Define fit-ish mom…. Hmmm…
This curious specimen known as the fit-ish mom is a female of the human variety that periodically visits the gym, and while there works out her frustrations, vents to her very understanding, fit-ish friends, and pretends that she doesn’t have copious piles of laundry and dishes waiting for her at home.
This creature is highly intelligent and extremely adaptable. Though she seems to be an expert at juggling “mommy-ing,” home responsibilities, work, and spouse duties, truly, the secret is that everything is actually teetering on the edge of total and utter collapse. What’s in a name? That which we call a fit-ish mom will still eat the cupcake. She will still run the half marathon, not for time, but simply to survive, and say she did it.
In truth the fit-ish mom is all of us. We cram food in our mouths, whatever it may be, (broccoli, turkey, muffin, or pop tart) possibly run a comb through our hair (or toss it up in a bun… or run out of the house looking like a drowned rat), smile, suck it up, and get things done. The gym at 5 am? For me, the answer is heck yes, for others, it’s a loud and clear no way! Either way we all run marathons every day just chasing after our littles, and trying to keep up with their endless activities. We sacrifice so much for our families. Keeping ourselves healthy tends to fall by the wayside.
It took me a long time to realize that I needed to take better care of myself to really be able to take care of my family. I know, I know, there are a ton of articles out there offering tips to being zen, and more self aware; but my tips for all the fit-ish moms out there, that don’t always see themselves taking the deep breaths? They are a little more down in the trenches.
1. Get at least one friend.
Sometimes you need a place to just vent, a haven of a person that will understand the little tiffs that partners raising kids together can’t always share with one another, lest the situation escalate to an actual disagreement. And as partners don’t always share the same career, they don’t always understand the difficulties faced at work. Sounds simple, but making friends as a full time working mom is straight up HARD. Some friends can understand your difficulties at work, but not everyone will understand what it means when you are completely unavailable past 6pm because the littles have back to back tee ball games, bath time, then the hour long fight for sleep ensues, after which point you are passed out with a plastic Mickey Mouse jammed in your spine balancing on about 5 inches of bed next to a dozing 3 year old.
Good friends (or at least one) are imperative to making you feel more like a person on those days when your sleep is lacking and your day is more than trying. They don’t have to have kids, they just have to have patience and empathy when you cradle your coffee, and blabber about the baby’s constipation that kept you up all night.
2. Create a routine for yourself.
Something I have done without fail is exercise. I may not look like the most fit person at the gym (hence the term fit-ish), but I can do what is necessary. Carrying a 40 pound kid on one arm and a 30 pound kid on the other sure takes some mom muscle, let me tell you. The other perk? I do it when everyone is still asleep before the hustle and bustle of the day. This is truly my “me” time. Because everyone is asleep I don’t miss time with my boys, or my husband.
Every morning my best friend (see tip #1) meets me at the gym, and we both get to work out our frustrations, call each other out when we think the other is being too hard on their respective spouse, and pick each other up whenever we’ve had a bad day and our husbands can’t relate. It’s nice to feel like just Jenn for an hour, not “mommy” or “Mrs. Olmeda,” or “the boys’ mom.” Not that I don’t cherish those titles, but sometimes it’s easy to lose touch with yourself.
3. Have a hobby you can share with your family.
As a fit-ish mom the other thing I love to do besides exercise is cook. Ah, food… And hey – I can totally share that with my whole family! In an effort to make us all a little healthier I meal prep for myself, the kids, and my husband. I know it sounds crazy, but some chicken, a sheet pan, some veggies, and an hour are all I need to get lunches and dinners ready for the week. I do it because creating food for my family is fun for me, not a chore. It makes me relax. Watching movies is fun until I get anxious at sitting still for too long. Maybe for your family it’s walking the block looking for adventures, or having a game night, but for us, it’s cooking, and food.
4. Spend some alone time with your spouse.
It’s hard to carve time out for so many things, but your relationship is one of those things that needs the attention too. It can all too easily turn into a situation where you and your spouse are great co-parents, but not necessarily the best husband and wife to one another. Take the time. Make the moments. In the long run, you are raising your kids to leave you, and all you will have left is each other. It would be nice for the two of you to not only get along, but to still have some passion for one another.
One of the most beautiful things I can recall to this day is walking with my parents at a flea market, and seeing them still hold hands. My dad still opens doors for her, and they still chuckle at their own inside jokes that are just for the two of them. My husband and I are trying for that, and it is an everyday mindful choice to take the time to talk to one another about things other than the kids. “How was your day? You look great. Want to go to that concert?” It’s the little things.
I have noticed that old adage – “If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy” is kind of true. Self care is a real thing. So to all the fit-ish moms out there, take care. Your kids will thank you. Your spouse will thank you. (Ok, so maybe not actually “thank” you… but they sure as heck will notice!)