Our family has tried to live healthier for at least the past year. I freely admit to arriving late to this change. Ok, so it was kicking and screaming…but arrive I have. We eat more fruits and vegetables, order less take-out, and spend a lot of time being active in nature.
I realized our lives had really changed when my five-year old passed the mirror in the shoe department, dropped to the floor, and started a set of leg raises and side bends. “1…and 2…and 3…good job Momma!” Other shoppers started moving towards our future Jillian Michaels, as I tried to both compliment her form and distract her from the next set of exercises. Once she starts, it can be hard to redirect her scripted activities.
Our children enjoy physical activities a lot. Riding bikes, scooters, frequent walks, and ‘training’ runs can be fun. Throwing a dog into the mix has added a new excitement and sense of adventure. Even after an unwise four mile hike…in 30 degrees…late afternoon…in December. Did I mention we had a 40 pound five and 50 pound six-year-old who took turns riding on Momma’s back and Mommy’s shoulders for the last two miles? After a week of advil and the promise of shorter walks, our kids are still excited to hike.
Eating healthy has been more difficult. We generally eat well, but our children’s diet is highly processed and convenient. I will immediately (and without guilt) throw Gran’mama under the bus. Through text she described the menu from a recent sleepover with our children: Mini Pizzas, Chips, Juice Boxes (I get yelled at for watering juice down), Ice Cream, and Pancakes. To be fair she did get them organic Go Go Applesauce in a pouch. This menu may not be scary to you, but let me give you a picture: When I get home from a Gran’mama afternoon with the kids, it’s not unusual to find four or five empty chip bags, while my son bounces from the living room to the kitchen. When I ask what he’s had for a snack, “yogurt”.
“Really…what kind?” I ask.
“Two with M & M’s and two with Oreo’s.” he smiles, knowing only Gran’mama would let that happen.
“At least he ate for me!” Now she’s smug.
“But he won’t eat for me….” Now I’m annoyed!
Whenever I feel as if their diet is out of control, I’m surprised when we have a meal with everyone around the table (for more than 5 minutes) and we are eating fresh foods. Noah admitted to liking a crock pot of vegetables and chicken. Or when our daughter grabs a handful of baby carrots off the table…and eats them. We could also go broke with the amount of strawberries we purchase out of season. It’s not perfect, but it’s not as bad as I think when I struggle with the imperfections of parenting.