I consider myself extremely lucky to have grown up on the ocean and to be sharing that experience with my children. We live in a beautiful part of the country and are only a short drive from a variety of beaches. Growing up at the beach, I truly believe that salt water cures EVERYTHING. When we were young, our parents would tell us to soak our bumps and scrapes in the water and they would get better. As we became young adults, we discovered that salt water can help cure the “tiredness” from the night before. Now, as a mom, I have discovered that it can fix arguing children.
Our boys are 5 and 7. We go through phases where they get along and times when they don’t. Right now, is a time that they aren’t getting along. It has been weeks of squabbling with each other. Last weekend, we were lucky enough to sneak in a few hours at the beach as a family. Pulling in the parking lot, everything changed. The kids were helpful bringing their stuff down the beach and stopped whining. After sunscreen, they played in the sand and went swimming. Not an argument to be heard. Of course, everything started up again on the ride home, but it was a great two hours.
The boys are well-trained beach bums. They have been going to the beach since they were born. We have gone through the not wanting to put our feet in the sand, not liking seaweed, trying to eat rocks and shells and not wanting sunscreen – and it’s all been worth it! Now, they both know how to swim, are complacent about sunscreen (they know it’s not an option) and truly enjoy everything the beach has to offer.
We are beach minimalists. Everyone is responsible for their own beach gear. Generally, we bring boogie boards, lunch, towels and sunscreen. I carry my chair and sometimes the boys bring their chairs down. We don’t lug a lot of toys down. A few shovels and buckets do the trick. In the heat of the summer, they spend most of their time playing in the water. During the shoulder seasons, they play in the sand and look for shells. It is a great environment for them to explore. They love looking for fish and shells. Some beaches offer great tidal pools where they look for sand dollars and starfish. The beach is constantly changing as the tides bring in new treasures.
On the weekends, we spend the entire day on the beach as the family. These days are a little different because we drive onto the beach and can pack up our car. This allows us to bring books to read and paper and crayons to color. I am so lucky to raise boys with sand between their toes and the knowledge that salt water cures everything!!
Group fitness is both a personal and a communal experience with many variables. In a busy world it is often hard to try a variety of classes and find the one that is right for you. As a group fitness coordinator, I get a lot of regular feedback about classes and it got me thinking. It can be difficult to find the perfect combination of time, instructor, and style.
The right time for classes varies for everyone. Frankly, it depends on when you have a minute, let alone an hour. It is always a good idea to look at a facility’s schedule before going. These can often be found online. Take a minute to see when their classes are primarily held and what they offer before deciding to join. Definitely ask about a trial class. This will give you an idea if you click with the instructor and the other people in class.
Finding the right instructor is huge. You may have tried a style before and not liked it. This could have easily been the instructor as much as it is the type of class. Just like all people are different – all instructors have a different approach. Some will push you harder, some are more cautious. Neither one is better; they just are who they are. Decide what you are looking for. Are you looking for external encouragement or a way to get some movement in without going crazy?
Personally, I come to fitness from dancing. I am naturally drawn to classes that work the core, elongate muscles and let me work hard. Generally, I am not crazy about a class with a lot of weights and someone “yelling” through class. Some people come to class having been athletes and are used to a coach mentality and others are new to physical activity and are getting acclimated to having an instructor and figuring out what the cues mean. There is no wrong way to approach a class and not every class is for everyone.
It is important to take the time and find a group that you like. There is no point in going to class if the other people attending or the instructor is going to annoy you. That is why trying different classes in different facilities is important. If you haven’t found something that you enjoy, just keep looking and eventually, you will find a group of people who you can’t wait to see each week.
If you regularly attend a class and see new people, introduce yourself and help them feel comfortable. Answer questions to the best of your ability and let them know if they need any special equipment. By reaching out, you are working to create a community within the class.
I would love to hear positive group fitness experiences or any questions about different style classes
I recently read an article on Mashable about who is the typical mommy blogger. After reading what they said, I looked at the comments as they asked people to share blogs that they write. Instead of finding new blogs to read, I saw the many, many complaints about the term “mommy blogger”. The feeling was that it’s a derogatory term. Many felt that these women should not be referred to as “mommy” and they should be respected for their professional writing backgrounds.
