Friday, October 14, 2011

Fitting it in!

I was lucky, I was raised in an active family and as result, I have always understood the importance of a healthy lifestyle. It has always been important, but it hasn't always been easy. In University I had other priorities, after my knee surgery it wasn't possible, for 6 months while pregnant and recovering from baby #1’s c-section it wasn't advised . . .then baby #2, then there was baby #3! It has been a struggle to find time to get out running through the years, but I kept at it, started over many times, and now I am a proud Mom with healthy active kids!

I have the same busy life all moms do with kids, a husband who travels and a work from home office with a great view, but no child care! Getting out my front door without kids is very tricky. Over the years I have gotten quite creative! I will run to my child’s soccer game while the rest of the family goes in the van, when I drop a kid at a birthday party I run around the neighbourhood until I can pick her up again. On days I used to work in an office, I would run on my lunch hour and then sit at my desk a little sweaty all afternoon! Any alone time I saw in my schedule, I put on my running shoes! My husband & I hire a babysitter for an hour so we can bike or run together. My running happens because it has always been my priority. I find as moms with long to do lists, we tend to put the workout at the bottom. We have to make our health a priority to find windows of time in our busy days.

Three of my proudest achievements after the birth of my 3 children, is crossing a ½ marathon finish line with my husband and each of our daughters in a jogging stroller when they were just 8 months old!!

We signed up for the Virginia Beach Rock N Roll ½ Marathon happening 7 hours away and just 8 months after the birth of our first daughter. I did whatever I had to to get in those runs. I started with the run/walk with her in the jogging stroller for 3km and once I could run 3km without stopping, I added 5 minutes every weekend. Within a few months I was running 2hrs and ready to try my first ½ marathon. Race day was not the funnest 2 1/2 hrs in the rain, but we did it and my baby has a finish line photo and medal on display in our house.

12 months later I had my 2nd baby girl and my elaborate training program started again! This time it was a bit trickier to fit in runs as I was not a double stroller kind of girl!! Eight months later my husband and I crossed the finish line at the Ottawa ½ marathon and she too has a finish line photo and medal hanging in our house.

Then we had baby #3 . . when the heck would I ever run again?! We committed to the Quebec ½ marathon just 8 months after her birth. I got up early, I ran in the cold, I ran when I was tired and I ran when I would have rather sat and had breakfast with my family. I took my babies to the local YMCA and put them in programs and babysitting so I could run on a treadmill. We crossed that finish line in our best time yet with our 3rd daughter and she too has a medal and finish line photo.

I proudly display my babies photos and medals and talk to them often about how great they were in those races. I want my daughters to see the rewards of setting a goal and following through and to understand that it takes dedication and effort. My kids are 5, 7 and 9 and have already done their first triathlon and two family 5km runs . . . we are a truly an active family!

It is a priority to be a healthy mom, a healthy role model for my girls and to raise healthy kids . . . I am committed to it, even if it means I have to run to swimming lessons!

How do you fit in exercise?

Choosing to stay home . . .

Long before I was a Mom or had even met my husband, I had decided that I wanted to be at home with my kids. I am not sure why. It was always just something that was important to me. I didn’t have any idea how I would afford to stay home or if I would even enjoy it, I just knew I would.

In my 20’s I was a hard working professional with a full on career. I had an office, a steady pay cheque, worked tons of overtime, I loved what I did, and I was good at it. In my 30’s I became a mom and although I knew I would be staying home, I didn’t stop working. My full time job became 20-30 hours a week of contract work. I was a busy stay at home working mom of 1 and in less that 2 years became a crazy stay at home working mom of 2. Breastfeeding a baby during conference calls and tickling a toddler playing under my desk became the norm of my day!

When my 3rd daughter was born I knew I was done working for a while. I was a mom of 3 kids under 3 at home with not only no daycare, but also a travelling husband and my main source of help, my mom, now busy caring for my ailing father.

My world was made up of kids, feedings, snacks, diaper changes, doctors appointments, chemo with my Dad, groceries, play dates and cleaning up after play dates. It was everything I wanted and more than I could handle all at the same time. Occasionally I could be found in a corner in tears, pretty sure I couldn’t do it one more day. Convinced that my girls would be better off having fun with other kids in a child care center then watch me unsuccessfully deal with the over whelming responsibility of catering to their needs each day. I have no idea how I made it through those first 2 years of being a mom to 3 small children. I leaned on friends and consoled myself that tomorrow would be better. Staying at home was not exactly as I had envisioned it, but it was still my choice.

I took 3 kids to all my doctors appointments, all their doctor appointment, all our dentist appointments, all kids activities; everywhere I needed to go, 3 kids had to come with me. I taught my children that we were a team and we travelled as a team and listening to mom was always required. I taught them how to sit still at the doctors, hold on to the stroller in parking lots and be patient at the grocery store. I have changed more than one diaper on my lap, I can make lunch with a baby in one arm, a toddler around my leg and a 3 year old crying because Barney is not magically appearing on TV. I have pulled the car over to feed kids, I have almost forgotten to pick up kids, and have been home for every second of the joy and struggles with kids. It wasn’t always pretty, but it did get easier as we all grew up together! I even had time to start working from home again, carving out a little time for mom with kids still running around the house!

My kids may have seen me at my worst, but I have seen them at their best. They have enjoyed more free time at home, more special days with mom, and I was there for all their naptime stories and potty training attempts. I had time to teach all 3 of my girls how to swim, how to skate, how to ski, how to bake, how to read, and how to put on lip gloss. Being home allowed me those opportunities and as the first day of Grade1 approaches for my last “baby”, I am so sad to see them all off in school full time now . . .but also so happy that I was able to enjoy time with them at home all these years.

When you choose to stay home . . . you choose a lot more hours of kids tears, of whining, of arguing, of cleaning, of constant companions for every errand and maybe a few more hours of smiles, of laughs, of memories, and snuggles. It wasn’t always an easy 10 years at home, but it was the right choice for me and I wouldn't trade any of it. What has choosing to be home meant to you?