A Mother’s Tough Love

It’s Mother’s Day today and while most mothers are probably enjoying time with family – or without – one special lady I know is experiencing a completely different kind of Mother’s Day.  I’m featuring her in this post because she deserves, in my eyes, an “Exceptional-Mother-Of-The-Year” award.

A year ago to the day, this friend of mine received on Mother’s Day, news of her second eldest daughter falling 30 feet from an Arizona ridge top. Her daughter survived the fall but was paralyzed from the waist down. Over the past twelve months, I’ve had the privilege of being able to follow social media and video documentation of some of the victories and setbacks experienced by my friend and her daughter.

I’m not going to go into too much detail as their journey – despite being shared amongst friends and family – is private. But there is one aspect of this friend’s parenting that really “wowed” me; she dished out a hefty dose of tough love! Instead of falling at her daughter’s feet and catering to her every need, she nagged her in the same vain that a mother would nag a lazy teenager. In essence, she tossed her daughter’s prognosis out the window and ordered her to start walking!

One year later, my friend’s daughter is still not walking, but she continues to endure difficult rehabilitative sessions, and her progress, though slow, is impressive. Tomorrow marks the anniversary of her accident, and to celebrate (yes, I did say celebrate), they are opening their home up to host a party that they’ve called ——–’s d-day, unbirthday, or yahoo she didn’t die anniversary.

The following is the cover picture posted on the event page:

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Does that not speak volumes about the kind of mother my friend is!

That’s it; no message to pass on! I simply wanted to acknowledge the incredible strength, courage, and love of a friend whose Mother’s Day will never again be the same, and yet if you were to ask her how she feels about that, she’d only be able to tell you how amazing it is.

 

Exercise Tips For Mothers With Young Kids

This morning I ran past a daycare centre and felt bad for a young mum who struggled to carry her crying baby in one arm, and an overloaded day-bag in the other; she looked tired and defeated. I remember those days well, and not too fondly either. Exhaustion was something I hated but got used to, and frustration was frequently experienced but more so when exercise couldn’t find its way into my daily schedule.

These days, with my kids both grown, I have the luxury of exercising with fewer restraints. But thinking back to those years, I do remember working with my limitations and finding ways to at least maintain a reasonable level of fitness. If a mother of young kids were to ask me how they could do the same, these would be my key tips:

  • Invest in a running stroller if you enjoy running!
  • Don’t feel that your workout must be completed in one consecutive session; if exercising daily means 3 lots of 10-minute workouts spread throughout the day, then take it! Some movement is always better than no movement.
  • Opt for HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts. Simply put, that means working at an all-out effort in short bursts, with equally short active-recovery periods in between. You’ll keep your heart rate elevated and burn more fat in less time.
  • Don’t focus on just cardio; strength/resistance training is key to promoting fat loss. An increase in lean muscle mass will assist your body in burning fat much more efficiently. You don’t need to go to a gym to do resistance training; all you need is a couple of light dumbbells and/or a resistance band, or even just your own bodyweight. There are plenty of at-home workouts available online that are under 30 minutes and require minimal equipment.

The last, and most important thing I would say, is that there is no greater feeling than the love a mother has for her children. So while lack of time and exercise might be a major source of frustration, realize that there is a time and season for everything and these years will pass so quickly that you’ll wish you could take them back.

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Are You That Mum Who Never Stops Or Slows Down?

Several years ago I recall setting out on an early morning run and being startled by a car that swiped the footpath a few feet ahead of me. I was further surprised when the hubcap bounced off on to the road and the driver carried on without stopping to retrieve it. It made me think of mothers, including myself, who often race through each day determined to conquer an impossibly long to-do-list, and in the process unknowingly lose a “part” of themselves.

By “part,” I mean any “thing” that contributes towards overall physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing. How often for example, do we intentionally set aside time to rest and relax, get out for some fun, or take a few moments each day to talk and laugh? And what about diet and exercise; are these a priority, or do they get pushed to the wayside in favour of other “mum duties?”

Like the driver who kept driving without a hubcap, we tend to do the same. We keep going, ignorant of cues that try to warn us of our bodies needing a break. And yet, despite our noble efforts to be the best mums we can be, we’d be doing everyone (ourselves and kids especially), a huge favour if we stopped to do a “parts” check every once in a while.

Take some time this Mother’s Day to sit back and enjoy the pampering. And be selfish for a change; spend the day doing whatever it is that you want to do!

Wishing you all a restful and happy mother’s day.

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Choosing Quality Over Quantity For Greater Health And Happiness

Is it just me, or is anyone else tired of hearing that it takes 10,000 hours to get good at anything? Ever since Malcolm Gladwell popularized the idea of the 10,000 hour rule in his book Outliers, it seems to have become a cliche of sorts, and thank goodness too, because who has time to spend 20 hours a week for a consecutive 10 years trying to master a skill (unless your skill also happens to be your profession).

Why am I even bringing this up, because truthfully, the point I’m about to make has little to do with the 10,000-hour rule. It’s just that every time I hear or read of it, it conjures up – for me at least – thoughts of extremism and peoples’ tendencies to take an all-or-nothing approach when it comes to improving their appearance, health, and/or fitness.

I have been hearing a lot of the same stories for example; declarations of some ambitious goal with extremely confining boundaries, backed up by the notion that momentary pain and suffering will be worth the end result. But is it really worth it, if old habits inevitably return soon after the goal has been achieved?

I think Cassey Ho (one of my BFFs by the way; she just doesn’t know it) gets it right when she repeatedly insists that life is all about quality, not quantity! And that life should be enjoyed at every stage, through each journey and not just at the end of each journey. I slightly altered the context of her message (she refers to exercise specifically), but you can see how the same could be applied to life in general.

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I think, that we all should challenge ourselves to stop challenging ourselves! In other words, no more “x-number of days” of extreme dieting, or extreme exercise, or basically, extreme anything. Why can’t we simply practice good old fashioned restraint and discipline; do everything in earnest and with a genuine good effort, and leave a little room for playing, enjoying, indulging, relaxing……..

Wouldn’t our lives be healthier and happier with frequent, but small doses of the things we take pleasure in, versus sustained periods of time with no pleasure at all?