It's no secret in my family that I've gained a noticeable amount of weight over the last few years. My former days of svelte are gone, and I am now the oh-so-round and comfortable owner of more than one pair of granny panties and a respectable collection of elastic waist pants and skirts--all sized a very ambiguous 2, on a scale of 1 to 3. Even so, I'm well aware that nothing short of a mumu is going to hide this sneetch-like belly of mine.
I've debated on how to handle this new super-sized me with my kids. Do I pretend I'm skinny like I used to be and call a moratorium on my burgeoning waistline? Do I go on and on about healthy eating and exercise and let them watch me work out like crazy to try to turn back the clock? Or do I pretend it doesn't matter at all and go ahead and live in my pajamas while ordering another round of yummy chocolate covered cream-filled cupcakes?
After a year of traveling in countries where a nice round belly is a sign of well-being and good-fortune, I decided my first move would be radical self-acceptance, no matter what the scale says. I am not twenty-five anymore, and my days of being able to skip lunch and watch my muffin top disappear are long over. I am a forty-something, middle-aged mom with a metabolism to match. This body of mine, which is showing signs of wear and tear--and yes, maybe one too many bowls of guacamole before dinner--has carried me through enormous changes, life-altering experiences and essential acts of love and/or domestic monotony. When I die, this old girl is coming with me, and if I won't love this dear body now, when do you imagine would be a more appropriate time? When I'm fifty and even more fluffy? Or when I'm sixty and by some miracle have mastered the art of moderation?
I have decided there is no better time than right now.
To symbolize my commitment to honor my body (and to not give youthful perfection unnecessary airplay in my mind), I dubbed my middle "The Chubby" and vehemently defended her whenever my kids started to play rough enough where someone nearby (i.e. me) could get hurt. Hey, guys! Watch out for The Chubby! I called out one day without really thinking during a serious roughhousing. Both kids immediately laughed and loved it that I was being both protective and playful.
From that day forward, The Chubby became a regular point of conversation between us, and I was shocked to see how lovingly both kids regarded The Chubby in the face of my newfound lack of shame in her very round presence.
I began to see that this glaring imperfection of mine was actually an avenue for my kids to embrace me as a soft, available, accessible, comforting presence. It feels good to hug someone who is a little more wobbly around the middle, and my kids could finally say so without worrying about hurting my feelings. I think they liked no longer having to pretend I wasn't a little bit fat, especially now that they could see I wasn't embarrassed that there was more of me to hold.
These days I really am paying attention to my well-being and my general health. I'm walking everyday and eating more bowlfuls of kale than candy and making sure that every meal is full of choices that will give me wholesome, natural energy. I've lost a little weight, but I'm pretty sure at my age and with my particular body type that The Chubby will always be with me, no matter what.
"Don't worry," I tell Carter when he begins to panic that all this good eating will be the disappearance of The Chubby. "Some signs of imperfection are also signs of comfort and they are meant to always stay." This I say as he folds himself happily into a deliciously round, warm hug.
What do you think? Can you celebrate The Chubby at your house or do you think that sends the wrong message to kids about the importance of fitness and health? What do you think about separating the idea of how much you weigh from your body image? You can be honest. I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
*picture above shot by tracey clark, catching my better side, depending on how you look at it.
I start to feel it every Spring. It is the excitement of growth in the air and knowing something fresh is in store for us. Our bodies perking up for the nutritional bounty about to become available and marking the end of relying on less worthy substitutes.
Every where I go people seem to be talking about it. It's all about local, organic, green , sustainable farms and healthy living. The local farmers markets are buzzing, old CSA friends are popping up, home gardeners are scrubbing dirty fingernails. Moms at the playground are holding Michael Pollan church sessions in the sandbox, while the First Lady takes on childhood obesity.
I find I usually have two reactions on the subject. I'm either totally inspired or feel completely guilty. Inspired to make changes, inspired to see so many innovative ideas on how to live better and smarter, inspired to work harder or contribute. Then of course, is the guilt, guilty about how much take out and processed foods travel through my house, guilty I can't afford to buy as much organic food as I would like to, guilty my family isn't more active. Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed and wish there wasn't so much I needed to work on and obstacles to overcome.
