Tag Archives: exercise

Be Strong – But Not Always

by Jen, Be Strong

In July I went on hiatus from writing because my 44 year old sister was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  I was broken hearted and determined to be there for her as much as possible.  On September 10, 2012 my sister died.  I am still broken hearted….and yet…I am not broken.

With my sister’s diagnosis came a lot of anxiety for me.  This is not the place nor is it the time  (not ready to go there yet) for me to share all of that with you.  However, since the magical date I blogged about -March 11, 2012- I had gone down 30 lbs. and now, I am exactly half way between that and my starting weight.  Half way feels magical, too.  It is the moment I say to myself,  “Did I really change or am I the same person who won’t believe how fat I am until my belly sits on my knees?”  If you remember previous posts you know I am not afraid to call out my weight of 223 lbs because I carry that weight into the world everyday.  I carry this friggin amazing body into the world everyday!!!  It is a body that has not failed me yet.  How honored and blessed that I am.  Perhaps now is a good time to mention that exactly one day after weighing in at 219, I ran a half marathon in 3 hours and 9 minutes!  They didn’t ask my weight. They didn’t care my weight. If I could run I was in!!!  And I ran!!!

So here I am today 15 pounds heavier than I was in the last post in July.  And yet, I am wiser, stronger, more gentle and more loving.  Win-Win.  I am ready to get back to the healthier version of me.  So,  what made me gain the 15 pounds?  Easy.  I started drinking alcohol again and I stopped exercising faithfully.  I exercised here and there.   2 things.  That is it.  Nothing more.  There are solid reasons for both those things happening. I am not here to make excuses.  I am not here to ease any guilt because I don’t have any related to those two choices.  I am not even here to say that I slipped.  I didn’t.  Life happened as it does.  It came at me hard and I made different choices than I had been making.  Today, I look at those choices and say….”yeah, they worked for right then but those aren’t choice I want to hang onto long-term.”

And so I have stopped the alcohol for now.  I have started the spinning and the running again.  My goal is 3 miles 2 x a week and 5 miles once a week.  I will probably have to do a lot of that on the treadmill and although I don’t love that idea, the idea of making the gym work for me is great.  Spinning will be 2 x a week.  I know I will have to fight the not wanting to even harder with the days getting darker much earlier.  Winter is a time where I have to watch myself like a hawk or I will fall into a place where I want to wear sweats, read a book, and drink hot stuff as soon as I get home!

The good news is that I like the healthier me.  I like that I don’t shy away from things that are hard.  I had never pushed my body beyond comfort zone and it is such a feeling of accomplishment to do that!  I keep thinking about and loving the  idea that the more weight I take off of this body the faster I will run without having to do ANYTHING else.

Life will keep happening to us. Sometimes it will be gentle, but often it will hit hard!!!  It is okay if you get the wind knocked out of you.  Take time to catch your breath. When you are ready jump up and fight back!  Be Strong!  Be Gentle with you and those you meet along the way!


I am Jen and I am a 40 year old mom, wife, and teacher among other things. I write blog posts because it is my passion, my therapy and, I hope along the way it helps others. My blog posts tend toward being about staying strong in the face of grief, anger, general hard times ss well as keeping yourself healthy so that you can continue to be there for the people who matter in your life. I hope you find some golden nuggets for yourself in my writing.

This post was originally published HERE and used with permission.



Filed under Remembering to Breathe, Taking the next step

It’s About The Sanity

by Patty, Pancakes Gone Awry

I sat on the park bench crying inconsolably. I was too upset to go home; I didn’t feel like explaining myself to Bil or the kids, so I just sat there sobbing, so angry at Danny’s teachers.

I had just had a terribly frustrating meeting with them about how he “couldn’t focus.” The teachers gave no suggestions, only complaints. It was obvious they were giving up on him for the year. The special ed teacher kept talking about how much better third grade would be. It was only March, but they were already giving up on my kid.

I felt helpless and sad and hopeless, as I sat on that bench staring at the houses that lined the street surrounding the park. Trying fruitlessly to come up with solutions, I wracked my brain. But there was nothing. I had nothing at all. I was so drained and confused and angry. And I didn’t know what to do to feel better.

Then, I had a thought. I would go to Zumba class. That would buy me some time before I had to rehash the meeting with Bil. I just wanted to be alone, and Zumba seemed like a good place for that. Though crowded, it’s dark and noisy–no need to talk to, or even look at, anyone.

