Fitness Articles

The Soccer Mom Fitness Trap

You're Busy, But Not Active

240SHARES

Always on the run, but no time to jog? Or bike, hike, swim, or otherwise participate in activities that would mean better health, more energy, and even fun?

If this sounds like your life, maybe it’s time-- in the rosy glow of the just-dawning New Year-- to consider how you can get off that routine treadmill of busyness and blaze a new trail that allows you to be physically active while completing important tasks.

For inspiration, meet 46-year-old Taimi Henderson (pronounced Tammy), who had three kids in two years and eight months, raised them as a single "soccer mom"—before that term existed—and survived to smile about it all.

Acknowledging the hard lessons of organizing life with two young daughters and a son, Taimi admits feeling envious when she heard other adults say they were heading off to the gym or signing up for aerobics classes: "I would think, ‘I so want to exercise!’ But I couldn’t. I was too busy to be active."

Faced with mounting mounds of laundry and pre-teens who would "freak out" because a special shirt wasn’t clean when they wanted to wear it, Taimi said she realized "something had to give."

As a result, she drew up a new battle plan— one that involved time-saving strategies to help her keep her sanity.

First on the list: setting up the household so that her children could take on more responsibility.

"They’ve done their own laundry since they were 10, 11, 12 years old," she says, recalling with a chuckle how she got her darlings their own clothes baskets and held a group training session to show them how to use the washing machine. They also learned at an early age to cook meals, as well as rotate kitchen cleanup and other daily chores.

While it wasn’t always smooth sailing— "I learned really quick that they needed assigned days to do their laundry, because they would all wind up trying to do their laundry at the same time and it was ugly"—Taimi says she learned as she went, and the additional responsibilities were good for her kids.

Slated next for a new plan of attack was the weekly marketing, since "I hated everything about grocery shopping."

Though there were limits to how much she could reduce this task, she simplified the process by instituting her own ‘Deal-a-Meal’ lists, with dinner menus on one side and the necessary ingredients on the other side. "That way, I could plan out 6 or 7 different dinners every week, and already have the list. I couldn’t change the need for shopping, but I could get it done quicker."
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About The Author

Rebecca Pratt Rebecca Pratt
A freelance writer who contributes to various newspapers and magazines, Becky loves covering ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

Member Comments

  • ZIFONIX
    Thanks you, this is a great article.

    http://zifonix.
    com/category/
    health/fitness/ - 2/16/2014 3:00:36 PM
  • Thanks so much for sharing - 7/17/2013 9:42:41 AM
  • Great article with examples with solutions to what needed to be done and why she picked them- this woman had it together from the start. - 6/12/2013 7:15:35 PM
  • I do think it is great for kids to learn home responsibilities and live in a schedule because most of life does have both. Mom does not mean you have to actually do it all - it is great to delegate and just supervise...Great story/article. - 6/12/2013 10:11:09 AM
  • Great article. - 6/12/2013 9:54:19 AM
  • I raised five children while my husband was gone most of the time in the military. Even when he was home, he was always busy doing what he needed to do, so he was little help. But I learned to be organized through Pam Young and Peggy Jones "The Slob Sisters" and through using ideas from Denise Schofield "Confessions of an Organized Housewife." Rule 1: Less is always better. I didn't run my kids to every activity, but we focused on a couple and they got good at them. They did Judo, and played Soccer in the fall & did swimming in the summer. I always found time to do WALKING while they had Judo class or Soccer, so I got in exercise then. You DON'T have to SIT and watch. - 5/15/2013 12:01:26 AM
  • I juggle kids activities which seem to be never ending and as my husband works away, I have to do by myself as well as working. Where there is a will there is a way. I have 5k routes marked out near all their activities. Most activities last an hour and my 5k takes me just over 30 mins (depending on how well I am doing!!) so I even get to watch them for awhile. I jump rope for ten minutes in the morning before they get up and I jump on the trampoline with them. I also have a 40 minute kettlebell routine which I do while they are doing homework or else get up early to get it done.

    Where there is a will there is a way! and if you really want to do it you will find some way and if you want to find an excuse, you will find that too!