How can I afford to buy local organic produce?
How can I shift my life to exercise more?
Why is faster and cheaper usually not very good for you?
I end up trying to be radical or just giving up all together.
After a few chance meetings with friends and experts on the topic this week, I'm wondering if there might be a third option. What is the family food revelation of the week/month/year? Can I get a drum roll please?
I've decided maybe small changes mixed with some doses of grace, increasing over time might just be the way to healthier living. Shocking right?
So this weekend we will use the money from the skipped take out dinner to eat in and use saved money to buy a few more things off the organic list. We can head out to the farmer's market for breakfast and pick up some funky produce we wouldn't normally try. Right before the sun is getting ready to set, maybe we can bike to our favorite ice cream joint instead of drive.
Next week I might just find myself busy and a total mess, falling off the very small step I just stepped on. I don't know the magic solution but I bet trying is a good start.
Check out our Healthy Kids section to take your own baby steps.
How do you go about incorporating good nutrition and exercise in your family life? What are the biggest obstacles? What a your greatest tips for triumph? Tell us in the comments.
Kids are wandering out back without jackets on, windows are being cracked open, the robins are hopping around in melted snow puddles and everyone is happy to see the beautiful signs of spring. Every season change welcomes a new start and I love to anticipate what will be new again and what we will carry over. Here are some ideas to get your spring groove on at your house.
1. Go on a crocus hunt. We all went to walk the dog the other day when Lucy was beside herself with the tiny purple flower coming up out of the ground. She has now become obsessed spotting them and counting how many we can find on our walks around our neighborhood. The daffodils aren't far behind. Oh the magic of something beautiful growing! Don't have anything to grow yet? Why not plan your family garden together? Create a map and decide what and where you will grow your vegetables.
2. Get your family fitness on. Break out the bikes, dust off the trampoline, take a walk. Now is the time to return to outside games of chase and hide and seek. Your kids will be delirious if you suggest it and play with them. Try turning off the TV for a week and see if you find yourself outside breathing in the fresh spring air.
3. Get Juicin'. I don't know about you but oranges are piled to the ceiling at my grocery store. Why not let the kids help you squeeze some fresh juice to remind you of warm days ahead. You could get super crazy and try making a smoothie together? It wont be long before lots of fresh fruits and veggies will be ready for us to pick.
4. Do some Ding Dong Ditchin'. My kids and I are headed out to do some anonymous kindness today. Our local grocery store has daffodils for super cheap so we'll be making tiny bunches, attaching a note and then leaving them on random door steps.
It's super fun and a great way to get out for an adventure.
5. Make an Earth Day plan. What are you going to do this Earth Day to celebrate and care for our earth? Get a big sheet of paper and brainstorm together on what you might like to do together. Google your city and Earth Day to see what is planned locally or come up with your own project.
What are you doing to welcome Spring? Do you have any special family rituals or traditions when certain seasons begin? What do your kids love about this season? Let us know in the comments.
We are headed straight into the dark of winter. It is the time after the holidays when the dreaminess of snow and celebration is officially over. We instantly all come down with a wicked cabin fever, especially the kids. If you have small people bouncing off of walls at your house, here are few ideas to burn some of that built up energy.
Run the course. Build an obstacle course out of pillow cushions, dining room chairs, table cloths over tables, etc. Have kids, climb, crawl, cross over at their own pace and then time them to really get them going.
Dance Party. Shake what yo mama gave ya! Clear the furniture in your living room to create an instant dance floor. Turn on some music way too loud and get moving. Dancing is a great way to connect and burn some calories together.
More is more. When it isn't bitterly cold, the right weather wear or an extra layer might be the only thing keeping us from a winter walk or quick game of tag. Break out the gloves and scarves, give your kids a chance to run around in the fresh crisp air even if it is just for a few minutes.
Old school fun. Bring back the simple and fun games of your childhood and play with your kids. Play an indoor game of hide-and-seek, twister or have a tickle fight. Simon Says is great way to have kids doing jumping jacks or jogging in place for crazy amounts of time. It's like your own kid aerobics class.
