Family Moves

At the end of the day I am exhausted, both mentally and physically. Mostly mentally. I don’t want to work. I’m unable to clean. To think. The only thing I am capable of is drinking something warm and watching West Wing reruns.

My husband and I, both former competitive athletes, really miss the days of focused exercise time. While it’s no longer our desire to train as we used to, we both miss the quiet “alone” time of a focused session. So, we decided that instead of Rob Lowe, we’d watch Rodney Yee every night this month, and do a little yoga instead.

But here’s the thing. I have kids. And what I’ve learned is, children will destroy your stuff. Not just things — like your carpet and mind — but your plans. Which is why I never put all my (movement) eggs in one basket.

This morning (note: NOT the prearranged time to do so) we put on our yoga DVD for the kids. I mean, we were planning on following along, but we weren’t putting it on so we could do it. We just put it on instead of what we usually do in the morning, which is sit on the floor and watch the kids destroy our stuff while trying to convince them not to.

Here’s what happened.

In the end, I logged 9 minutes of movement. I had 9 minutes watching my kids interact with new stuff. Nine minutes with my husband. And nine minutes where I didn’t have to be the sole provider of stimulation. That’s 36 minutes worth of stuff I needed to do packed neatly into 9. (Kids also got about 5 minutes of movement before the wheels started to fall off.)

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If you’re figuring out how to get more movement this year, may I suggest thinking outside a specific exercise time. Roll out your mats, bring out your equipment and turn on a DVD (or whatever) a couple times a day for the family, just because. Think of it as another way to model “we can move whenever we want!” No plan needed.

Children seem to have a preternatural ability to detect when it is your intention to do something without them or when you desire a specific outcome. If you’ve planned on getting an hour of movement via “taking a super-fun walk with the kids” from 11am-12pm, things like getting out the door late, someone needing a diaper change, or some other time-sucking crisis is bound to happen. This can leave you feeling frustrated at the lack of the amount of time you ended up moving. “Life” can also undermine your progress when you allot a short period once a day for movement.

This doesn’t mean that the 9 unplanned minutes of movement you get here or there has to lessen “Your Time” but that, by thinking bigger, you can actually find more — more movement and more of the other things that aren’t scheduled. Like precious moments with your kids.

P.S. If you don’t have kids, I had found — before I had kids — that this whole “I’m just going to do this exercise DVD or whatever for 7 minutes” method to work very well. Doing the thing isn’t usually difficult, it’s getting the thing started that takes a ton of effort.

P.P.S. SO THAT’S WHERE MY SUNGLASSES ARE!

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21 Comments

  1. Jacqueline says:

    That was awesome! I notice the sunglasses first thing… my favorite part is when your husband found something stuck to his pants and flung it across the room! And I have watched Rodney Yee. I know EXACTLY how your son could tell he was a man!!

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Eleanor says:

    That went way better than it does in my house! Love the boob blur; I’d be doing the same thing:)

  3. Kathryn says:

    I love this. :)

    P.s. turning on music gets my kids (and me) to move.. It’s a garuntee. So we all just dance together. It’s like they can’t help themselves when they hear music. Must. Dance. Can’t. Stop. Ha ha

  4. Pat the nurse says:

    I love to see parents with new babies, and tell them they are about to enter the ranks of those who have gone before, whom they thought were “kid nuts” and no fun since they had a child. Time alone becomes stolen moments, if no diaper needs to be changed. Looking from the other side is heart warming for me. The chaos changes weekly, monthly and yearly as your children grow. We are unable to see into the future,but, the chaos is always there, we just go through each stage and have wonderful hind site. You are so sweet to share your experiences with us. Thanks for all of the tips, I am becoming aware of my alignment through the day, and constantly correcting. Keep up the good work and don’t give up. Do take your vitamin D!

  5. Kari says:

    Your first paragraph describes my life right now so well it’s scary. Last night we watched season 2 episode 12. :) Thanks for the ideas and inspiration to move!

  6. Tinas says:

    Love it, Love Rodney Yee and sneaking in movement is Key, I park the car as far from the store when I go there to sneak in more walking. But that would be hard with two toddlers!

  7. Kerry says:

    Hee hee! Nicely put. And I like the idea of the yoga DVD. I found it way easier to plan (anything) with one child. Now with two it is impossible, unless it is completely focussed on children and not me, and that’s so unfair :D I now think of this kind of ‘squishing in movement time’ where I get less than I was planning on, or a different type (discos are also popular at my house – more popular than mummy trying to do 50 squats in one go) as an investment. I already see with my 7.5 yr old that he is often happy (sometimes delighted) to accommodate me and my agenda, since I respected his agenda for so very (very, very) long. We even talk about where our interests collide, and make plans for what we can work on together, like moonwalking. The almost 3 yr old is still way too young to consider my feelings, or his brother’s. But I see light at the end of the tunnel.

