The definition of mom: A multi-tasking woman who cares for her children and rearranges her schedule according to their needs and desires; a woman who puts her own needs aside for those of her family.
OK, so it may not be straight out of the Webster's dictionary, but most moms can probably relate. There's baseball practice, football games, gymnastics, lunch prep, snacks, dinner, homework, outings, birthday parties, not to mention coughs, colds, flu... Basically, all these things come into the house when you have kids.
With all the activities and challenges that come with having children, one important part of a mother's life is often put aside or forgotten: being healthy. As the mother of a 5 year old girl and a 7 year old boy, I can say from experience that staying healthy as a mom is not only good for the body, but also good, if not better, for the mind. Balance is a good thing. Here are my top five tips for staying healthy as a busy mom.
1 - Being healthy is a decision
Don't have the time? Make time, not excuses. Don't have a goal? Sign up for an event - a 5K race, a 10K, an IRONMAN. We're all at different levels of fitness and motherhood, so start small, but setting a goal is essential. Need some inspiration? Volunteer at a local running or multi-sport event. It's a great way to get motivated.
2 - Hydration and nutrition
These are the two most important things to watch out for in an IRONMAN - and in any situation. Dehydration and lack of nutrition accelerate fatigue. Nothing is worse for sport or motherhood than fatigue. Make it a point to drink water throughout the day, and don't forget your meals. As ridiculous as it may sound to some, being a mother can make you so busy that you can easily forget to eat and drink water! So don't forget.
3 - Set aside time for yourself
Let's face it, being a mother can be chaotic at times - from sheer madness, to one disaster after another, and then another again; the challenges can seem never-ending. Taking the time to organise your thoughts and priorities can sometimes seem impossible. But, whether it's early in the morning, just after dinner, or any time of day, you need to find time to do something you love. For me, it's exercise. It's the time when I digest the day's activities, gather my thoughts and prioritise my plans for the immediate future. For others, this time may be spent cooking, cleaning or knitting... Either way, make sure you do something active for yourself every day.
4 - Get some sleep!
Just like 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 equally important in the role of mom. A tired mind can't think straight. A tired body will not produce as well as a rested body. One habit I've developed recently is to set my alarm. You might ask, "How does that equate to more sleep?". When I didn't set my alarm, I slept less because I was worried about what time I would wake up. Setting my alarm gives me the peace of mind to sleep as soundly as possible, knowing that I will get up when the alarm sounds. Of course, if you have the luxury of sleeping in without an alarm (when is that?), then sleep in as late as possible.
5 - Always have a supply of everything in the car
An extra pair of running shoes, clothes, snacks or water... We're always in such a rush to pack what the kids need, it's easy to forget items that you need. So that I don't have any excuses throughout the day, I always have extra healthy snacks in my car so that I don't starve and feel the need to be super unhealthy and stop at, say, a fast food joint!