So, I composed myself and headed to the gym.

As soon the bass tones of the music filled the room, I felt relief. As I danced, I was actually overcome with a peace and an overflow of emotion. I started to get choked up, but this time it wasn’t out of hopelessness, it was blessed peace and release. I knew I still had to figure out how to help Danny, but at that moment, I could revel in the movement and how good it felt. As I cha-cha’d and shimmied, I began to feel that life was manageable again. I would figure it out.

By the time the workout was over, I felt like a new woman.

I have been working out pretty regularly, since my teens, in an attempt to manage my burgeoning weight. Aerobics videos, walking, biking all to reduce the size of my hips, thighs and stomach. I knew that if I ever wanted to look like Kate Winslet, I should be exercising everyday.

It hasn’t been until recent years that I realized exercise was about much more than my appearance and weight.

It is the one thing standing between me and depression.

I first realized this when I was pregnant with Tommy. My first trimester hit me hard emotionally. I was already overwhelmed with my parenting duties and the hormonal onslaught only made me more scared, lonely and weepy. I couldn’t make it through the day without crying. And these crying jags were not just the kind you have from watching a sappy Hallmark commercial. Oh, no, these episodes included me feeling like things were completely dismal, that I was the worst mother in the world and I would never be able to handle another child.

I had almost decided to talk to my doctor about medication when I popped in an exercise video. To my surprise, I starting smiling almost as soon as the warm-up was done, and I didn’t cry once the rest of the day. After that, I knew that if I were going to make it through the pregnancy sanity intact, working out had to be a priority.

That episode on the park bench last year reminded me that I have to make time for exercise. Though I rarely look forward to the actual work out, I always feel better afterwards. More telling is when I take a break for a week. All of a sudden, my emotions are more difficult to control. My stress levels raise exponentially, and I don’t sleep as well.

So, I try to make it a priority to work out, no matter what is happening. I sometimes feel guilty about the time I am taking away from my family, but really we all benefit from it.

I’ll never have Kate Winslet’s body, but some things are more important than looks.


The mother of three kids, Patty’s eight-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter have both been diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder. Her oldest son also has high functioning autism. Though her two-year-old son has no diagnosis as of yet, she’s pretty certain he has SPD, as well. She blogs at Pancakes Gone Awry and has contributed to OUR Journey THRU Autism. Her writing has been published in SI Focus Magazine and online at The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism and Mamapedia. She recently started a LEGO social skills group for kids on the spectrum for those with social/developmental delays in her area.

This post was originally published HERE and was used with her permission.


Filed under Remembering to Breathe, Taking the next step

Stroll With It, Baby

by Cynthia, that cynking feeling

I was in the best shape of my life before I got pregnant.

I have always been a chubby person. I was a fat kid who grew into a fat adult. Family lore has it that “cookie” was my first word. I love to eat. Unfortunately, I eat when I’m hungry, when I’m not hungry, when I’m stressed, when I’m happy, when I’m bored, when I’m busy, when I’m with people, when I’m alone, etc. Food is my friend and my enemy.

I don’t remember what year it was, by I do recall the moment when I said to myself, “This is enough.” I was in a hotel over the winter holidays. I was en route from visiting family in Ohio back to my home in New Mexico. During this particular trip, I had exchanged my reward points from one of those hotel loyalty programs for a free stay in a rather upscale room. I was checking out the fancy bathroom when some impulse prompted me to get on the scale. I don’t know if it was the wonderment over why a hotel would even offer a scale or idle curiosity, but I got on nonetheless.

I did not like the number that I saw on the digital display.

That number staring up at me was just too much. I knew this explained why I got winded climbing a flight of stairs. I knew this explained why I was tired all the time. I knew this explained why I was developing a second chin.

I knew I did not want to be this weight.

After returning to Albuquerque, I started watching what I ate and walking the dog more.  I knew this wasn’t going to be enough. Serendipity stepped in, and I received a postcard advertising the grand opening of a Curves in my neighborhood. I joined a few days later.

That was the first step I needed in getting my health back. Over the next few years I managed to lose close to seventy pounds. I moved back to Ohio, started a new job, got divorced, changed jobs, remarried, gained back and lost a few pounds but, through it all, I always transferred my membership to the local Curves.