When all else fails, you can break out the hula hoops in the garage.
Break out. If everyone is about to go looney, head to your local children's museum. They almost always have at least one gross motor skills exhibit. Winter is also the perfect time to enroll your kids in a karate, gymnastics or swimming class at your local community center.
What are your fitness tips for kids surviving until the warmth returns? Give us all your best ideas in the comments.
We received information and permission forms in our children's backpacks about the H1N1 vaccine last week. I read them like every other concerned parent in America. Even after pouring over the information, I had one sticking point. I just could not imagine my child having something medical done to him/her without me being present.
I also wondered how exactly 400 children were going to get shots without it being a total emotional and a possibly traumatic event. We decided to wait to get ours at the doctor when we could be all together. If I am honest, I also wanted to see it distributed nationwide for a few more weeks.
The kids were relieved as I dropped them off at school yesterday to be spared from the shot for a while longer. All day I wondered how it was going, feeling for all involved in the process. The second the kids hopped in the car I asked them how it went. The carpool kids shrugged their shoulders and said it was fine, it barely hurt. My kids said only one child cried, it seemed pretty smooth. Kids are more resilient than we give them credit for sometimes.
Have you had the vaccine distributed in your area and school yet? Will you have your child vaccinated? Tell us in the comments.
We noticed Josiah could barely see the television the other night during a family movie . He was squinting and asked to borrow Jorge's glasses for just a second. "Everything is so much bigger and brighter!" he said.
The next day I found myself will all four kids at the eye doctor's office. Poor Josiah, it was quite a scene. After waiting almost 30 minutes to been seen, the doctor ushered all five of us to the tiny examination room. It was just too much excitement for the peanut gallery to be quiet.
"You're doing great Josiah!" Lucy kept saying.
"Josiah, are you a little bit embarassed you are gonna need glasses Josiah? It's o-kay!" Jack said on repeat.
"F, Y, T, Z!" Lucy kept yelling in an attempt to help Josiah get the right answers. I think those are the only letters she knows.
After eye drops and even more tests, the doctor asked how he has been doing in school because it was a pretty strong prescription for the first time. My straight A guy has managed to make it in his fuzzy world. When all was done, we went to pick out frames. He picked the most rad pair. I love how funky they are. He asked if we could go to Chick-Fil-a to celebrate while we waited for his prescription. We toasted to a new world of everything becoming bigger and brighter.
On the way home he asked me what it meant to be a nerd. I could see the wheels turning and anticipating what might be waiting for him at school the next day. Part of my heart was in my throat as this is one of those moments where you have to walk beside your child instead of in front to protect him. We talked about how the word "nerd" can be mean but how in the end nerds rule the earth. We discussed all the super heroes with glasses. He smiled. I listened as he made his plan for less than positive responses and found his way to embracing this new part of himself.
All in all school went well, a few comments that were not the greatest but nothing terrible. He seemed proud and just fine. We even went to our neighbors for a popsicle party to show off the new lenses. I think we are all seeing a whole lot more.
If you wear glasses, do you remember your first pair? Any advice for navigating this change?
The news isn't horribly grim. It just isn't great. Nathan's lazy eye seems to get be getting slightly worse and the eye doctor wants him to wear a patch on it. Not a pirate patch but an adhesive bandage that seals off the light.
You are thinking, "play the pirate game!! Argh!!"
No dice. He doesn't care if pirates wear eye patches and are cool. He doesn't want to wear the eye patch.
We told him that it was special and just for him. It was something even his brother Ethan didn't have. You know, playing on that middle child syndrome. He didn't care. He doesn't want to wear the eye patch.
The doctor says so? Who cares?
I'm the mom and I am telling you to wear it? Nope.
Any child who will go out in public looking like this is certainly not going to give his mother's demands a second thought.
I bow to you, great Internet. The story on the street is that if this doesn't get fixed, he could actually go blind in that eye. No one wants to be the mom who made her kid go blind. Tell me what solutions you have to offer to get him to wear the patch for one hour a day, three days a week.
Help me please.