publication after I decided that my musings on striving for my personal best as an athlete/mother/human warranted more than a chapter in another book. Winning as a Fit Mom deserved to stand alone. Head held high.

Winning as a Fit Mom is now available for $1.99 at:

Apple iBooks
Barnes and Noble
Google Play

As 2015 comes to a close, so will the blog I've written for more than seven years. Please stay connected with me on the Hot (Sweaty) Mamas Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram. And don't forget the e-newsletter sign-up form on my website so I can touch base here and there (that's where e-book deals and freebies will come from).

However it is you celebrate the holidays I hope they are filled with comfort and joy (plus sweat, always a little sweat for mama).

Monday, December 14, 2015

Feeding the Fit Family

One of the many parenting struggles I made public on this blog was feeding my children healthy food. I've experienced more than a few instances of rebellion at the dinner table. But I believe feeding my children well is part of raising a fit family. So I persevered and shared on my blog small success stories. Turns out, I included more than a few kid-approved recipes and so compiled those and more, plus a few epic fails and dinner-table strategies into the fifth book in the Life as a Fit Mom eBook series.

Feeding the Fit Family is now available for $1.99 at:

Apple iBooks
Google Play
Barnes and Noble (coming soon)
Kobo (coming soon)

Those who have already signed up for my e-newsletter by December 19 will receive this eBook free!

I have only two posts left at Mama Sweat. Please stay connected with me on the Hot (Sweaty) Mamas Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram. And don't forget the e-newsletter sign-up form on my website so I can touch base here and there (that's where the e-book deals and freebies will come from, including a free copy of Feeding the Fit Family!).

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Raising a Fit Family

The Boy, now 6, is fickle. He loses interest quickly in any activity or sport he participates in. He made it through two sessions of gymnastics this fall but now says he's done. He doesn't want to play basketball. He likes rock climbing but doesn't want to take lessons. Same with swimming. So what, I asked him, does he want to do?

"Exercise at home," he said.

Because I'm on a mission to raise a fit family I was tickled by his answer. In my effort to keep him active and introduce new sports, though, I hadn't considered that option, but yes, of course, playing outside or being active at home should be part of his lifestyle (just like it is for his mom and dad, which he observes on a regular basis and so--yeah!--he noticed). Saving money to sign him up for some class is an added bonus.

When I started Mama Sweat my intention was to motivate moms to find space in their busy demanding lives to take care of themselves with regular workouts. It wasn't long before I realized kids needed to be part of this fit life too. They were watching, after all, and I wanted them to grow up to be active and healthy as much as I wanted to stay active and healthy. Turns out I wrote enough material about this to publish the fourth book in the Life as a Fit Mom eBook series. Raising a Fit Family is now available for $1.99 at:

Barnes & Noble (coming soon)
Google Play
Kobo (coming soon)
Apple iBooks

Please stay connected with me on the Hot (Sweaty) Mamas Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram. And don't forget the e-newsletter sign-up form on my website so I can touch base here and there (that's where the e-book deals and freebies will come from).

Monday, November 30, 2015

Throwing a Fit: Toddlers to Tweens and Injury in Between

The title of the third book in the Life as a Fit Mom eBook series or a rant about my experience at Disney World last week? For fun, let's make it both.

Rant first (so I can end this post on a positive note).

We had been talking about this extended family (14 of us in all) trip to Orlando for a year. I had called the Disney planning help-desk (my term) no fewer than five times, read three travel guides and visited several Disney blogs. Still, I felt planning this trip required a secondary degree. I figured this would all be worth it when The Boy, who would be making his inaugural trip, experienced the Magic.

As you can see in the photo below (taken about one hour after walking through the front gates) The Boy (front center) was not impressed. But I can't say I blame him. We rode three rides using Fastpasses and then weren't able to get any more Fastpasses for the day. This meant hour-plus waits for other rides we wanted to do. The place was wickedly crowded. We left before the fireworks.
No matter. For The Boy this trip centered on going to the Jedi Training show. On my first call to Disney I learned 1) I needed to go to Hollywood Studios to experience the Star Wars attraction. 2) I couldn't make a reservation so needed to show up at 8 a.m. when the park opened to ensure we could get in. 3) The sign-up for Jedi Training was next to the Star Tours ride.

