Balancing family and fitness is a tough but worthwhile endeavor.
Juggling all of life’s responsibilities is hard work! With two girls under four, a husband, job, and busy schedule, I have made it my mission to keep fitness and nutrition at the top of my family’s to-do list. I’m no 5-star chef, a lot of my recipes are quite simple, and I never underestimate the power of a crockpot. I try to prepare tasty meals, all while teaching my daughters about healthy food choices and having fun. When it comes to food shopping, I taught the girls to ask one simple question for everything that they want to eat; “does this make us big and strong?” When the answer is yes, the girls get to pick a protein and vegetable from the store for our family to try.
Regardless of what we are preparing, both girls have a spot at the counter where they chop ingredients (with plastic knives). Letting them choose the ingredients and help prepare the meal gives them ownership. We have noticed that they tend to eat more meals they “make” vs. those we make for them. My favorite thing about this process is that we get a meal prepared all while having family time. While the above is the goal, there are plenty of times I am holding the crying two year old and my oldest is letting the dog sample her ingredients. Its safe to say the prep time in the recipe doesn’t account for life.
One responsibility I feel should never take back seat, is the attention to your own fitness. Easier said than done, I know. As many new parents do, subconsciously or by choice, I put myself second to the children and work. Between December 2014 and March 2018, I was pregnant, nursing, or both at the same time. I think it is natural for parents to feel guilty taking “me-time,” when there are always things on the to-do list.
In April 2018, when I hardly recognized my post-partum body in the mirror, I re-focused time back to my fitness. This shift in priority makes me a happier and more energetic mom. Whether its pulling my daughters in their princess wagon, hiking, or going to the gym, my priority is to stay active with the kids. CrossFit Pawling is my daughters’ favorite place to go and watch mommy and daddy stay “big and strong.” When my husband and I can’t get to the gym, we do some home workouts and it becomes obvious that we lead by example. The girls always join in with their own versions of squats, burpees, etc. Nearly all workouts are inevitably interrupted with a potty break, or urgent need for a snack.
Making something a priority in your life doesn’t mean the outcome has to be perfection. Nutrition and fitness for my family is a lifestyle that we keep in mind every day and go where the day takes us. Make sure to keep the YOU in your priorities, no matter how complex the juggling act becomes.