Like most moms this time of year I'm trying to nail down our schedule. This includes the extra activities for the kids, yes, but mom's workout schedule, too. So far, my running days stay the same (the beauty of running before the rest of the world rises) and I can still make it to my weekly weight class. Now, what about yoga, cycling, kickboxing and any other fitness fun? (I want to try kettlebells like all the other cool kids--unless a bikini is standard attire, in which case I better not.)
But first... we must sign up for extracurricular activities for the chilluns. Tip: If you wait until the last minute, like me, then you won't be as inundated with options because most of those options will already be "full."
Once you've narrowed down the options (or they have been narrowed down for you), it's time to pick one activity. There are many merits of choosing just one activity, namely avoiding the overscheduled syndrome of many families (and so you still have time to workout yourself). Then there's the fact my kids are still pretty young. I want them to have plenty of time for dress up, hide and seek, playing babies and hanging out with me. But I'd be remiss if I didn't add that any activity times three is an investment. So, better pick something they're going to like.
A good place to start is by asking them what they want to do. This year I didn't need to ask. They have been telling me for about six months that they want to take ice skating. Their best buddy is in a hockey class and they've watched their cousin, a babysitter, and a neighbor skate in an "ice show." They, too, wanted to skate. Bad. So last Thursday I showed up at a nearby ice center 45 minutes before the scheduled registration time (although I was told some parents might be there hours before) and got in line with my three girls and many other skating and hockey parents. I was obviously a rookie showing up in shorts. It was cold in there. An hour later I had the twins in a skate class at the same time my 3-year-old and I could take a "pals" class. This was a coup--to get all three girls in a class at the same time. And even though I didn't have a strong desire to participate in the skating class... better to be moving than shivering in the stands with an oversized fountain drink and a bag of chips. I'll let you know if it "counts" as workout.
But I left the ice arena secretly hoping they would not love ice skating--enough to commit the rest of their childhood lives to it, anyway. I keep reminding myself this is the "hunting and gathering" phase. It's about learning new skills, trying new things and finding something they're passionate about. In an effort to explore, we also took a trial gymnastics class at two different places, and again, I'm not so sure I'd want my daughters to get caught up in such a high-stress sport, but man did they love jumping on trampolines and swinging from ropes and bars. It's a lot warmer in there, too. We haven't tried any martial arts, any "ball sports," and what about snowboarding or cross country skiing? Oh right. They're five and three... Relax mom.
In the process I'm trying real hard not to create any preconceived notions of what I want them to be. And how much of this is about me? Is their activity tied into what kind of mom I want to be: Soccer mom? Hockey mom? Dance mom? Gymnastics mom? Swimming mom? What if one of my girls takes up and loves curling? We live in Minnesota after all. Think of the gold medal possibilities... I could become the Debbie Phelps of the curling world.
Yesterday the girls watched their dad and uncle finish a half-ironman triathlon. We all had a good time and I can't help but wonder if the exposure to this sport (that I unabashedly love) will draw them toward it (but no pressure!) or if they'll look at it as "what mom and dad do" and then recall turning five by saying, "remember that stupid triathlon birthday party mom and dad made us have?" As they grow older will they distance themselves from triathlon or adopt the sport as part of their lifestyle too? Confession: I can't help but think of professional triathlete Lori Bowden, whose parents were triathletes, too.
Oh, to have that crystal ball! OK, I'll just live in the moment and be glad my children are active and open to physical activity of all kinds--read: not part of the childhood obesity epidemic. I just need to make sure I'm open, too. Even if that means I become a curling mom.
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