I had been through these steps with no fewer than three Disney customer service people in the months and weeks before our trip. I made my entire party of 14 (including two teenagers) get up and leave our hotel at 7:15 a.m. (which was really 6:15 our time) so we could make sure The Boy went through Jedi Training.

Jedi Training! A memory my little Star Wars fan would never forget!

After entering the park promptly at 8 a.m. I asked our ticket taker the fastest way to Star Tours to sign up for Jedi Training.

And this is what he said: "There is no Jedi Training today."

After all that studying, checking, and rechecking. Wha? It was closed, he said, for refurbishing. I had known the show had been closed months ago, but my first Disney guide told me the show would reopen mid-November, and--weren't we lucky--we would arrive after the reopening.

Somehow, Disney failed to inform the customer service agents I spoke to about the delay in reopening. And there I was with my 13 family members looking to me for... what? Permission to beat the guy up? A chance to go back to bed?

I really, truly wanted to throw myself on the ground and sob. I had spent about six months planning this trip. Magic Kingdom had been a bust. I wanted a good day. I wanted some freaking Magic.

It was Thanksgiving. By golly we had Fastpasses scheduled so we rode our rides (inducing Star Tours, which The Boy loved immensely) and allowed him to construct his own light saber. We left early (because we couldn't get anymore Fastpasses anyway) and let the kids swim in the pool the rest of the afternoon.

I had made reservations at the Swan Hotel's Garden Grove restaurant for Thanksgiving dinner. A coup with our large party. The restaurant was in a Disney hotel and B-list characters--Chipmunks, Pluto, and the like--would be in attendance. (I had attempted making Thanksgiving Day reservations in June for every restaurant inside every Disney Park but all were booked. I knew then I was out of my Disney vacation planning league.) With two days of Disney in the books I was ready to give thanks with my family over turkey and gravy. What more could go wrong?

The restaurant did not have our reservation.

I was quickly whisked away to a nearby bar by two women who care deeply about my mental health, while the husbands stood back with the kids raiding the dessert table during the hour wait.

Could the night get worse? Yes. The martini was awful. Jet fuel with a sake backwash aftertaste. I just needed a little something to take the edge off, make this day laughable, but I couldn't choke it down. Then, once we finally got seated and made our way to the buffet, the turkey was served with a salacious come-on... to my 17-YEAR-OLD NEPHEW.

Seriously, Disney. Not cool.

We spent the next two days at Universal and thanks to our Unlimited Express Passes (if time is indeed money then they were worth the expense) saw and rode to our hearts content. Still, what the kids enjoyed most was hanging out with each other in the pool. For free.

It really is that easy (and cheap). Being together was priceless and for that I was grateful.

I'm also grateful for the release of my third eBook. Yeah!

Throwing a Fit: Toddlers to Tweens and Injury in Between is available here:

Barnes & Noble
Google Play

This book covers the hard stuff (not unlike repeated letdowns at Disney World) and how I worked my way through them, some better than others. The book is in large part about the importance of fitness when clinging to sanity, how to stick with it when motivationally challenged, what fitness even means when you're injured and can't do the things you want to do. Truly, the chaos I speak of when I say "chaos of motherhood."

There's something magical about picking yourself up from the asphalt (or couch) and going forward despite not getting your way.

Remember to connect with me before this blog comes to an end -- on the Hot (Sweaty) Mamas Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram. And don't forget the e-newsletter sign-up form on my website so I can touch base here and there (that's where the e-book deals and freebies will come from).

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Fit Mom's Guide to Pregnancy and Postpartum Speed Bumps

Not long after starting the blog in 2008 I became pregnant with The Boy. Over and over I promised readers I wouldn't chronicle my pregnancy in detail; I would stick to the blog's mission of finding fitness in the chaos of motherhood. Already having two 4-year-olds and one 3-year-old made for plenty of material on that front. Alas, my pregnancy crept into my posts, as did my postpartum experience trying to rebound (but damn the mastitis!).