My kids are 5 and 7 and I am very much so a mommy. The boys, like their peers, still call me mommy. I know this will change in the not too distant future and I am embracing this short period of time that I am Mommy. I am also not a professional writer, so I think that puts me square in the realm of “mommy bloggers”.
Ironically, I feel the same negative gut reaction when I hear people refer to women at sporting events as “pink hats”. As a female sports fan who has attended many sporting events over the years, it drives me crazy. Then I realized – I don’t wear a pink hat. I have always worn a navy blue hat (often to the point it turns a different color).
We all have a trigger; some description that we find derogatory. Sometimes, we have to sit back and revel in the fact they may not be talking about us. What about the term makes you angry? For me, I am proud of being a mommy and someday I will be proud of being a mom. The term “pink hat” often refers to women who don’t know much about the sport they are viewing. I look at my experience and don’t consider myself in the same category but I applaud these women for trying something new.
So often today, people are expressing their negative feelings towards each other. Perhaps we could embrace our differences and realize that people aren’t always referring to us and maybe others should be celebrated for what they are trying. Maybe, we can realize that these labels are no more important as adults than they were in high school. I went to a large high school and it was straight out of a John Hughes movie. Many years later, the labels are gone and most people get along. Instead of labeling the type of parent or person you are; follow your own passions and leave the labels behind. Then, you will be certain to find your personal happiness.
A few years ago, my friend asked me to try a pilates class with her. We made our child watch reservations and off we went. At the time, I had no idea the impact this decision would have on my life. Our kids enjoyed seeing each other two mornings a week and we got to catch up as we went to class. We rarely missed a class, with the exception of sick kids. Before we began going to class, I was home with the kids and my entire life revolved around their activities (playgroups, story hour, preschool, etc). This was two hours a week for me and it was great!
Eventually, I added a little time on the treadmill. I enjoyed playing music I wouldn’t necessarily listen to with the kids and getting out any stress from the day. It truly became my sanctuary. For however long I was in class or rocking out on the treadmill, the kids were safe; I didn’t have to worry about laundry, cleaning or grocery shopping. It began to release anxiety that I hadn’t even recognized until it was gone. Now, I am much more aware when the anxiety is creeping in and I find the time for a class or even 15 minutes on the treadmill.
For me, exercising outside of the house is key. When I practice yoga, pilates or cardio at home the to-do list is looming; yet if I am out of the house, those tasks aren’t in front of me and I can forget about them for a short period of time. Finding the right activity for you makes such a difference and not just physically but mentally. It helps keep everything in perspective and organize your day. Everyone deserves time to recharge the batteries and be ready for what the day has to offer.
That first pilates class gave me back some sanity and now it is my career. I love that I can share my joy of pilates with new and returning students. My mood lifts every time I walk into class, both as a student and as an instructor. Everyone is different and finds peace of mind in different places. Sometimes it takes trying a variety of activities before settling on one but it is certainly worth it in the long run!
Spring is an extremely busy time of year for parents, especially if your kids are in school. The last few weeks of school are filled with events to attend. You add in any extra activities winding down and it is a lot.
However, it’s a great time of year for making new friends. You are essentially forced to hang out with new people. Over time, more and more faces are familiar; but in the beginning you meet many new parents at the school and at your children’s activities. Think about the random conversations at baseball games, dance rehearsals or sitting outside art classes. It is a group of people, often from different backgrounds, coming together because of their children and sharing a unified experience. Conversations often start with talk about how crazy everyone’s schedule is; this is an easy way for moms to relate. It also provides an opportunity to find out what other moms do. Often in these moments we discover what someone does for work or as a volunteer because it is naturally added to the verbal to-do list she’s sharing with you.
It is also a great time to find new meal ideas. Everyone has to eat and it is difficult to come up with quick, healthy choices. Last night, was a busy one for us and everyone was heading in different directions. We decided to make turkey meatball subs for dinner. It was quick and everyone eats them (not an easy feat in this family). If I have time, I throw chicken in the crock pot with barbecue sauce and serve broccoli slaw (bought at the store and I add a little coleslaw dressing). These are my primary, go-to options but I really need more and I’m always curious about what other people do in the same situation.
Please share any ideas that work for your family at this busy time of year. If you don’t want to comment you can always send me and email at firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you