I was getting closer to my goal weight and decided I wanted to do something more. Again, fortune stepped in and I received an email about the Breast Cancer 3-Day. This was in 2007, the first year the event was to be held in Cleveland. I signed up and set about training for the 60-mile walk. After completing the event, I felt strong and capable. I knew I had to do it again.

I registered for the 2008 event and set about training. I had lost a bit of motivation since the mornings were still cold and dark. I was also feeling queasy most mornings. I figured that I must have eaten something off or wasn’t drinking enough water. I wasn’t too worried about intense training as yet. I was still fit from the previous summer’s event and at my lowest weight since high school.

One morning, I threw up while walking the dog.

After a trip to the local drug store, I used my purchase in the pre-dawn hours to diagnose the cause for my tummy troubles.

The little stick told me I was pregnant.

So, I was the best shape of my life when I got pregnant. I continued to walk and to go to Curves late into my pregnancy. I didn’t, however, keep training for the 3-Day since walking 60 miles, camping for two nights in a tent and having limited access to only portable restrooms while seven months pregnant did not sound like fun.

Nausea was my constant companion during all nine months that I carried Philip. I found myself eating all the time. Despite the exercise, I gained back many of the pounds that I had worked so hard to lose.

After Philip was born, I obviously dropped a few pounds. I was certain that the rest of the weight would come melting off when I began to breastfeed. At least, that was what was promised in those “what to expect” books and articles. As things turned out, my milk never came in. I was not going to lose weight that way.

Before the baby was born, we had decided that Peter would quit work to stay at home. Since we were living off just my income, I gave up my Curves membership. I assumed that, once my child got on a sleep schedule, I would be able to work in other, free fitness activities. Again, the “what to expect” books had not prepared me for life with first a baby and then a toddler with such an erratic sleep schedule.

Despite these challenges, I had been keeping relatively fit by walking the dog twice a day. I didn’t get back to my pre-pregnancy weight, but things got better once I started pushing Philip around town in a stroller.

Last summer, after I started my new job and we moved, bad habits started to creep back into my life. I was spending more time in the car commuting to work. I was eating more fast food, walking a little less. When I began walking with Philip rather than pushing him in a stroller, my walking regime decreased in its intensity and efficacy.  Over the winter, my clothes got tighter. I started getting winded when I took the stairs. Hell, I was getting winded walking in a straight line. One weekend about a month ago, I got on the scale at my parents’ house.

I did not like the number I saw on the display.

As much as I don’t like how I look when I’m this weight, what I really hate is how I feel: blah. Plus, I know I’m putting myself at risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. It runs in my family.

More importantly, I don’t like the message I’m sending to Philip. Sure, he may not notice and be embarrassed by my weight now, but he will notice if I’m too tired and fat to play with him.  As I read this blog post at The Oxygen Mask Project, I found myself nodding in recognition and agreement.

Enough IS enough.

Peter kindly got the stroller out of storage a few weeks ago. I cleaned off the cobwebs, and Peter inflated the tires. Now, as part of our new morning routine, I put Philip in the stroller and push him while walking the dog. Not only will this help me get back in shape, it’s turning into an excellent way to wake up Philip in the morning. I’ve written about sleep issues before. There is this vicious cycle in which Philip sleeps in, takes a late nap and then stays up late which makes him want to sleep in, take a late nap, etc. Without the structure of the school day, it has become more of a struggle to make sure Philip wakes up and stays awake.

During the school year, Philip was never awake early enough to eat breakfast.  He takes after his dad like that: they both eat like birds and have the waists to match. In preschool, skipping breakfast isn’t ideal, but it’s not the end of the world. But once Philip starts full-day school, there won’t be morning snack and he won’t be going home for an early lunch.  I need to get him in the breakfast-eating habit now.  So, while I’m getting in a workout, Philip can munch on cereal and check out the sights.

I’m so not ready for this

Philip isn’t always awake when I put him in the stroller. This is one reason why I don’t try to make him walk on his own. I tried that, but ending up carrying a still-sleepy toddler. Sure, THAT would be an excellent workout, but it’s hard to pick up dog poop while carrying thirty-plus pounds of crying child. In the stroller, Philip can ease into wakefulness while the dog and I can walk at a brisk pace. Well, a brisk pace until the dog stops to sniff something. But you get the point.

Okay, I’m awake now

I’m hoping by the end of summer that my pants are fitting a little better and that I’m not out of breath from a flight of stairs. I need to be in the best shape of my life now, to take care of myself, my son and my family.