I wrote enough about the pregnancy and postpartum experience to create a (short) eBook, which is now for sale (for $1.99) on:

Google Play
And coming soon to Barnes & Noble

While most of the material I believe is great advice for new moms or moms-to-be (such as "Everything I Know About Coping with Pregnancy I Learned from Being a Triathlete"), some of it serves as a cautionary tale, as in: Read and learn from my mistakes!

As we gear up for Thanksgiving this week I am grateful for the nearly eight years I spent blogging and interacting with my fit-mom readers. I hope you'll stay connected with me on the Hot (Sweaty) Mamas Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram. And don't forget the e-newsletter sign-up form on my website so I can touch base here and there (that's where the e-book deals and freebies will come from).

Have a happy and active Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Finding Fitness in the Chaos of Motherhood

For the last two years I've been putting together the Life as a Fit Mom eBook Series based on the last 7+ years of Mama Sweat blog posts. And finally, they are getting published, starting with the first in the series this week, "Finding Fitness in the Chaos of Motherhood." 

It's official!

Why the eBooks? Because soon--as in, the end of the year--I will no longer blog. Mama Sweat has been a cathartic journal of balancing fitness and motherhood, a repository of my fit mom opinions, and even grew into a fit mom community. I would swear no one but my mom was reading and then I'd hear from a reader I didn't know in another state, even another country. These weekly blog posts not only gave me structure in my chaos, they also gave me immense satisfaction knowing they mattered to other people out there, too.


I've covered an awful lot and it's time to move on. I want to spend more time focusing on writing the fictional stories of the Go! Go! Sports Girls, promoting fitness literacy and health empowerment to kids,  and, of course, nurturing my own athletic children.

I have published the highlights from Mama Sweat (including the ever-popular pelvic floor posts) on my new website, Links for my books, including the Life As a Fit Mom eBook series, will be there too. The ebooks are based on the best of the blog posts plus more material (dare I say, a few fit mom poems, too).

Although the blog will soon come to a close, I will still be out there on social media: on the Hot (Sweaty) Mamas Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram. And, there is an e-newsletter sign-up form on my website so I can reach out to you very occasionally (seriously, no one hates a cluttered inbox more than me so I promise to be respectful). Another reason to sign up for the mailing list is because everyone who is signed up before Friday, November 20, will receive "Finding Fitness in the Chaos of Motherhood" for free. So there's that.

What is the first book, "Finding Fitness in the Chaos of Motherhood" all about?
Whether you're expecting your first child and need a dose of reality or feeling overwhelmed parenting young children, Finding Fitness in the Chaos of Motherhood will provide motivation to become more active and the lift you need (for muscles as well as mood) to be strong enough for motherhood.

In Finding Fitness in the Chaos of Motherhood, Kara Douglass Thom shares the absurdities she faced while keeping fitness a priority in her life after having children. While embracing the chaos she had to change her perspective on what "counted" as a workout and find creative ways to fit fitness in.
If you'd like to read more, go sign up and I'll send the eBook to you at the end of the week. The next five books in the series are:

Stay tuned for more details on those titles in the next few weeks to come. Meanwhile, thanks for being such great readers and supporters of Mama Sweat! See you over at

Monday, September 21, 2015

Is "Athlete" the new "Princess"?

Recently a mom from Oklahoma, Betsy Gregory, snapped a photo of her daughter's softball team and it went viral. Why? Because this team, "The Freeze," played softball in dresses from the movie Frozen. Today, even the girly girls are playing sports. Athlete isn't synonymous with being a tomboy anymore. You can be fierce and sparkle.
That's why I love Go! Go! Sports Girls new campaign: "Athlete is the New Princess."

These memes are on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Please feel free to share!

It's all about #girlpower. More great comparisons coming. Follow @gogosportsgirls on social media to see them as they come out.

Go! Go! Sports Girls just launched a new monthly contest to celebrate our girls in sport. If you want to be entered to win free product, all it takes is loading a photo of your favorite girl playing her favorite sport/being active/getting dirt on her skirt. The photos already loaded on the page are A-Dorable!
This month's giveaway includes both soccer dolls and the soccer book.
As a mom of three daughters who have grown up playing with the Go! Go! Sports Girl dolls I feel like I did something right as a parent to be able to give them dolls that represent who they are, versus something I DON'T aspire for them to become (are you listening Monster High and Bratz dolls?) They have a Go! Go! Sports Girls doll for just about every sport they've tried (and so they have a lot) but I loved buying them because I felt I was validating their life just as it was (helps that the dolls are built in specification to a real girl's body, too). You don't have to be glamorous; you don't have to aspire to wear high heels; you don't need blowfish lips and heavy eye make-up. Even if you do want all that, can't we save it for later? Do we really need to push that on 6-year-olds?

