This is a topic that I do not often discuss on this blog or in the cyber sphere. It is not out of shame; but rather because I do not feel that my chronic health conditions define who I am. I have noticed a lot of my friends (both homeschooling and non-homeschooling) and myself included have become so busy that many days we do not take the time for ourselves to make us the best wives and mothers that we can be. This does not mean doing your hair, make-up, or wearing cute and chic clothing (although that is always fun!) but instead I am referring to working on ourselves from the inside out. Physically we need to be at the top of our game because let’s face it, being a wife and mother is hard work. I would like to share my personal story with any of you that are inclined to want to read it to let you know a little more about me …
Although I was always outdoors and extremely active as a child and young adult up until my mid 20’s, when our son was born, I was always the one who came down sick with the off the wall illnesses. I distinctly remember when I was in third grade how the first signs of my genetic arthritis began rearing its ugly head. I was giving a speech to the class that I had worked on for several weeks. It was a short story that I loved and was so proud of. So there I was, standing in front of the class, proud as a peacock not knowing what others were seeing, a little girl shaking. The teacher and teacher’s aids felt so badly for me because they assumed I was just extremely nervous. The teacher, bless her heart because she meant well, ended up stopping me in the middle of my reading and took me to the nurses office. I was sent home since I couldn’t stop shaking.
My first taste of homeschooling was actually in high school when I was so sick for months that I could not eat and even drinking warm tea or water hurt so badly that I wanted to cry. Now as an adult, I know that I was simply being shown the path down the positive aspects of homeschooling and while I did have to return back to public high school since only “the problem children” in our community were homeschooled or went to charter schools I know that I have extremely fond memories of my time as a homeschooler myself.
Even after getting married I ran daily, biked, hiked, and played adult soccer just like I had for all of my life that I can remember. But after having our son, my body chemistry changed for the worse and while I would not go back in time for anything, it has become my husband’s and my journey to find that magic “something” that will at least make me comfortable. You see, every single man made or holistic product or concoction that we can try under my doctor’s supervision tends to either immediately have an adverse effect or within a week or two another side effect pops up due to using this magic pill, drink, concoction and it is better to just stop using it.
On a daily basis I am living with a high level of pain directly relate to kidney issues and arthritis amongst other things. Basically my body has no normal balance and fights me like a child whose favorite toy has been taken away or any of the battle scenes from a Lord of the Rings movie. Any doctor anytime we try to find a normal balance goes toe to toe with the most fierce villain and competitor. While this is normal to me in my life, I won’t bore you all with the long list of technical terms of my many chronic and genetic illnesses.
It’s frustrating for all involved from my family, to my doctor, and to myself. It shouldn’t be this hard for anyone to be treated or at least have one comfortable day in 10 years. There is a lot of guilt that a person with chronic health problems carries with them each day. Being a very stubborn and independent person my entire life (give me a soap box and I will tell you my opinions or at least that is what I have always been told, lol). For the past 10 years I have had to constantly find a new inner peace not only with what my body is capable of doing, but also in asking the people around me for help. I have found that hopping on the treadmill for an hour each day before the household begins to stir gives me my inner Superwoman strength to get me through most of the day.
What I have come to learn is that no matter what your goal is in exercising, whether it be losing weight or just plain being healthy, as busy Moms we have to carve out time each and every day to exercise.
I am not going to tell you to journal what you eat, run a certain amount each day, or even to do any of that. For some people that just simply is scary and counterproductive. I am going to urge you all to find something that you enjoy, or even tolerate, and do that every single day without fail. Even when I am so much pain that I want to scream and shout I know that pushing myself to get on my treadmill will in turn help to ease my pain, improve my mood, and make the best example that I can for my children that even if you have genetics against you, step up and do the very best you can to take care of yourself.
Not a fan of the treadmill machines like I am? How about these ideas:
- Use a small compact stair stepper when you are teaching the kids longer school lessons. It really does work and is so much more productive than sitting in a chair. Can you say multitasking at its best everyone? I have even used this to take timed tests. You have till mommy is done.
