Monday, February 28, 2011

Threefold Fitness--Body, Mind and Spirit

It is vitally important for mommies to remain well. 

My harrowing assessment at Hampshire Wellness and Fitness this afternoon drove that point home in patriotic technicolor:  my face was red, my knuckles were white, and my lips were blue.  Fortunately, my intake angel was encouraging and didn't make me feel like a total loser.  I have work to do on my physical body--that much I knew.  I always feel better when I excercise regularly, eat right and keep my weight under control.  This is doable.  The aforementioned angel asked me if I wanted to set goals for the year.  The year?  I would like to make it through today without too many peanut M&Ms.  I just smiled politely at her suggestion.  Little bites (completely figurative speech).  I am happy to take baby steps as long as I make it across the floor eventually.  I look forward to hiking non-handicap accessible trails with my brother and my children next summer when we camp.  I want to play basketball with my 12-year-old and tennis with my teens.  I have to remain physically well to do that.

Those who are personally acquainted with me will not believe the next thing I'm about to say.  I am an introvert--one with highly cultivated communication skills, but an introvert nonetheless.  I recently completed a personality test for which I had to answer questions about de-stressing.  Hands down, I require solitude.  I always thought there was something wrong with me because my best friend is alive in a group of women and I'm not.  She enjoys having her friends and all of their children at her house.  I go out of my gourd in that sort of setting.  I don't understand the group dynamics involved.  I don't talk out my problems--I write my way through them.  I don't go out with my friends to get away from it all--I read.  Those are the traits of an introvert.  I mention this because I feel better knowing this about myself.  I am relieved of social guilt.  Mommies need to spend time thinking about themselves.  We need to give ourselves permission to be the people we were designed to be.  How many times have I bellowed at my dear ones:  "I was not born to serve you!  I am a person and you need to treat me like one!"  They look at me as if I've lost my mind.  Don't get me wrong; we can't abandon our families to go off on a lark in search of self.  Simply, we just can't forget to schedule ourselves into the day planner.

I also believe that we cannot neglect our spiritual selves.  I have found that if I don't chase God with my whole heart, I lose focus.  I purpose in my heart to spend quiet moments daily with the One I love best (and Who I believe loves me best).  I'm not always successful, but I always try.  I do this in any number of ways.  Sometimes I take time alone with my Bible, other times I think about the amazing way nature has been put together.  Sometimes I sing, and other times I just listen.  I am totally fascinated by the creative side of God.  I appreciate the design, so I often respond to Him by making something.  These things anchor me to a Power greater than myself.  As a person who likes to be in charge, I am comforted in knowing I might be in charge, but I am not the most powerful.   When I am on solid spiritual footing, I am a more peaceful mother.  I am better able to listen with my heart because it's well-acquainted with listening.

In a nutshell, mommies need to be well or nobody in the house will be.  We can't give our families what we don't have.  My mantra to one of my young mommy friends is this:  put your feet up, put your feet up.  That poor, tired girl just rolls her  eyes at me and says, "Yeah, right.  I wish."  I'm going to keep working on her.  And you, too.  :-)  

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Stop and Smell the--Shadow Animals

We were about ready to drop when we got home last evening.  It was ten-thirty; the house was trashed from our hurried 8:00 a.m departure.  The chickens needed to be locked up, the dogs and cats needed to eat, two of the six of us were over-the-top grouchy and the laundry fairy had failed to show up while we were gone.  (Again!  Grrr.)  She must have been hanging out with the dishes fairy, the dustmopping fairy and the vacuuming fairy.  I opened my handy-dandy HP Mini and pulled up my facebook account to unwind.  Always nice to spend time with my 600 most intimate and computer savvy friends at the end of a long day. 

Our youngest, who is ten, remembered the wooden toothpick he had chewed the end of after supper.  After fishing it out of his pocket with a happy, "Oh, good!  It still looks like a claw!" he asked me for a flashlight.  I probably ignored him--accidentally.  He asked louder.  Then he asked if we could turn off all the lights in the kitchen and see how the toothpick claw looked as a shadow.  Then he asked me to make shadow animals with him.  Then he catalogued the various types of shadow animals he was particularly good at making.  Then he shared which of his friends could (and could not) make which shadow animals.  I was about ready to blow a gasket.  All I wanted to do was sit down, catch up on everybody's life, and will my overstuffed body to digest the massive amounts of lasagna and garlic bread it had inhaled earlier while dining with friends.  I couldn't stand the onslaught any longer.