Athlete is the new princess because 17 million girls play an organized sport every year.

Athlete is the new princess because Title IX helped create this new line of royalty.

Athlete is the new princess because we have women like Maya Moore and Serena Williams holding court. Women like Missy Franklin, Gabby Douglas, and Hope Solo showing girls how to shine.

Athlete is the new princess because dress up now includes team uniforms, cleats, and sweatbands.

Athlete is the new princess because strong is the new pretty.

Learn more about the Go! Go! Sports Girls dolls and books at

Monday, May 18, 2015

We All Have Our Moments

As proof that I have moments when my motivation is in the ditch, I bring you this screen shot (my comments are in blue). If you think you're the only one who struggles to get your butt up and out the door, rest assured, you are not.

More about finding motivation is on my website

Thursday, April 16, 2015

How My "Oops!" Parenting Moment Became Welcome Adversity For My Kids

Last Tuesday I had the opportunity to attend a speaking event with Cheryl Strayed, best-selling author of Wild, which as the universe would have it was the perfect prep for my lesson in parenting that week.

The whole of Cheryl's speech was riveting but there was one particular nugget that stuck with me as she spoke of lessons learned from her solo journey across the Pacific Crest Trail. She described how it served as a rite-of-passage for her, something most cultures once provided as children became adults. The common core among all rites-of-passage, she said, include a physically difficult challenge with elements of deprivation that is accomplished in solitude.

That resonated with me as an endurance athlete and was how I described why I trained and raced for marathons and triathlons some 20 years ago to my then octogenarian grandfather. I told him if I had been born 100 years earlier I would have been one of those people in a covered wagon heading west. This modern era of ours doesn't provide many opportunities to experience the kind of physical struggle that was an integral part of life for our ancestors. My struggle as an endurance athlete was fabricated, yes, but in a way that filled the yearning to dig deep, which has been passed down in my DNA by my pioneering forefathers.

Can we all agree that adversity can be good for us? Can we agree that in general, kids growing up in middle and upper class families at least, don't experience a whole lot of adversity? In fact, protecting our kids from adversity seems to have become part of our jobs as parents; to keep our kids safe; to always be there when our kids are in need. Can we all agree then that what we might think of as parenting failures might indeed be just the adversity our kids need?

So it was in HINDSIGHT, after recalling Cheryl's speech, that I realized I did my kids a favor last week when I was downtown at a writing conference and unable to be there for them. They got off the bus in the driving rain (which turned to sleet) and discovered that the garage code, which normally provides entry to the house, was not working. My kids don't have cell phones. Did I mention my husband was traveling?

Without any help from me, they devised a plan: one 11-year-old stayed under the porch with the 6-year-old, while the other 11-year-old and 9-year-old walked about a half-mile to our neighbor's house (not the closest neighbor, but the one with kids on the same bus where they knew an adult was home). My neighbor called me and we managed to get the kids safely inside without me having to leave my writing conference early.

Once all was said and done (i.e. collecting myself after sobbing over the fact that this one time I was not home for them was when they needed me), I realized this opportunity in adversity was good for us. While not exactly hiking the PCT trail solo, this microcosm of a rite-of-passage for my kids provided a challenge without a parent to guide them (deprived of a cell phone and umbrella). I learned my kids are quite competent without me. They handled the situation sensibly and bravely; I was proud of them and told them so. No doubt, they gained a new measure of confidence in themselves (and me in them, ahem).

I can't say I'll set up these sort of "traps" for them as a way to gain their independence, but it certainly helps knowing these mishaps can provide good training ground to allow them to think on their feet and solve problems on their own, while letting me off the hook to be the perfect parent. If they desire a bigger physical challenge, well, they can always sign up for a triathlon.

More about motherhood and raising a fit family is on my website,