I don’t know about you, but having a kid completely disrupted everything in my life. Kind of a no duh, but I honestly didn’t realize exactly how much it would. Because I always grew up with a lot of siblings, kids were just a way of life so I thought having my own would simply be normal and everything would fit together smoothly. And honestly, while she was little (until about 18 months) that was true. She fit in the stroller and rode calmly, I could carry her everywhere, she would sleep anywhere, you catch my drift. Then we got to the point where she was on the go non-stop. Riding in the stroller turned in a game of “how often will mommy pick up the same freaking sippy cup over the course of her 30 minute walk?” Or “what new creative way can we climb on mommy while she tries to workout?” And we won’t even talk about how time consuming the constant mess cleaning and monitored playing became.
So when you’re completely consumed and drowning in kids, adjusting to motherhood, and developing a new normal, how can you possibly have any personal goals? How do you get anything done without losing your mind? How do you make your health a priority? It’s no surprise to anyone for me to say that I’m obviously not an expert.
I haven’t mastered this myself at all but I’ve gone through multiple successful phases of making it actually work and I’ve also observed/ talked to others who have also made it work. I’ll be combining all of that for some points of thought below. But I wan to address one more thing before that.
A major component, that I think is essential to bring up, is that in and through all of this I want Emmy to be set up for a healthy lifestyle. Not just how to “diet” and obsess over her own appearance and numbers on a scale. And also not to constantly battle weight problems just to get to adulthood not knowing how to conquer bad habits and a then have to learn a totally different way of thinking, eating, and living. I want her to know just what healthy is and that it’s completely normal. It doesn’t have to be complicated. And not just dieting and healthy eating but also to be active. Despite our weight struggles, Isaac and I have always been pretty active, hard working people. I really want Emmy to be that way as well and so far my example has been spotty and erratic at best.
So here are a few things I’m doing to not just accomplish my goals but also include Emmy in them so that she is raised actually knowing how to manage her own health and life.
1 Include her in the cooking process. Since about 2, she’s always been focused on helping. She particularly loves helping in the kitchen. When Emmy was little, I would typically let her dump the pre-measured ingredients into the bowl, stir the already or mostly mixed whatever, and even hand me ingredients as I needed them. Now she’s able to help with things like scooping muffin batter into the tin, stirring stuff at the stove, and mixing things better. This will obviously grow and get better with time but she’ll eventually be able to be a real help in the kitchen and know how to cook herself so we can check cooking class of the home ec class! (Happy Dance!)
2 Adjust my own expectations… and then adjust a little more. I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist. If I can’t do something almost perfectly, I don’t consider it a skill of mine until I’ve mastered it. When I make a plan and a time table, everything has to go how I pictured it and exactly to schedule. I’ve become a lot more lax and realistic throughout the last few years but it has definitely been a factor in my failure with health stuff. How does this factor into Emmy? Well I thought in order for me to be active and lose weight, I had to workout a certain way for a certain period of time at the precisely perfect moment of the day and, being perfectly honest, after only a week or so of trying to make it work with a needy toddler who was a light nap time sleeper and early riser, I would accept that it “wasn’t my season to workout” and quit. My husband leaves so early for work that I couldn’t get to the gym and back before he had to leave and his get off time fluctuates even up to a couple hours so that was also undoable. Emmy doesn’t have a sibling so she depends on me for constant interaction. Therefore, I’m just going to have to adjust my expectations of what working out looks like for me. We’ll go outside and she’ll ride her bike and I’ll get as much walking/ running in as I can. We’re about to implement quiet time more consistently so instead of me using that as my project/ blogging/ midday refresh time as I had hoped, I will have to dedicate at least some of that to working out. I have some other plans in the works as well but I’ll share those at another time and move on.
3 Be ok with little kids being little kids. Ya’ll I am one of those people that gets super tunnel focused when I try to do something. I do not do well with interruptions and it completely throws me off. Then I get so frustrated and don’t remember where I stopped or what I was doing. So needless to say that when I have a little one constantly interrupting or climbing on me, I basically just hyperventilate and fall over in despair. So my mindset has been “well if she’s up I can’t accomplish anything”. So guess what? I end up actually not accomplishing anything. Ever. At all. Nada. This isn’t ok and I’ve got to adjust to the change of pace and interruptions naturally occurring when theres a kiddo. I’ll be including her in my workouts some if she’s up. She can pretend to know what she’s doing just as well as I can with those workout videos. She can walk with and learn to run a 5K as she gets older. In regards to other goals, like my projects, drinking more water, reading books, etc., I’m going to have her right there with me and be prepared for extra questions, stopping to help her, and in general, getting out of my blinders and open to more interaction.
4 Ask her what she wants to do in order to accomplish….
This part will definitely be more important the older she gets, but I want her to know that her goals are just as important as mine. Right now those typically include figuring out how to convince mommy that ice cream is, in fact, ok for breakfast or to set up the biggest blanket fort ever! But as she grows and matures, it may be completing a book by a certain date, learning a new craft or hobby, or far surpassing my fitness goals and running her own marathon. I don’t know what her goals will be as time passes but if her and I are both working together to improve ourselves then we have our own little self improvement support and encouragement group which I think is pretty awesome. It will also help Emmy be focused on achieving and accomplishing something routinely which is super healthy for growing one’s can-do attitude and psychological stamina.
What are ways you include your little kids into your goals? How have you had to adjust your thinking or schedule to accommodate being a mom but also having big goals? Is there anything specific you’re having a hard time accomplishing because of having little ones 24/7? (Emmy stays home with me 100% of the time so I get the lack of break and things being extra cray cray.)
Here’s to juggling our kids with our big goals without prioritizing one over the other and also figuring out how to include them so they are also set up for success in their own lives! See you around!