It’s Fit-Family February in our home and I want to share with you a few of my thoughts on how to keep health and wellness at the forefront when you’re managing parenting, preserving your marriage, and household peace.
*Disclosure* Absolutely nothing I’m sharing is rooted in research, science, or any other measure of reliability and validity. These are a just a few things that work for us in some capacity and I’d love to hear your thoughts as well.
I love my family. For real, for real. However, they keep me humble.
Prior to actually meeting the people I helped to create and my forever partner in the process, I thought we’d have it all together. I had visions of snacking on rich and wholesome organic foods from our small garden, Saturday morning T-Ball, and fun family meals assisted by little, agreeable sous chefs with smiling and happy faces.
In reality, I’ve been hit hard with the understanding that kids come into the world with strong personalities, some with allergies that can make mealtime hard, and natural affinities that do not always include a preference for sports and/ or competition or interest in developing palates outside of bread and cheese. As it relates to my spouse, I’ve also had to acknowledge and accept that my convictions are just that, my convictions.
I am very aware of the large role I play in introducing and educating my kids in terms of health, wealth, exercise, and nutrition. Initially, I was here for it but, by and by, I came to the realization that planting seeds of wisdom doesn’t necessarily yield linear fruit production.
I’ve heard and understood that there are kids out there who love organized sport and active play. I’ve also heard of kids who eat the rainbow, have adventurous palates, and wonderful eating habits. They just aren’t mine. I’ve encountered plenty of finger-pointing and mom-shaming quotes such as “Your kids eat junk because you feed them junk!” or “You allow them to be picky” and so forth and so on, but I typically avoid those conversations as I really don’t need that type of energy in my life. #woosah
Anyhow, I do have convictions about the health and well-being of my family; however, I am keenly aware that fed is best well beyond the stages of clogged milk ducts and formula wars.
So, what’s a concerned momma to do? Just like any other thing in life, we give and we take.
I am no expert. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’m not even ready for kids. But here are a few things that work in our home to satisfy my desire to promote health and wellness for my family, save my sanity, and allow my kids some autonomy in what they put inside of their strong-willed mouths and bodies.
No! I do not take my kids on trips to the grocery store. That would likely lead to a total meltdown and only the Good Lord knows what it would do to them 😊. However, I have had lots of success in taking them on a few trips per month to farmer’s markets and produce stands. We love being outdoors (kinda), we people watch, sample fun treats, support local businesses, and I get cajoled into buying all kinds of “extra” things. Who am I kidding? I’ve always been a sucker for a scone and homemade jam. But the real thing is that allowing them to hand pick a few simple ingredients and pay for them makes us all happy. It’s both entertainment and necessity AND, get this, they are more inclined to eat the ingredients they played a part in choosing.
If necessary, we make a whole thing of it by finding a recipe and, sometimes, I can even talk them into getting into the kitchen for the cooking process. Do they always love what we eat? No, not at all. But they try things that they may not otherwise have consumed if it mysteriously appeared on dinner plates. I’m happy my kids ate something from Mother Earth and they are satisfied with feeling like they had a choice in what was cooked and served. Everybody’s at least moderately happy and dinnertime isn’t a total
Planned Family Activities
When I was a kid, we took great pride in going outside to play alllllll day long. But long gone are the days where most of us feel comfortable allowing our kids to freely roam our neighborhoods on bicycles, skates, and the like with a dollar or two in their pockets to stop for snacks at the corner store. As sheltered as they may be, my ladies definitely enjoy going out in the backyard and kicking around in the dirt for hours. I love it too. There’s peace, they get fresh air and sunshine, everyone’s getting along, my yard’s a hot mess, but at least no one can see it. It’s a win-win and I can’t complain (excluding the state of my yard). Except, they are not inclined towards sustained, organized activity. In fact, I’d say both tend towards the sedentary and team sports, for a number of reasons, are not preferred activities. So what do we do? Planned family activity also known as Mandatory Family Fun.
For us, this looks like hikes and walks on local trails with scavenger hunts, going to the track for non-competitive races, training for a 5k, yoga, and even kid-friendly Tabatas. Do the kids always feel up to it, enjoy it, or keep a positive attitude? Heck no! But they always feel better after, they have a great sense of accomplishment when they successfully do something new, and they build a little grit. And until they find their own outlet, we’ll keep it going.
Again, I’m happy because we’re honoring our bodies with movement, and they are happy, somewhat anyway, with feeling empowered.
Let That ish Go
Parenting is highly personal. What works for one family doesn’t for another. We all have a set of ideals, morals, values, and ethics that are non-negotiable that we attempt to imbue on our offspring. Humility and my complete ineptitude as it relates to child-rearing practices does not allow me to provide advice of any sort when it comes to raising our lovely little creatures. But I know there are others out there who, like me, have struggled with the vision of parenthood and the reality.
I’m simply sharing some strategies that I’ve been able to implement that give me small moments of hope that I am not completely ruining the next generation. All of that aside, I have had to let a lot of ideals go.
Do they consume enough fiber, omega-3s, and nail their macros every day? Nope, probably not even sometimes. But that’s what a good multivitamin and hidden goodies in smoothies are for, right? However, I know with at least a modicum of certainty that my kids are exposed to a varied and healthy diet even if they haven’t yet come to care one iota about adequate nutrition.
So, instead of suffering through mealtimes and fighting daily, I’ve embraced the give and the take. I’m comforted, and extremely grateful, that my children and family always have great meal and snack options within arm’s reach. If hunger is ever experienced it’s 100% self-imposed. We’re far from perfect, but I know they hear and see me. I model what I teach, they absorb and sometimes, to my surprise, they throw some of that knowledge back at me.
We’re a work in non-linear progress and I’m content with that.
Tell me what little nuggets you’ve discovered for your families. I’m all ears and eager to swap ideas.
Love and Light!