I’m a working mom with a stay at home husband living in the midwest. I started blogging about my son on his first birthday, intending it as an electronic photo album. Our now 3 1/2 year old son was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder earlier this year. The blog still serves its original purpose while also helping me think, learn and adapt to life with autism.

This post was originally published HERE and used with permission.

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Filed under Remembering to Breathe, Taking the next step

Enough Is Enough

by Ilene, My Family’s Experience With Autism

I’ve never been what anyone would consider an athlete.  I’ve never even been what would be considered “in shape”.  I walk faster than I run, and it’s not that I’m a fast walker.  I’ve never been a fan of stairs.  But I’ve always been able to get by.

A couple of weeks ago my husband and I took our 3 kids on a vacation to a resort with my husband’s family.  One of the things that all of my kids were looking forward to was the indoor water park that they had on site.  There were several water slides that EVERYONE was excited to try.  Big Brother is a typical 7 year old and, once he realized that his swimming level wouldn’t stand in his way, he was able to do anything he wanted.  He went up the 4 flights of stairs and down those slides so many times I couldn’t tell you the numbers even if you held a gun to my head.

But Ballerina and Music Man can’t go up there unsupervised.  They are both 5, both Autistic, and really not capable of understanding things like “waiting their turn” when someone isn’t there to hold them back.  Plus, Ballerina isn’t allowed on the slides herself because she’s not 48 inches tall (Music Man MAY be that tall [he’s close if not there], but we never stopped to check).  So, every time they wanted to go down one of those 3 slides, they needed someone to go with them.  Dad was uncomfortable with the thought of going down those slides himself, so it fell to me to take them up there.

They had a BLAST!!!!!  They loved going down these slides sitting in a tube going through this dark tunnel.  They liked the echo their screams made (which surprised me to no end) and they couldn’t wait to go down again.

Can you see the problem here?  Their ability to go down the slides, like any other kid, wasn’t an issue.  The issue was ME.  Every time they were going to go down the slide, I had to climb up the 4 flights of stairs.  I had to carry the 2-person tube if we were going down the “pink slide” (which only happened once).  I had to find the energy in my legs to make it up there over and over and over again.

Most times I was able to distract them – tell them to go to the “fort” which happens to have a couple of water slides on it’s own and is something that they can do without my help.  I tried this every time we finished going down a slide, just to give me a break.  But finally, Music Man realized something – if he started going up the stairs, he’d get to go again because I had to go after him and by the time I would catch him, we’d be near the top and I needed the break by going down the slide..  The barrier stopping everyone from getting on the slides wasn’t at the bottom of the stairs, but at the top.  So, as soon as he got off the tube, he immediately started going up the stairs and I had to follow him.  In the 3 hours or so we were at that park, I probably climbed up there at least 20 times.  To say I was EXHAUSTED would be an understatement.

I need to do something.  I need to lose weight, and I need to get into shape.  My kids deserve the opportunity to do the things that everyone else gets to do, even if it means they have to do it with me.  They deserve to go on a water slide and not be limited by my lack of physical energy to get up those stairs.  Because they really did love it there.

We have a Wii.  The original excuse for getting it (which hasn’t happened in the 2.5 years we’ve had it) was to use some of the Fitness games.  Well, that’s going to happen now.  I purchased the game for The Biggest Loser because it claims that it works for all body types, all weights and all abilities.  I’m going to use this every day and try to get into some kind of shape.  I’m going to change the way I eat and work on finding some energy.

Because if I don’t do something, and soon, I won’t be there for my kids.  What greater motivator is there?


My name is Ilene and I’m a happily married stay-at-home-mom to 3 wonderful children.  My eldest is a typically developing 6 year old first grader.  I also have a set of girl/boy twins who are recently turned 5, both diagnosed with Classic Autism.  My daughter has also been diagnosed with ADHD.

Life is not what I imagined it would be at this stage, but it’s still my life, and it’s good.  We have good days and we have bad days, just like everyone else.  I started blogging to cope with things not progressing the ways that I wanted them to go.  Sometimes I vent about problems.  Sometimes I share in a glorious moment.  Sometimes I try to educate others.  It really depends on what I feel like saying when I sit down at the computer to “blog”.  But I do promise that everything I write is honest and heartfelt, even though I may contradict myself from time to time as I learn new things.

I hope to share with others what we go through.  And I hope you enjoy reading our stories.



