How I’m Doing It: Celebrating Healthy Parenthood

The following post first appeared in the How I’m Doing It blog for Experience Life magazine. Read my original April 2014 magazine article here, in the How I’m Doing It column.

It is joyous to celebrate health. When you feel energized and are active and moving, feeling your muscles working to help you live your life, it’s amazing.

After I worked for the better part of a year-and-a-half to get my body back following the birth of my first child, I felt proud. My body was strong. My back didn’t hurt anymore. Friends were complimenting me and asking what I was doing. Some were inspired to continue on their own health journey and do more to bring exercise and good food into their lives.

Apr14_EL_HIDI_WebeditLike so many other women, I took seriously the responsibility of carrying a child and bringing her into this world. In large part due to a commitment to education and exercise, I had a healthy pregnancy and delivery of my daughter. I was in even better shape for the delivery of my son three years later.

And yet, I’m still journeying on the path toward better health. My story for Experience Life is one example of how to experience this marathon event that taxes the mind and body — before and after children join the family. Writing my story of how I became stronger after becoming a mother allowed me to embrace what I had done and celebrate the hard work I had put in — and share my experience so that it might support others in achieving health.

While celebrating feels fantastic, as parents, we are often too busy trying to hold down the fort to take time to celebrate let alone to even take care of ourselves. The transition from having no children to being a parent changes everything in every way. Gone is much of the flexibility to squeeze in exercise or grab food on the fly. Planning becomes king because a little life depends on you. And when the unexpected strikes — sickness, a diaper explosion, a temper tantrum — that can throw the whole agenda off. It takes vigilance to keep exercise and time for healthy eating on the schedule. Parents find that something has to give, and too often it’s time for personal care.

Today’s culture and pace of life doesn’t help. The pressures on parents, and on moms in particular, are in daily national headlines and blogs. We really can’t do it all within the current systems and structures of our society. Books on being maxed out and overwhelmed paint a tough picture for us parents: When could we possibly make time for ourselves?

But we can live a healthy life. We must! We do that by making choices, often difficult ones. On days where 10 items are all priorities, we choose exercise. We choose fruits and vegetables. We choose to be mindful of what we put into our bodies to fuel us through long days, and keep us powered up for the celebrations.

If we are healthy parents, we model healthy living for our children. It’s a double hitter: healthy parents lead to healthy kids. Celebrate it everyday!

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