When I became a mother, my entire world shifted. No longer was I (or even my husband) the center of my universe. Now this little bundle was everything and many of my good habits fell by the wayside.
Now that I’ve got a toddler on my hands, I see more and more every day how her entire universe revolves around our family and friends. While I do everything I can to protect her, she is frequently out of my hands while I’m at work. While I’m not always thrilled with everything she learns outside the home, much of what endures are positive traits. With her imaginative play and increasingly complex conversations, she constantly mimics the experiences she sees around her and it’s amazing to see what she absorbs.
We’ve tried to be careful about introducing television, food and activities into her life. It’s safe to say we’re pretty strict by many people’s standards but when my daughter asks for a treat and her eyes light up when I suggest fruit, I’m thrilled! Sweets are consumed on a limited basis, television is infrequent at best and books are consumed with a vengeance. That’s not to say we don’t have our struggles, believe me we do! Vegetables are still a challenge though we’ve found a new love for corn on the cob. Terrible twos (and transitioning into threes) are a daily reality. There is always some behavior we’re working to eradicate or modify. It’s a constant struggle as many of you well know!
Now that my oldest is eating with us more often, our diet has become every bit as important as hers. It’s easy to ignore your own health when you feed children at a different time and just throw something together for yourself at the end of a long day. When I hit a wall after our second daughter arrived, I reached a point that demanded a change. Despite my own personal reasons for wanting to feel better, eat better and have more energy…those were actually the least of my motivating factors.
My biggest motivation?
There are so many buzz words flying around that could describe the way I aspire to feed my family. “Clean eating”, “paleo”, “whole food” are just a few. OK, so maybe some are a bit more intense than others, but the essence is simplifying what we eat, cutting out the processed foods and sugars and eating more naturally. I want my children to understand where food comes from and while my husband and I would love to grow much of it ourselves, that’s just not practical for us. Instead, we inform ourselves and make the best choices with the options we have available. Buying local gives us a sense of investing in our community and sharing our over abundance (eggs, soon…I promise!) in turn helps others.
We endeavor to stay fit and active so that we can enjoy playing with our children and encourage those same behaviors in them. I wholeheartedly believe in learning through experience and adore the boundless curiosity that results when we take the time to engage Lena with something new. Fitness should be a natural part of life and not a chore to be accomplished. We need balance in all things and too often our lives become sedentary despite our best intentions. After work or school we rush home to make dinner, run errands, and collapse from exhaustion. On the days I work (at a desk job) it’s alarming how many fewer steps I take! We might read the news, a book or a magazine to engage our brain without a thought to engaging our body.
I aspire to create an environment where healthy food, healthy bodies and daily life flow seamlessly together. This won’t happen overnight but each day or week, we actively work to make a better choice and then make those choices into habits. It’s a huge work in progress, but every little step gets us that much closer to our goal.