Filed under Remembering to Breathe, Taking the next step

Just Like That

by Becky, Building On Joy

Love this! Motivating!
And so I decided to start exercising & that led to starting a running program.  Well, a walk/jog program.  You can read more about how I got started.  About 3 weeks ago, I didn’t plan to exercise. I didn’t want to exercise. I really hated the idea, although I knew I needed it.

Today I did my first full Couch to 5K workout outside, and it was tough.  But I completed the WHOLE program for today.  I’m pretty sure that my jogging pace may actually be slower than my walking pace (ok, not really but, well, maybe!).  The way the Couch to 5K program is structured is that for the first week you walk 5 minutes, then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking.  You do the jog-then-walk combination 8 times.  I was ready to quit after 2 times.  I was positive that I’d not get through the third jog, let alone move on to the third walk segment.  But I watched my time, and when it was time to jog, I jogged.  All 8 times.  And then I walked, all 8 times.

It was hard.  I was sweaty.  Yuck.  I came home and plopped onto the couch and told my husband that I was pretty sure I was going to die.  But of course I didn’t, or you wouldn’t be reading this post! 😉

The picture above was going around Facebook this morning and it captured – perfectly – why I started exercising, and why I didn’t quit this morning.

I think we – ok, I’ll speak for myself here, not all of you – I think I live so much of life “because it’s the way I’ve always done it” and that’s just not cutting it anymore.  That’s “mindless living” in my opinion.  There’s nothing intentional in that kind of living.  I know I wasn’t aiming to be unintentional in my living – I probably even decided that I was being “efficient” by just doing the same thing I’ve always done.

But the need to be intentional is currently a big key in my life.  And so it is in this aspect of my life as well, it turns out (imagine that!).  It’s now nearly noon, and I’ve not accomplished as much as I could because I took time out to exercise.  However, I think I’ve accomplished one of THE most important things I needed to do today, because I took time out to exercise.

Are there things in your life that you’re looking to change?  It’s not easy – I’m not here to tell you that it is.  But making intentional choices is the place to start.  Look at what you’re wanting to change.  Decide what you need to do to make that change, and just do it.  Don’t listen to the doubting or the parts of you that say, “No way!”  One step at a time.  One choice at a time.  You CAN do it.

There are so many people out there who will tell you that you can't. What you've got to do is turn around and say "watch me".


Becky lives near Philadelphia, PA. She is married to Tim and they are parents to 3 children – two boys and one girl.  Her second son, “Picasso”, has Sensory Processing Disorder along with an Asperger Syndrome diagnosis. Picasso loves making art using various mediums and sometimes chooses to sneak Sharpies for use on surfaces in the home (read: bathroom cabinet, doors, walls, lightswitches, etc.).  She blogs about special needs, homeschooling, and family life at www.paintingwithpicasso.blogspot.com .  Becky also enjoys coffee, reading, music, knitting, and is working hard at taking better care of herself, in order to care better for her family!  Check out her new blog Building On Joy.

This post was originally published HERE and used with permission.


Filed under Remembering to Breathe, Taking the next step

Running In The Rain

By Jeanie, Reinventing Mommy

I’ve made some changes over the past couple of weeks. I’m spending more time on my writing, trying to make some things happen.

I’ve also gotten my hair cut, a move that the majority of my family may or may not approve of once they see it. It actually aged me a bit, which is good, because I’m a lot older than I look. And yes, I’m typing that with a smile. I know I’ll appreciate my “baby face” when I’m in my 60s.

It had been a while since my hair was this short, since the days at my 9 to 5. Once Jack was born and throwing up all over me on a daily basis, I figured that no hair cut could hide the vomit stains on my clothes and the sour milk smell that hung heavy in the air around my person.

Ironically enough, I think that Jack is really confused by it. For example, take this exchange from when I picked him up at school yesterday:

Me: “Hi, Jack!”
Jack: No response, no eye contact.
Me: Trying to prompt him – “Jack says, ‘Hi, Mmmm…'”
Jack: “Hi, Ms. (his private OT’s name)!”
Me: “Nope, I’m not Ms. (OT). Try again. Jack says, ‘Hi, Mmmm….'”
Jack: “Hi, Ms. (his preschool teacher’s name)!”
Me: “No, I’m not Ms. (preschool teacher). Jack says, ‘Hi, Mommy!'”

To which Jack looked at me for the first time in this whole exchange, with a look that said, To hell you say! You’re not MY Mommy!
Yeah, that wasn’t my intent by making changes.