  8. Kathryn says:

    Sorry comment hog … :) leavie my 4 yr old daughter aka , mowgli watched this video saw the kids, monkey bars, and skeleton chilling in the corner and really really really wants to come to “her house”
    My favorite part is the end when you get a little grapefruit wiped on your pants ha ha and people wonder why we don’t bother showering and dressing :) lol

  9. Tim Harris says:

    Hahahahahaha! That was a slice of your life! Phin kind of interested in following, Roan doing her own thing, Michael intently, solemnly doing the poses, you in and out of yogi and mother modes. The grapefruit swiping on your pants! Point well made and taken about movement.

  10. You had me at Rodney Yee…

  11. MFP says:

    Getting in ‘more’ movement time??!!…. Last December I was babysitting my grandson while his twin brothers were born. Three nights at ChooChoo’s house (yeah – I don’t really like Grandma and Nana was already taken…. ). Well, leaving work at 16h00, putting gas in car, picking grandson up at daycare, back at home, make and eat dinner, get dressed to go visit great-grandma – i think the first time I breathed it was 19h30!! That was plenty of movement time for me! Having kids is a daily workout – I had forgotten the energy required to keep up! I was also down on my hands and knees, playing hide and seek – seriously more fun than an aerobic class!! Have fun and laugh more….

  12. deb says:

    Grapefruit definitely my favorite. Nobody tried to climb on you? Maybe because you have so much other awesome climbing equipment around…

  13. Michelle Burke says:

    I remember those days with little ones. Great to incorporate the kids with all the stuff you do. Your movement movement is so great I seem to have more energy just starting this the last few weeks. Thanks!

  14. KelleyQ says:

    Adore that you shared these REAL moments with us! My daughters are now 13 and 16, but when they were toddlers I “incorporated” them into my fitness routines…had to, lol! Brought back such great memories for me…though, typically they were climbing on or pouncing on me whenever I got into plank or any supine postures…sweet, active bodies meshing with their mama’s (and papa’s) energies! Enjoy these days, they slip away oh so quickly!

  15. Taylor Broggie says:

    hahahaha. This is my favorite video you’ve ever made. I loved the grapefruit wiping on the pants and the crusty picking/flicking off the pants.

  16. rain mako says:

    Re: kids breaking stuff. We live in an uncommon setting, surrounded by thousands of acres of National Forest. I frequently went walking in the woods with my three boys when they were young. Their favorite activities included “stick wacking”, carrying a sturdy long stick and hacking at every thing in their path; also rock throwing, again at anything in range; pushing over dead trees; tearing up leaves, stems and bark; oh, and pushing down large icicles hanging on bluffs in season. I did not stop this activity because it seemed they were not doing any more damage than baby bears and baby wild pigs, probably less. It struck me that no where else than in a huge wilderness could young humans test their physical abilities against the physical limits of stuff with no bad consequences. Even in a large park their rambunctious behavior would likely get disapproving stares from other people. Human designed environments, suburbs, cities, and houses, simply have no place for all the evolutionarily designed activites of young children. This is how we learn not to move and be active, our human made habitat doesn’t allow it.

    PS Kid activity idea: import a stack of sticks into your back yard. Contrary to common belief, children learn how to swing sticks without putting each other in the emergency room pretty quickly. Some big rocks to whack on would be usefull too:)

  17. Hannah says:

    Yes! Food schmutzed clothes. Yogi/mama mode switching… I too am surprised you weren’t climbed on. Any time I get down to look for something under the sofa/ottoman/crib/bed I get “skiddy up turtle!” (who knows…?) from the almost 4 year old on my back and the 19 month old laughing hysterically also trying to climb up. Thanks for the encouragement to find any moments to “move” I used to include my daughter in my Wii Fit yoga and other exercises. Now it’s all I can do to get everyone ready to leave the house before noon. Will begin to incorporate “my” activities again.

  18. Rachel says:

    Oh my goodness!!! That is so my family:) Everything I do is done with little ones around. What a great reminder, though, that movement and fun can happen even with kids, and sometimes it’s even fun.

  19. Theresa Stevens says:

    For those wishing to practice some Hatha yoga in a vinyasa sequence, at a little slower, albeit no less challenging pace than Mr. Yee, try “Total Yoga, the Original” which was recorded by the White Lotus Foundation in Santa Barbara, CA, USA. Theirs is the first yoga VHS tape(!) then DVD I ever bought many years ago, and I think the best; even better than Mr. Yee… (he has, as I recall a rib thrust issue).

  20. Maryangela says:

    Well, my first experience with anything ‘you’ is a success. I am a West Wing nut and mother of (almost) five. I’ll investigate further.

    Katja recommended your site for varicose vein support. Anywhere in particular I should start digging? I don’t get a lot of internet time.

  21. Melissa says:

    Ok, your kids are about the cutest things ever. Yes, movement comes in spurts, usually running between messes, yes? I’ve wondered often how many miles I clock going up and down my stairs for laundry, food, naps, bathrooming etc.

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