So this mom thing offers up plenty of excuses to not take care of yourself? My kids need me, what if something happens? I can worry myself right on into a bag of HoHo's and blow off the gym. Truly a double whammy, if ever! Everyone has talked about putting yourself first, nuturing the nuturer if you will. It sounds easy, right? Truly one of the hardest things I've ever done was having the "talk"with my kids and husband. You know the one? Mine was like yours...
"So guys, have you noticed me limping up the stairs? How about that not being able to snowboard, skateboard or roller skate with any of you? Hmmm, have you seen those people in those little electric buggies? I'm going to need one by 50 at this rate if things don't change. Well, assuming I'm even alive then, as women are most likely to die of heart disease...oh, now I have your attention?!"
This was how I got everyone onboard with mom attending bootcamp from 9-10am, M-F starting the last week in May, 2010. My youngest was just wrapping up 2nd grade. We had a NEW rule, no needing homework, lunches, glasses(DH) etc. from 8:50 to 10:05. No calls, no texts...the party line was, if there is a lot of blood, have them page daddy. (There's got to be some perk of being married to a doctor who works insane hours at the local trauma center?)
Talk about accountability! Daily, Shorty and Stretch would ask, "what did you do at bootcamp today?"They wanted the grim details, such as how mommy almost face-planted on her 3rd burpie. I'd hobble past my DH as I reached for Aleve, he shook his head and mumbled. My 19yo was here for a few weeks before leaving for Kenya, she laughed at my old lady shuffle, post bootcamp. By Thanksgiving break she remarked, "you look great by the way, are you still doing that bootcamp thing?"
That pang of guilt surfaced briefly; when Stretch broke his arm at school, six months into my routine, his first question to the school nurse? "What time is it?" However, no one was upset, because by then we had come so far as a family. Let me explain.
Sometime over that first summer each boy attended bootcamp with me. Stretch gleefully bounding around the block with our resident gazelle, who was keeping up with him, while I did my best Bison impersonation, lumbering around the block? Shorty was the world's strongest baby and didn't dissapoint, when in perfect form he'd knock out 20 push-ups..much to the chagrin of my classmates.(all women)Most of us were huffing and puffing through 10 "girl push ups" and he looked like an 8yo GI Joe.
They came home and reported back to dad, "mom really did work hard, even if she was "owned" by her classmates." They wanted to know if I had beaten anyone around the block. Eventually it happened, I got high-fived.
I was getting ready for bed sometime in July and my husband remarked, "you've lost weight?" Since I hadn't changed my food, the answer was no. He didn't believe me and was amazed when I stepped on the scale and weighed the same. He was sure I looked smaller. This is a man who won't notice a haircut and color for two weeks. Six weeks later when my PJ's were low on my hips, previously tight, he again walked me to the scale. I think I was down a pound. He was officially onboard with the program. By November 1st, I was down 10 inches and five pounds. All three men, "you ARE going to bootcamp today, right?"
Then I truly lost my mind, when clearly high on beating someone around the block, I agreed to do a 10K with my runner friend, Cheetah girl. The men were highly skeptical when in the dark of a cold, rainy November morning, I set out for the race. Truth be told, with the wind whipping us with Bay water when it wasn't raining I WAS HIGHLY skeptical about this race.
Cheetah girl and I set off, she in the speed bunny per mile pace and me in the turtle girl pace. I fought, struggled, huffed and puffed. Some nice woman(mid 60's) joined me at mile 3 and gave me running tips for the rest of the way. Slow your arms down, drop your shoulders, pace yourself, drink this water..ready, let's go! I finished, I was alive! Cheetah girl and I set off to find a breakfast place. We laughed our way through breakfast, looking rain and mud soaked and laughing all the way through the pancakes. I thought that as the slowest person known to mankind Cheetah girl would have had a miserable time, if for no other reason than she had to wait for me to finish. Apparently not, as more race invites have followed?! This running thing is not my strong suit. It has gotten easier as I did eventually shed over 50 pounds. She's still a Cheetah and on a good day I gallop, on a bad day..well turtles live forever?
So we did a half marathon... and HATED IT. Back to 10K's and, yes again I lost my mind, we have a triathalon looming in June. I head off to swim lessons at 7:30 at night, dishes piled high in the sink from dinner. Nary a complaint, because as Shorty said, "mom you can't be last, we don't want you eaten by a shark!" Stretch is a bit snarkier, "mom the sharks in our bay, where you will be, are bottom feeders, so don't worry as long as you DON'T SINK!"
We are mothers, aunts, sisters, wives, grandmas and girlfriends. We have been trained to give of ourselves to our families, friends, co-workers and even our churches and schools come rain, sleet, snow and hail. We do it daily, it's our nature to give, give and give. We have men or family who are resistant to change. "Stretch, "mom, why do we have Fig Newtons for cookies instead of Oreos?" Me, "because I won't EAT THEM."
So here's the deal, you need to eek out a little time for yourself in order to complete this journey back to health and fitness. Does this mean looking at a computer to plot your food? How about scheduling time into your day to break a sweat? Try something new to keep your brain alive? The key here is support, good old fashioned RAH-RAH you can do it support.The best way to get there is to TALK to your family and friends and tell them what YOU NEED! Arm yourself with facts about lack of quality of life,"you guys really want to take care of me when I'm old and decrepit, like next year?" Illness and lameness are all downsides of being overweight and unfit. In order to continue to give to those we cherish, we need to be strong and healthy.
My favorite example of HOW IMPORTANT it is to be fit and healthy for our kids happened 7 years ago. I had another mom friend from our local mom's club who started working out after suffering a messy divorce. I was envious of her committement as my kids were still high maintenace. She rented an apartment over a garage, a few blocks from my house. I was worried, but not overly, when four fire trucks raced past my house at midnight one night. The landlords had put hot coals in the garbage can, next to the garage, after a BBQ. My friend had gone to bed early, around 9 and didn't smell smoke until the garage was fully ablaze under her and the exit staircase. A car and gas can ignited shooting up 30 foot flames on the side of her escape route, we saw them from our house. She grabbed her 4 yo, went to the balcony with her child riding like a monkey on her back(death grip around neck, legs around waist) and shimmied over the balcony, grabbed onto some trellis and made it low enough so she could safely drop and land on her feet. At which point she sprinted to safety with 5 seconds to spare before we heard the loudest KABOOM ever. The firefighters who were running towards the structure, thinking they were too late, momentarily paused when they realized someone was approaching them, out of what looked like hell's last inferno. They did what they do best and grabbed her and her precious cargo and got behind them so when the place blew the girls were pretty much unscathed. Her feet were slightly worse for wear running barefoot, ditto some small scratches. Ever pragmatic she summed it up best, "I started working out for smaller jeans, it ended up saving my life and the most important person in the world to me. I couldn't have done what I did, last night, six months ago and definitely not a year ago. Excercise is no longer a luxury but will become and stay as important as breathing in this household for both of us."
Extreme? Absolutely! Things can happen when you are taking care of yourself, they will happen regardless. Is it really worth the worry that paralyzes you into NOT making changes when the stakes are so high? Will you be ready to help those you love when it's really important. Time to get the gang onboard, your "talk" is overdue!