Ultimately, I’ve decided that I needed to do some things for me – to make me happy. I need to discover who I am and what I like and want out of my life.

As a means of getting to that goal, I’ve started running again. I used to run when I was younger. Really, my neighborhood is the perfect place to run. It is very hilly around where I live, but my neighborhood sits on a rare oasis of perfectly flat ground. The main street actually loops around the neighborhood, serving almost as a track, if you wish.

I had not gone running since before I got pregnant with Jack, which was in 2008. Once Jack was born, he always had so many needs that it seemed like running was more of a hassle. I thought about getting a treadmill, but they’re just so damned expensive.

That and I far prefer to run outdoors. I like the feeling of the wind on my face. I like the fresh air and the smells of the grass, the various blooms of the season, and the smell of rain as it is coming in.

Much to my neighbors’ confusion, the time you will always see me running is in the rain. I adore running in the rain. As long as there is no thunder and lightning, I don’t let a little thing like precipitation get in my way. I love feeling the rain roll down my skin. I love the slight chill as the wind lashes against my wet skin. I love the solitude, the peace, of the rain. It is so cleansing, as though the rain just washes away all of your cares, your concerns, and your fears.

I can do some of my best thinking in the rain. I basically write out a piece in my head while running. It gives me a chance to really examine myself. What do I like? What do I want? These are questions I’ve never really asked myself, but I feel like I should after all of these years of being so concerned by the answers others would give. Now, I actually am starting to care about what I have to say.

I’m probably happier now than I have been in years…and yes, that’s with an autistic child. He has a long way to go, but he’s made great progress and I feel like we’ve got the right combination of therapies with the right therapists and we will continue to see progress as he continues to work with them in the years to come. I feel confidence in that. I have proven to myself multiple times that I – and I alone – can fight for Jack and make things happen for him. That has been so empowering. I am doing some things just for myself that make me feel good.

You may look at Jack and some of the issues I deal with on a daily basis and feel either sympathy or sadness, but don’t. I’m at a point where autism is just a “normal” part of my life and, even though some days are harder than others, for the most part I just deal with things as they come and make the accommodations I need for him. Sure, it sucks at times when I see what he can’t do (evaluation time comes to mind), but then I remember how far he’s come.

And I helped get him there.

It’s the same with running in the rain. You might look at me out of your window and think, That poor woman! She’s soaked! She must be miserable! However, if you looked at my face, you’d see a smile as I think about how far I’ve come.


Jeanie is a former engineer turned stay-at-home wife and mom to an amazing 3-year old little boy on the autism spectrum. After her only child was diagnosed at 24-months with autism and an alphabet soup of special needs, she began to write about life parenting a very young child with special needs with honesty, optimism, and as always, a touch of humor. You can find Jeanie at her regular blog, Reinventing Mommy (http://reinventingmommy.blogspot.com/).

This post was originally published HERE and used with permission.

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Filed under Remembering to Breathe, Taking the next step

Just Breathe

by Ashley, Stinker Babies

Have you heard of The Oxygen Mask Project?  It’s a movement in the special needs parents community to claim 2012 as #theyearoftheoxygenmask.  The idea is that you need to put on your own oxygen mask before you help others.  If you don’t, you’re no good to anyone.  (Remember the safety speech from the flight attendants?)

It’s so important but so very easy to forget when you’re trying to make sure everyone else’s needs are met.  I’m making it my goal for this year and taking baby steps towards taking care of myself every now and then.  Those steps aren’t always successful, but I am taking them!

An example?

On Thursday afternoon, I looked up from the dishes and realized the kids were actually playing quietly.  I had a moment of triumph as I claimed victory in the battle to find time for myself.  I totally abandoned the dishes.  (They needed to soak anyway, right?)  I quietly grabbed my yoga mat from the closet, tiptoe-ran over to the TV, and pulled up our “On Demand” fitness choices.  I was trying to be absolutely silent because I knew if the kids heard the TV come on, it would become Dora vs Thomas instead of Mommy Time.

I scrolled down the list of options and found the perfect thing.  It was 24 minutes of a pilates routine that focused on relaxation and breathing.  Score!!

I pressed play and the gentle music began as the instructor calmly and quietly began the instructions.  I laid back on my mat, closed my eyes, and breathed.  Ahhhhhh.  Just breathe.

