I Blame the Children
Homeschooling is making me fat. My new Fitbit said so.
(psssst… I’m not fat. Confidence is key. But the children and the dog find my midsection increasingly comfy to rest upon. And my favorite pjs have been lying to me all this time.)
Sure, I could blame it on my addiction to late night carbs, and a propensity for stationary contemplation (i.e. reading, watching, eating, waiting) throughout the day, but those are just symptoms of a much bigger issue.
And I’d rather blame the children, because homeschooling is making me fat.
My husband said so. Afterall, he bought me the Fitbit and obviously knew it would to tell me what he wouldn’t dare. Smart man. Okay, in all honesty I asked for a Fitbit a while back (but I didn’t think he was listening), so really it is I who suspected that homeschooling is making me fat and I just needed evidentiary support.
*Disclaimer: For anyone ready to scroll to the bottom of this post and tell me how homeschooling isn’t the problem, and maybe I should get up and play with my kids more, I’ll say this:
-This is my whine-fest. Get your own glass.
-I’ll blame whatever I want. Gosh!
-If I “played” with my kids anymore I’d just get fatter in front of their computer screen.
-Yeah well, you’re ugly.
(If you teach P.E. at 3 different co-ops or run a 5k every weekend for community service points, this post isn’t for you, but feel free to laugh along from your fit and galloping high horse. P.S. I bet you look legit in your yoga pants.)
Unless you are weird and unsocialized, you probably know that the Fitbit app/watch counts steps. Specifically, steps you make with your feet. Unfortunately, Fitbit doesn’t count the steps you take in teaching long division or diagramming sentences. If it did, the Olympic track team would be dominated by homeschool moms.
Like strapping a toddler to your wrist to nag you every hour on the hour, this new needy device actually vibrates and says things like, “Take me for a walk!” and “Feed me 75 steps!” if you’ve been idle for too long.
And this happens way more often than I imagined it would.
I thought I was a fairly active gal?! Like, I’m not about to enter any half marathons or anything, but I’m always busy. We’re always working on something, going somewhere, hurrying to the next activity, looking for something a boy child lost…
Or we’re out buying groceries. Again.
But all these things are mostly mental marathons. And I am exhausted. Yet my butt apparently isn’t.
I blame the children. They’ve gotten fantastically self-sufficient. They can put away laundry, use the microwave, mow the yard, and they no longer need me to take them to the potty 7 times a day, pour them a bowl of cereal then mop the floor beneath them, or cut their fingernails while they flail and hiss. They have gotten too old for hide-and-seek with mom. Nature walks are for nerds and old people.
But the biggest reason homeschooling is making me fat is…
Academic Pursuit is a Stationary Exercise
We sometimes try to be That Homeschool Family they promise in the pretty blogs and brochures at convention. You know, the fall nature walking families who canoe on Golden Pond every evening and help weed community gardens for fun.
When we first started homeschooling we worked hard not to mimic the established classroom setup. We read books standing on our heads, held science discussions in the treehouse, we people watched at the park and library to meet the citizenship requirement.
And then the kids got bigger and so did the books, but with less pictures and smaller lettering, which in turn made it harder to read without getting carsick on our way to use the astronomically priced, and yet best bargain, family museum membership.
If ambition were measured in Starbuck’s sizes, my two oldest have triple shot Venti aspirations. Because of this we are home more at a desk or a computer, or at the very most still upside down reading a book.
Then, when we are finished homeschooling on steroids, we’re out of the house doing all the active things, right? Sports, music, more music, more sports, cotillion, birthday parties…we are so active!
Scratch that. They are so active.
But what about mom? Like I told you, homeschool is making me fat.
Fit Homeschool Mom Relativity
What is mom doing all this time that the kids are pumping neurons, muscles and high school transcripts?
She’s in her elastic-waist pants comfortably waiting to grade math. She probably tried getting some things done around the house. Heck may have even tried using the bathroom in peace and getting dressed, but the kids time their requests for help at a steady 7-10 mins apart ensuring she’ll just give up and sit waiting for the next onslaught of need.
She is hastily throwing a load of laundry in a basket and hoping to empty the dishwasher next. But her meager plans for movement are thwarted when the next paper to be edited is tossed in her lap.
Theory of Homeschool Mom Relativity:
As the kids age and their academic demand increases, so does the surface area of the homeschool mom’s rear end.
And thus, homeschooling is making me fat. See it’s basically science. I may enter the homeschool science fair this year.
