The longer I’m a parent the more clearly I see the correlation between how I am living and how my family is thriving.
Or not thriving.
The longer the moniker MAMA is attached to me the more clear the meaning behind the (tweaked) quote: if mama aint healthy aint nobody healthy becomes.
Im a misfit. Im non-traditional. I was raised on Free To Be You And Me. Im happily living in a feminist, egalitarian relationship with Ren Man.
I still believe the core of our family’s healthy living comes from me.
I dont know if this is because Im the mother.
I dont know if this is because Im the one who is fortunate enough to work from home.
I do know the bulk of the responsibility to keep our tripod healthy & thriving falls on my shoulders.
And, while exercise is one facet of our threesome’s healthy living focus, it’s merely a piece in the six part puzzle which helps keep us a happy, healthy, strong family unit.
What are the other five pieces? Thanks for asking!*
- We focus on quality. In order for our family-unit to be happy and healthy we need to consume quality. This refers to food, but also much more than that. I work to create quality conversations in our home. We treat each other how we want to be treated. We adult-types strive to model polite and courteous interaction. Quality consumption extends to popular culture. I’m both aware and careful what kinds of pop culture are consumed in our home. The notion of we are what we eat refers, in my opinion, to more than food. Choose quality.
- We don’t multi-task. When the Tornado was tiny I noticed how singularly focused she was. When she played with blocks —she played with blocks! She never simultaneously smooshed clay, assembled a puzzle *and* block-played. Be the Tornado. Slow down. Be present. Mono-task.
- We find joy in the small stuff. I love the quote: Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things. I strive to live each day with this quote in mind. I also work (unsuccessfully many days) to focus on joy. Joyful laughter lowers stress, boosts the immune system and can help protect us from heart disease. Yes it can be easier said than done, but I know when I focus on all the small gifts in my life (the feeling of the Tornado’s hand in mine. a text from a friend just to say hello) I really do lead a far less hectic, frazzled life.
- I’ve shed the guilt. As a parent not only is it important to take care of ourselves—we owe it to our family to do so. I put myself first. I’ve made the conscious decision to meet my needs and then shift my focus to others. Initially it helped me to remind myself I was, in fact, teaching the Tornado it’s ok to have needs, meet them and *then* do unto others. I still find I articulate to her precisely what Im doing (Mama needs to take care of herself and have a snack. After that I can play with you.) and I dont know I’ll ever shed the guilt *enough* to get beyond that. And that’s ok.
- We come together…when it works for us. Research shows family dinners make for healthier, happier children who are less prone to destructive behavior. Family dinners, when there are children with a vast array of after-school activities, have been shown to be crazy makers for many moms (MizFit note: this is my study with zero science behind it.) Given our quirky lifestyle we tend toward family breakfasts not dinners. The important piece is coming together as a family unit. Take the time to find what works for you. Gather when fits your lifestyle.
- We play. The family who plays together is a family who stays healthy together. This play will change as your family changes. For us this takes the form of morning bus stop play. Your family may be more into soccer games, tennis matches or family fun runs. Whatever form your play takes this physical activity and joy helps to cement the family-unit** and keep you happy & healthy.
(insert awkward joke here about the fact this is the edited, shorter version of my post & you can thank me in the comments. I passionate. I verbose. I edit I edit.)
As I sat here & reflected on the past six years I noted how the ways we stay healthy have shifted as the Tornado has gotten older & we’ve all grow busier.
I still believe, however, if Mama aint healthy aint nobody healthy.
Which makes me long to ask:
Be it as a mother or as a son/daughter: has my mangled quote been true in your life experience?
Do you, too, believe if Mama aint healthy–aint nobody healthy?
*I write this post NOT as an expert—which Im fairly certain no one mistook me for—but as a mom who needs to talk THOUGH what she’s doing in an attempt to figure OUT what she’s doing. We’ve talked recently on Facebook how it’s a day to day thing around here. What works fantastically one day with regards to healthy living can fail miserably the next…
**As per this post I have a very broad definition of the word mother & family. This post isnt just for moms or traditional family units.