- Go on a nature hike/walk with your children. Even if you do not live rurally, I would bet that to a child what seems to you to be a regular old suburban neighborhood with nothing special will be new each time they could find a new plant that you hadn’t seen before, a bird flying in the sky that they want to research when you get home, etc. Really the limits are endless if you enter the hike/walk through the eyes of your child, no matter what their age is.
- The Wii gaming system is a wonderful way to really get a great exercise in with your children right by your side. I play so many off the wall sports I would never attempt in my real life type games with my kids. At the end of the game session I am huffing and puffing just as much as if I had walked or run miles. And the beauty is that now the Wii is becoming outdated and the system and game are very affordable now.
- Go rollerblading, skating, scootering, or biking together at your local park or around a lake. Make it a family event!
- Do you have stairs in your home? On days when the weather is bad don’t take a large armful of things up and down the stairs to save on trips (you know the ones where you can’t even see over the pile and it is a miracle that you get down the stairs without tripping). Instead, opt to take one or two items at a time so that the stairs become your piece of workout equipment.
These are just a few economical and home based solutions I try to use to vary up my exercise time.
Although genetics are a funny thing and cannot be erased or ignored and while some of you may find yourself in a similar situation to myself, we cannot allow our genetics to define who we are as adults, parents, and women. Logically, we can most likely only expect that as we get older our symptoms will get worse with age. I know many friends who homeschool with chronic health conditions, so it is very common and I am not alone and neither are you if you are dealing with a similar situation. Being a wife, mother, homeschooling parent, and small business owner with health problems stacked on top of all of that my excuses could be endless as to why I don’t carve out the time in any given day to exercise. I refuse to make those excuses because the only person that I am hurting is myself.
Whether you deal with a chronic illness or just simply have fallen into the fast pace of life, we are mothers and these days I urge you to put yourself first for one hour each day by exercising. This isn’t about being about a certain weight, pant size, or reaching Hulk type muscular status (unless you want to and then more power to you!), because I love you all just the way you are; but rather it is about being the best YOU that you can be for yourself and your family.
Blank Monthly Exercise Calendar To help with this I created a colorful reminder and place to keep track of the days you have exercised, as it always helps me. I don’t want to know a rundown of minute by minute exercises; but rather something to show me that I exercised today for those days when I am not feeling up to exercising I can see visually that I can do it! If you would like to use my blank monthly exercise calendars that I hang on my wall next to my treadmill please simply download it for FREE below:
How do I exercise if I have younger children?
When my children still took naps I would simply exercise at their nap time. Since it has been years (oh those nap times were glorious days) since my children have taken naps I have had to get creative. Left to their own devises they will simply flip the switch on the television or turn on their video game systems and then their attention span for school lessons is zilch throughout the day from there.
For me, if I do not exercise first thing in the morning it just simply will not happen in my world, period. Here is what I do with my children if they wake up in the morning before I am done on the treadmill. I keep these cards on the treadmill itself so that it becomes a game that I can easily interact with them in playing (without hurting myself and flying off the back end of my treadmill). Included in this Exercise Kids printable you will find:
- Activity Cards
- Coloring Pages (I know for my daughter she LOVES coloring pages so I will give her these pages to color and then she writes a story about the exercise or picture on the back of the coloring page.)
To help make your exercise journey more fun, I invite you all to print out this FREE Exercise Kids printable pack:
This printable, like most of my other printable creations, is available through my E.H.M. Member’s Only Website. What can I find at your members only website? You can expect printable curriculum, unit studies, activity packs, and more (there is a FREE catalog to flip through) for a $15.00 one-time lifetime fee! Perfect for teachers, homeschoolers, and parents looking for classroom and after school enrichment. Please click HERE to find out how you can join my Member’s Only Website!
What are your hurdles when it comes to exercising on a regular basis?
*PLEASE NOTE: I am not a medical professional, nor am I pretending to be one, so please make sure each and every one of you discusses your fitness routine, goals, methods, means, and restrictions with your doctor prior to beginning any new exercise pattern.