We've all said it before. "I can't do ____ because I have kids." But, is it really true? Is this something we just tell ourselves to justify our lack of self care, our lack of a social life, or our inability to reach our goals?
Now if you are using the fact that you have kids to get out of something you don't want to do, go right on ahead. I am all about minimizing our obligations to others when they don't coincide with our goals and priorities.
But, if you are using this excuse to put off happiness or friendships or a healthy body, then we really need to rethink what is actually holding us back. 99.9% of the time, it's not our kids.
Everyone needs leisure time. The problem is that most moms don't prioritize it; we don't put it on the calendar. Then the days pass filled with serving the needs of others, the people who actually make their needs known.
We might say to our selves that we'll carve out some time over the weekend for some relaxation. Then one kid needs to be driven to practice, the other kid needs new socks, you have church obligations, and errands to run. You get to Sunday night and realize that that leisure time never happened.
We want to be able to just spur of the moment take time for ourselves. We think that leisure time shouldn't be as structured as our work or obligations. While that would be lovely, it doesn't always work. When nothing is set in stone, the things that come up keep bumping our leisure time further and further away.
If you want to get a manicure, put it in your calendar. If you want time to read, schedule it. Give it a time and date. At the very least make sure it is on your top three things to do for the day. Make the necessary arrangement to make sure it happens. Life doesn't stop after kids, it just requires a little more planning.
Health and Fitness
Another area where we blame kids for our lack of results is health and fitness. We say we don't have time to workout, we can't afford a gym membership, we don't have a babysitter, our kids want those sugary snacks so we have to have them, the kids will only eat processed junk and I don't want them to starve.
The thing is, health and fitness doesn't have to be that hard. You don't need a gym membership to exercise. You don't need to cut out the junk cold turkey in one fell swoop but your kids can survive without the junk, if you let them.
As far as exercise, you can get up 30 minutes before the kids and lift some weights a few days a week. You can include your kids in a living room dance party and see who can jump the most times or do the best Cotton Eyed Joe. You can do a family stretch or take a family walk. You can use your kids as your weights depending on their age/size. There are a million ways to workout at home with or without your kids. My son loves to do workout DVDs with me and has his own set of tiny weights. It's a fun way to stay healthy together.
As far as eating healthy, having kids is no excuse for eating junk. If time is the concern, there are plenty of healthy meals that can be made super quick. Next week I will be sharing some of my favorite super fast healthy dinners.
If its the snacks, slowly remove the sodas, candies and processed foods from your cabinets and fridge. Replace them with healthy whole foods. Your kids won't starve. You'd be surprised how your healthy eating can rub off on them. Put new foods on their plate one at a time and encourage them to try it. Don't force them. If the only options are healthy food or healthy food, guess what kind of food they will eat.
The important thing is not to frame dietary changes as punishment but as a form of self care. It's a way to stay healthy and live a long happy life. If you can't knock the sweet tooth, there are tons of healthy treat recipes that taste delicious but don't have the sugar and processed ingredients. Make healthy treats at the beginning of the week to have on hand for when the sweet craving strikes so you are not tempted to go for the junk.
Your kids don't have to be the reason you eat junk; you can be the reason your kids eat healthy and grow up with a healthy diet and a knowledge of what good nutrition is and why its important.
It's time to stop using our kids as a reason not to prioritize ourselves, mind and body. What act of self care can you commit to doing this week instead of letting your kids be your excuse not to? Let me know in the comments.