Reluctantly, I suggested we turn off all the lights in the laundry/utility room and see what kind of claw the frayed toothpick would cast.  I had absolutely NO INTENTION of making any manner of shadow animals with my fingers.  But, guess what?  The toothpick cast a really cool shadow; my little guy made some neat animals with his fingers and did I.  It was really fun.  We both giggled, but more importantly, I did not blow off my son.  It wasn't much, and it wasn't for long, but  I played.  And he enjoyed playing with me.

Do we play with our kids enough?  I doubt that most parents do.  I know I don't.  We drive them around an awful lot, and coach their teams, but I have never taught my kids how to play S.P.U.D. or asked them to teach me how to play Capture the Flag.  But I am committed, because of shadow animals, to make a better effort.  It matters. 

Friday, February 25, 2011

Life on the Fly

As much as I love Spring--the first yellow daffies dancing around my mailbox, redbuds dotting the spotty wood, warm wind licking up out of the holler--I hate it.  I hate it because it signals schedule crunching and meals on the fly.  We had become quite comfortable with our winter schedule.  Three nights were spoken for on a weekly basis but none were etched in stone.  If we felt like staying home and watching a movie or working on a Science project, we could choose for ourselves with no threat of retaliation.  No consequences.

But today marked the first of the many zillion times the words tennis, track and baseball will be spoken in my house over the next few months.  I signed my middle-schooler out of school early today and flew her to the doctor's for a sports physical; track practice starts Monday.  My Hampshire High offspring came through the door announcing that the tennis meeting was today during school and that practice begins, yep, Monday.  Last year their practices were staggered--oh, please, not again!  And, my husband, who has committed to coaching baseball (until JULY!) will be meeting to discuss the particulars on Sunday night.  I don't know when baseball practice kicks off.  My guess?  Monday.  Our flexible relaxed life is nearly over.  Somehow, we will still make it to Scouts, church and Bible Study.  We will see each other only in the mornings on the way to the bus stop and before bed.  Weekends will be filled with laundry, cleaning, and grocery shopping, until they are filled with tennis, track and baseball. 

Our only hope for sanity lies in preplanning. And shopping for nutritious food items that can be tossed in to a lunch sack, food items that won't be spoiled even after a long day in a muggy locker.  Chores will be divided evenly and satisfactory completion will be mandated.  We will be scheduled to our eyeballs but we will make it work because sanity is the goal, wellness.  Each of us will take responsibility for our family's wellness.  We will pull together, stand shoulder-to-shoulder and deflect the foes of craziness and frustration.  These are great lessons for children to learn:  organization, cooperation, responsibility and loyalty.

Here's what I can do:
1.  Make reasonable chore lists.
2.  Provide healthy snack choices.
3.  Buy everybody water bottles.  I'd really like to buy stainless steel.  NO PLASTIC!
4.  Keep an accurate schedule.  Color code all activities in pencil because they seem to change...alot.
5.  Plan for family time and guard it like a momma bear.  No letting it fall off the radar screen.
6.  Watch my gang for signs of fatigue.  No sport is worth getting sick over.

So, until we resurface in the June or July, check in here often and wing up a prayer for all sporty families!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Considering Wellness

I think alot about wellness, about what makes me feel well--a hot cup of tea, a call from a good friend, snuggling up with one of my dear ones,  EXERCISE, eating the right foods for my body, singing karaoke, getting to work on time and, yes, paying the bills before the last possible minute.  I feel very well after I have learned something new or healed one of the kids' colds with herbal tea, an ear candle and some vapor rub.   

I'll tell you when I don't feel well:  when I don't patch up my own knee, when I eat like a horse after six, when my to-do list on a given day looks like War and Peace, when I don't take the time to cook a decent meal, pet the dog, smile at a stranger, or go for a walk.  The same applies to my children.  I shudder when they tell me about school lunches.  I would be remiss if I didn't give them the annoying daily lecture about our country's state of ill health.  They roll their eyes sometimes, but the proof is in the pudding.  They are well-balanced people who know how to laugh hard, work diligently, love faithfully and eat (relatively) right.  We demand good manners, encourage free thinking and recommend natural remedies, homefront healing, as a first treatment.  So far, so good--most of them hate taking any kind of pill unless they really need it. 

So, in considering wellness this afternoon, I believe that overall wellness is the only way to fly.  And the only one responsible for my overall wellness is me.  I can heal myself at home, and treat my entire person, or I can go to the doctor and get medication with a name I can't pronounce.  I'm not against doctors at all; we need them.  But we don't need to run to them with every headache.  In fact, my own doctor recommended an amazing headache cure a few years back-- sinus rinse.  (  I have since successfully cured several throbbing noggins without medication, just homemade saline solution.  I love new ideas like that--they make me feel so empowered.  And...I am always on the prowl for new ones.