    Having said that, I do know that it is very difficult with smaller children and I found it difficult when mine were small and they were with me all the time and I had no family living near and didn't know the neighbours as we had just moved to the area. At least when they start school you get to meet other parents and can get some mutual help going! - 5/14/2013 4:21:04 PM
  • You are very wise! I agree so much with learning to let go of things. When my boys were young I was so uptight about stuff; now that they are teenagers and one getting ready for college I realize I could have done a little better job getting them ready if I hadn't been so worried about it being perfect.

    - 5/14/2013 2:34:09 PM
  • Awesome Article. Very Inspirational and Motivational. Great for Families with Children to in managing the household to bring down the stress level to where things would run smoothly. God Bless Everyone. Have a Wonderful Week. Take Care.
    - 5/14/2013 12:00:36 PM
  • Wow! 3 kids in 2 years 8 months! I cannot even imagine-how hard that must have been with no Dad in the picture. I know with my husband being in the Navy on submarines he was gone 6 months out of 12 and our communication was almost nil.. I cannot even imagine having children during that time. We had to think it thru and decide how much he was going to be involved with parenting. Our decision took a lot of time to put everything into the mix-me being alone raising the children and him coming in and out and still being an active parent. I cannot imagine all of the other choices you have made but I would think laundry, shopping, and meal planning while trying to get in exercise time would be difficult to say the least. I'm glad you had a well paying job, though taxing, that made it possible for you to raise responsible, self-sufficient children on you own. - 5/14/2013 11:52:14 AM
  • Great article - 5/14/2013 11:29:10 AM
  • @KY_RD79 - My two-year old helps with laundry. He pulls the clothes from the dryer into the basket and hands me clothes to put in the washer. We make it a game. Same thing with his bedroom, the living room and the dishes. He helps unload the dishwasher, except silverware. My brother was 4 when he helped out in yard (picking up toys and sticks for the older boys to mow the grass) and started loading and unloading the dishwasher (with some supervision) Lol, so I don't think they are too young in my opinion. If you can find it there is a book called "Children Who Do Too Little" and it is the sequel self-help-y book to "Parents Who Do Too Much." It gives a guide to what children can do realistically at certain ages. You can make chores fun. Offer rewards. For example, if they keep their room clean for a whole week without you telling them to, then they can have XX extra minutes of tv/ play time or an allowance of x amount of money or something. Your daughter might like a girl's day out with mom lol. This is just my advice/opinion for helping save your sanity in the long run lol. Plus, they will appreciate it. Not now but in the future. IMO - 5/14/2013 11:02:37 AM
  • Ahhhhhh....First World problems! - 5/14/2013 10:50:48 AM
  • My step mother was a stay at home mom and still had us do all the chores. We rotated on dishes and other kitchen duties. The girls learned to cook and rotated on cooking dinner. The boys had the yard on the weekend, and the girls had house detail (cleaning the living room, bathroom, dining room, dusting, etc) Everyone had to do their own laundry, except the youngest who was 4, lol. We had assigned days and if we didn't get it done we could bribe our siblings to let us use the washer and dryer. It usually require the doing of their laundry or other chores. At the time, I hated it because I felt like my SM was just lazy, now as an adult I appreciate the responsibilities I was given. My first roommate after high school didn't know how to cook or do her own laundry, or heaven forbid she had to clean the bathroom or wash a dish. I had to teach her everything (even balancing her checkbook, she over-drafted 3 times). She left food on the plates when she washed them and one time didn't add any soap to her laundry. After a year of basically being her "mom", I moved out. I told my SM that I really appreciate her teaching me the skills I needed to be an adult. She may have just been lazy as I originally thought, but I now think she just wanted to prepare her children to survive without her. :-) - 5/14/2013 10:37:27 AM
  • I really appreciated this article. I'm a mom of four whose husband works out of town Monday through Friday. So much of the advice I read for moms assumes one or two kids and a spouse available to help, and so isn't very doable for me. I really felt that, as the solo-parent of 3 kids, the author of this article really "got it" in terms of the busyness and need for creative solutions. Thank you! - 4/4/2013 4:47:15 PM
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