The Definition of Mom
The ultimate multi-tasker who nurtures and cares for her young, re-arranges her schedule for her children’s wants and needs; one who puts aside her own needs for the needs of her family. Ok, that might not be straight from Webster’s dictionary, but most moms can probably relate. There's baseball practice, soccer games, gymnastics, lunch preparation, snacks, dinner, homework, play dates, birthday parties, and let’s not forget coughs, colds, the flu…you name it, they all come into your home with kids. With all of the activities and challenges that come with having children, one important part of a mom’s life is one that often gets set aside or forgotten: being healthy. As the mother of a 5-year-old girl and 7-year-old boy, I can say from experience that staying healthy when you're a mom is not only good for the body, but also equally good, if not better, for the mind. Balance is a good thing. Here are my top 5 tips for staying healthy as a busy mom.
#1 - Being Healthy is a Decision
Don’t have time? Make time, not excuses. Don’t have a goal? Sign up for an event - a 5k run, a 10k, an IRONMAN. We are all at different levels of fitness and motherhood, so start small, but setting a goal is critical. Need some inspiration? Volunteer at a local running or multi-sport event. This is a great way to get motivated.
#2 - Hydration and Nutrition
These are the two most important things to stay on top of when doing an IRONMAN - and in any situation. Dehydration and lack of nutrition accelerate fatigue. Nothing is worse in sports or motherhood than fatigue. Make it a point to drink water throughout the day, and don’t forget your own meals. As ridiculous as this may sound to some, being a mom can make can be make you so busy that forgetting to eat and drink water is very easy to do! So don’t forget.
#3 - Carve Out Time for Yourself
Let’s face it, being a mom can be chaotic at times – just pure madness, from this wreck to the next mess, then onto the next; the challenges can feel non-stop. Taking time to organize your thoughts and priorities can sometimes seem impossible. But, whether it be early in the morning, just after dinner, or whatever time of day you can squeeze it in, you must find time to do something you enjoy. For me, it's exercise. This is my time digest the activities of the day, gather my thoughts and prioritize my plans for the immediate future. For others 'you time' could be baking, or cleaning, or knitting…whatever it may be, be sure to do something active for yourself every day.
#4 - Sleep!
Similar in nature to hydration and nutrition, sleep is underrated. As a professional athlete, I know how important sleep is to productive training and racing. With all its physical and mental demands, sleep is just as important in to the role of Mom. A tired mind cannot think straight. A tired body will not produce at the same level as a rested one. One habit I’ve recently gotten into is setting my alarm. You might ask, “How does that equate to more sleep???” When I wasn’t setting my alarm, I would sleep less because I was worried about when I had to wake up. Setting my alarm gives me the peace of mind to sleep as hard as I can knowing I will get up when the alarm sounds. Of course, when you have the luxury of sleeping in without an alarm (when is that?), then sleep as late as you can.
#5 - Always Have a Spare Everything in the Car
An extra pair of run shoes, clothes, snacks, or water... We are always so rushed preparing for what the kids need, it is easy to forget items you need. In order to have no excuses throughout the day, I always have some extra healthy snacks with me in my car so I don’t get famished and feel the need to be super unhealthy and stop at, let’s say, a fast food joint!