But we can fight back in the battle of the bulge. There are steps we can take…
Step into Reality
10,000 steps to be exact. This is roughly 5 miles, 30 minutes of exercise, and the number of steps per day that the CDC recommends for a healthy lifestyle.
Turns out, the days I am most tired and feel I have completed a homeschool pilgrimage starting at Algebra and trudging over the finish line of bedtime reading, I’ve actually taken the fewest steps of the week. What the…, right?!
Exactly what I said. Homeschooling is making me fat. I really should add this to the 10 Things I Hate About Homeschooling.
Days we don’t do school work, or those magical days when outside activities get canceled, I get more steps logged. There’s time to pick up all the crap laying around the house, cook real food and not slam a frozen one dish wonder into the oven, take the husband and dog for a walk, and then…
I find myself looking at my Fitbit watch a pathological number of times.
I’ve started marching in place while brushing my teeth to get this darn Fitbit to count up for me. Yesterday I hopped up and down just to get it to the firework display for reaching a goal. I almost couldn’t part with it on a special night at a decade themed party, except my outfit wasn’t the cat’s pajamas with a Fitbit on my flapper arm.
I may not have the personality type to wear one of these without lapsing into psychosis.
Through obsessive calculation, I have determined that there are about 16 steps from our laundry room to my boys’ rooms. If I make 312.5 roundtrips looking for lost socks, I’ll get my steps in for the day.
Did you know that a Fitbit can also track your heart rate, sleep patterns, caloric intake/output, menstrual cycle, hydration, weight, hair length, mood, 401K, and when you’re out of coffee?
Fun Fact: When your heart rate rises Fitbit records it as time in the cardio zone. I actually burned fat yelling at my children this week! Who knew?
All these items tracked on a Fitbit, apart from maybe your heart rate, can be manipulated via the app on your smartphone. Which is basically an expensive way to keep tabs on the number of lies you tell yourself.
Therefore, we mustn’t rely on technological jewelry to keep us looking hot, mommas. Technology is probably largely responsible for the state of things anyway.
That and the fact that homeschooling will make you fat, unless…
Creative Movements for Homeschool Moms
The Fitbit has shown me I’m not active enough. But it has also reminded me that folding laundry counts as steps, which burns calories, which burns fat, which decreases the size of a muffin top and prolongs life with these trolls I love to live and learn alongside.
We homeschool moms must get creative to keep moving as the kids get older, more involved in activities they need a taxi ride to, more independent, touchier and too smart mouthed to enjoy their company on a long walk, and less appreciative of our cool dance moves when chaperoning cotillion.
The first step away from the coffee pot is the hardest. Once I get moving I feel better. The day often goes better. Attitudes improve. Okay, maybe just mine, but I can handle the sharp edges of the day with greater restraint feeling I have at least met one of my goals, even if we don’t get to the discussion part of literature that day.
Possible Ways to Get Moving:
- Take a 10-minute stroll several times a day. There is no reason we can’t take a stroll around the block while the kids fix themselves second breakfast. We have a vegetable sprayer on the sink, which is basically a fire extinguisher with an unlimited tank.
- Don’t just wait. Pace. When we drive the kid to martial arts or ukulele practice there’s no unwritten rule that says we must wait in the car sipping lattes and reading Facebook. Walk around the park down the road or pace back and forth worrying about high school transcripts.
- Don’t be so organized and efficient. If you must go back in the house 15 times before you find all the things you needed for the field trip, it may appear you need some jellyfish oil. But hey, you’re burning calories!
- Get more pets, 4H projects, or farm animals. We all know who really takes care of the family pets. Dogs can pester the tennis shoes right onto your feet for a walk. Or at the very least, have you up opening the front door and only momentarily hoping they get carried off by an owl after barking like a banshee in the middle of the night.
- Just say no. To the couch. After lessons are complete and the bonbons are calling. Grab those sweet chocolate goodies and eat them while marching in place or while on another 10-minute walk for sanity after math with the Hard-Headed Child.
But seriously, just move. Find a way. Even the smallest of efforts add up over time. Part of taking care of our families is taking care of ourselves so that we’ll be around and healthy enough to tell our grandkids of our magical powers and the stories of their weird homeschooled parents.
Don’t let homeschool make you fat.
Year to year we must change our ways of staying active as often as we change curriculum. Homeschoolers have enough stereotypes to deal with already. Let’s not add another.
Happy stepping, y’all.