I felt something drip on me right between the eyes.

Nope.  Not happening.  Just gonna ignore that.  I’m sure it’s nothing.  Because I’m breathing here, for crying out loud!


Ugh.  I glanced up and found myself looking right into the eyes (and runny nose) of my 3-year-old daughter who had, apparently, been hovering over me.

“Mommy?  Mommy?  MommyMommyMommyMommy!”  She stage whispered.

I managed to hold back my groan but I didn’t like where this was going.  “Yes, Gracie?”

“Are you sleeeeeeeeping?”

Caleb soon joined in the fun and after a few minutes of them crawling under my legs and hanging onto my arms, I found myself using my “mean mommy” voice and yelling, “Get on the couch and BE QUIET!  Mommy’s trying to BREATHE!”

Well, that got Caleb started about the lobes of the lungs (because the lungs have been his favorite part of the body ever since he learned about them).

And you know what?  It actually kinda worked out.

I managed to finish my “relaxation” yoga while the kids added some resistance training and anatomy lessons.  And the best part is that I actually took that step towards putting on my oxygen mask.

Before you know it, I might actually be breathing!


Once upon a time, there was a very nice girl who was relaxed, patient and calm. Then along came the Stinker Babies and life was turned upside down! Now she considers it a successful day if her clothes match and her teeth are brushed.  As she helps her husband through nursing school and raises two crazy awesome kids (one of whom has autism), she is on a new quest to document the beauty of motherhood. She’s pretty sure it could be hiding underneath the piles of laundry or behind the stacks of dishes!

This post was originally published HERE and was shared on our site with permission.

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Filed under Remembering to Breathe

Breathing Freely

by Spectrummy Mummy

I’m not sporty.  At all.  The girl who never got picked for a team?  That was me.  My husband refers to me as “indoorsy” and he is spot on.  I enjoy getting cosy under a blanket with a good book or TV show.  I enjoy treating myself to cups of tea, or hot chocolate…actually, chocolate in any form.  Lots of chocolate.  I have a feeling that I’ll make the most content old person ever, having practiced for it all my life.  As long as my home has plenty of chocolate.  On a Saturday evening we’ll put the kids to bed, eat take out followed by treats and watch TV, just lazing around.  It does me good, but it isn’t good for me.

I don’t enjoy exercise in the way that I feel about my more passive pastimes.  But I need it.

Last year was tough.  For the first half of the year, I felt like I added an extra worry every day.  There were big things like additional diagnoses, assessments for the other child, moving to another country…and other big  things like a supportive friend moving away  and trying to coordinate therapies for two children.  That is the thing about life- there are never any little things, and before long I was suffocating under the weight of so many big things.  After more than a decade symptom-free, I was back on two different kinds of medication for asthma.  Just so I could breathe.

Once we moved, I knew I had to make changes if I was going to stay healthy for my family.  We found a babysitter.  Once the kids were in their respective preschools, I started going to the gym.  And though there were still stressors, they didn’t seem to weigh me down so heavily.  I no longer need the asthma medication- I’m breathing freely again.

Now I can’t get enough pure oxygen.  Last weekend we took the kids outside to play sports.  Pudding refused to join in, preferring to draw with chalk.  Cubby soon tired too.  We couldn’t compete with the allure of the other kids in our housing complex, who are impressively accepting of our kids, quirks and all.  Instead of sinking in a chair to keep an eye on them, I suggested to Spectrummy Daddy that we had a game of tennis instead.  We only have plastic Swingball rackets, and the balls didn’t have half the bounce our kids do, but we managed quite the game!

We used the driveway for a court, and both of us were running around for the ball, unable to convince the kids to collect the strays.  Before long we were both a little out of breath, but this time in a good way.  We had a good time, and it doesn’t hurt our kids to see us play.  Maybe next time Pudding will join in too.  Spectrummy Daddy even said he’d pick indoorsy me for his team.  Maybe we were all winners that day, but the score was love-all.


Spectrummy Mummy is a British Expat living in Johannesburg with her diplomat husband, Pudding (an atypical five-year-old girl), and Cubby (a nearlytypical two-year-old-boy).  Her work has been published by The Telegraph, Parenting Magazine, Autism Speaks and others.  She has contributed to Hopeful Parents, The SPD Blogger Network and The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism.  She writes about Asperger’s, Allergies, and Adventures Abroad at her blog.


Filed under Remembering to Breathe, Taking the next step