Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Hidden Agenda

They've figured out how to bring fun and fitness together for kids (check out a story from the Minneapolis Star Tribune here). Groveland Elementary School in Minnetonka, Minn., has a playground that is literally kid-powered. While energy is generated from kids riding a stationary bike, other children use that power to track their progress in a number of games that time their progress running laps or jumping vertically. Seems like the perfect marriage of fun and fitness and it's on my list of places to visit with the kids this weekend. Truth be told, I'm excited to give it a try myself.

While the sporto in me thinks the playground is a great idea because it involves physical fitness, the mama in me thinks it's great that the kids get to do their kid "job" while they get fit. And to me a kid's job is to PLAY.  Makes me wonder if there is a way to get fit while doing my mama tasks, particularly the ones I'm not so fond of (laundry and dishes). Here's my quick list that I'm am going to work on today:

Physio Ball Laundry Folding
Stair Stepping, Speedy Delivery Laundry
Calf Raising Dishwasher Drills
Quad- and Glut-Busting-While-Dusting Squats

Got any other ideas to turn housework into a workout? My guess is, if we slow down and think a little, we'll find a number of great opportunities we never knew existed!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

There is no such thing as Supermom

Women talk about being Supermom like it's something good, but an article in today's Minneapolis Star Tribune has me momentarily thankful for the apparent mess that is my life.
"Being Supermom isn't always easy: 
That's why you should follow these four steps
so that others never see the wrinkles in your cape." 

Wrinkles in my cape?  Wrinkles are the least of my worries-- my youngest still wipes her nose on my clothes if I let my guard down (and yes, I do appreciate being alerted to said booger if you happen to see one dangling from my shirt.)!

Anyway, while I really want to give the article (and the book it referenced) a break, I have to admit that it left me feeling a little uneasy. I'm the last person to consider myself Supermom, but after reading this story, I'm compelled to share my own supermommy tactics (note the lower case "s"-- we're all supermommies in some way!).

1.) Look sharp. "Put on some lipstick to distract from the bags under your eyes," Oshirak adds. "And above all, invest in some really good concealer." 

1.) Look good to feel good. Sometimes looking good is a quick fix to feeling good. For some, it's an everyday thing that bolsters confidence. For others (particularly us stay-at-home types), a quick primp can put a little spring into a step that's gone flat. Sure, looking good makes most of us feel more self confident, but it also works as a last resort maneuver. 

2.) Talk the talk. Supermoms speak a distinct language, which relies largely on playing loose with the facts.

2.) Talk, talk, talk. Love organic farming? Enjoy hoofing it around the lake on an early morning run?  Whatever your passion, find other women, other moms, who share your enthusiasm and connect. Be honest. Don't, as the author suggests, tell people your kids don't watch television, when it's actually your only hour of sanity during the day. Nothing like feeling phony and making your friends feel like crap at the same time. Not the kind of twofer I'm after!

3.) Remain calm. "The calmer you stay, the more it looks like you've got your act together," says Kristin van Ogtrop, author of "Just Let Me Lie Down."

3.) Stay in the moment. It's good to remain calm, but not just so you look like you have your act together. Remaining calm helps us make good decisions, helps us stay focused on the present moment. Most of us spend too much time stuck in the past, and even more time springing into the future-- both places that create excess anxiety in our lives. Try sitting with "now" and see how it feels. Ever wondered what makes dogs so happy? They have this one down, for sure.
4.) Smile. "Happy, to me, makes a Supermom," Van Ogtrop says. "Because even when things go wrong, which they always do, they just seem like little speed bumps, not stop signs." 

4.) Smile. Okay, I'll keep this last tactic, but the details behind it are gonna have to change. Don't smile because you feel like you should be happy, don't smile because it makes you look approachable or like less of a sourpuss. Smile, because the simple act of smiling releases endorphins that actually make you feel better, too. You've probably heard the saying, "fake it 'til you make it." Same applies here.

To me, being a supermom means being faithful to yourself and your family. It means taking care of yourself body and soul. It means accepting your truth and making the best out of it. It means leaning on friends and letting them lean on you in return. It means wearing a wrinkled cape and being proud of whatever you did to make it that way.


Monday, October 4, 2010

(Wo)Mandatory Disclosure?

Ran my first marathon with one of these babies pinned to my back yesterday. And, much like having a child with red hair, I suddenly noticed how many other runners around me were "of a certain age." Once you experience something firsthand, it becomes much more noticeable around you. Such was the case with my "elder number."

While pinning the number to my singlet, I remembered the year before when a friend refused to i.d. herself by tacking her new age division on her back. It somehow seemed like an extension of finger-pointing...  "Look at me! I'll soon be perimenopausal! Isn't that fantastic?"

I've always thought race officials wanted that info in case there was a medical emergency, but was happy to hear my husband explain it otherwise. Turns out, the numbers are there for something quite different than identifying a weakness or medical vulnerability. We're asked to wear these numbers as a competitive courtesy so we all know who our master's competition is during the race. Maybe help you pick it up a bit when the going gets tough.

So, if you were one of the many people I saw running without your master's division on your back (yep, we know who you are!), reconsider wearing it during your next race. Think it doesn't matter? Wrong! It's time to acknowledge yourself for the athlete you are. Putting in the time and training to participate in that marathon is a big accomplishment. Doing that while raising a family? That makes you a rock star!