There are a few things I've learned over the years of being a mom and a health and fitness expert, besides the fact that yes, changing dirty diapers every hour does burn a ton of calories. The truth of it is, trying to fit in fitness and health when you're running on zero sleep, covered in spit up, and feel like you live in your mini-van can seem as hard as setting up house on Mars.
Actually setting up house on Mars might be easier! I remember one day as a stay-at-home mom when I felt overwhelmed with it all. I was smothered in sticky little fingers and frustrated with myself for just finishing my kid's leftover mac and cheese and knew there would be no chance to workout later.
I sat down to nurse my infant for the umpteenth time that day and there playing on the television was a nature show about bears. A mother grizzly bear was running after her cubs through a river, trying to teach them how to catch salmon with their growing, sharp teeth. The cubs were more interested in splashing in the water and tackling one another than watching their strong mama bear.
I thought to myself, I wish I could be her. Her job is so easy. She doesn't have to keep the house clean and decorated, her kids in cute clothes, her body healthy and fit, bake cookies but not eat them, run a business, be happy and sweet, read parenting books, have the latest and safest carseats -- all she has to do is catch fish. She doesn't even have to cook the damn things! Oh, to be that mama bear...
Well... my fantasy didn't come to pass. But I was right on a few accounts. Mama bear didn't have all the things we have to worry about, or we allow ourselves to worry about, but what she did have that I had lost sight of was basic survival down to a tee.
Maybe I could learn something from her. Maybe, like her, I needed to focus more on basic survival skills as a mom and a teacher of my young ones. Maybe if I focused my energy more on how I could incorporate these survival skills into my everyday modern living, maybe just maybe the things I was seeking -- health, fitness, strength, energy, joy, passion, balance, would come flooding back to me, and all the things that do not pertain to basic survival wouldn't seem so important anymore. It made me wonder.
Now I may have lost you right there. But stick with me. The more I thought about this concept, the more I instinctively knew I was on to something. I began finding ways to become what I like to call a Primal Mom. I began to ask myself, how would I have done these tasks or accomplished being lean, fit and healthy if I were a primal mama bear?
Would I give up and just let the processed food and seat heaters in my van keep me soft and perfect prey of our modern day killer, heart disease? Or would I stand up and fight back, and arm myself with survival of the fittest knowledge not only for myself but for my precious family as well?
I decided I wanted to be the strong mama bear. I wanted to tap into those survival instincts I knew were already inside of me. I came up with a few things I consider a mom does if she is fighting for the quality of her life and her children's lives.
10 Questions To Find Out If You Are A Primal Mom?
1. Do you run really fast at least every other day? Only for a few seconds at a time -- really get your heart beating? (Yes!)
2. Do you eat from a box or from the Earth? (Earth)
3. Do you lift heavy things three or more times a week? (Yes!)
4. Do you load your body with toxins and chemicals from foods and processed products? (No)
5. Do you teach your children how to move to survive? (Yes! Moving keeps blood sugar stable and helps decrease metabolic diseases.)
6. Do you practice natural lifting and high intensity activity as you go about your daily tasks? (Yes! But raising your blood pressure over your power bill doesn't count! Riding your bike, while pulling your kids to the local farmer's market does -- or making the the whole family weed the garden together.)
7. Do you feed yourself and your family sick meat or healthy raised meat? (Healthy raised meat, find out more at Eatwild.com)
8. Are you addicted to sugar? (No. Not sure? Go without sugar for three days and find out if you have headaches, irritability, and feel like you have the flu.)
9. Do you consume soda? (A definite no!)
10. Do you get adequate rest and downtime from electronics? (Yes! Having several hours before you sleep without any screen time is critical in getting our bodies to reach our natural sleep state -- this is also important for our children.)
The list could go on, but my point in writing this article is not to hound you about yet another thing to add to your plate, but to help you make an easy switch in your mind. To help you create a deeper connection to your primal self -- to the DNA that has been around for centuries running through the billions of moms who have lived on this earth. Tap into that, tap into the knowledge and power that is deep inside you, let it guide you on this journey of being a fit and healthy mom/mama bear.
Once I opened myself up to the possibility of incorporating everyday clean eating and fitness techniques into my way of life, as I would have if I were that primal mom fending for my children and family thousands of years ago, life began to change and fall into place. I realized it wasn't such a struggle fitting it all in. It fits. It really does, when we do it the way we were designed to do it.
And yes, sometimes this requires letting go of things that really in the end just plain don't matter.