Thursday, October 6, 2016

An Open letter to the mom of twins at the grocery store (or any mom for that fact)

To the mom with baby twins at the store:

I see you in the store. Tired. Fighting hard to get a cart with a double seat because you know it is your only chance to shop if you get it. Most people don't think about those double seats.

I know what you are thinking.

You see the mom with one child and you think how easy it looks. She smiles. She has time to laugh, play with her munchkin, enjoy shopping and even price match.

You feel like you are in a constant tangle with little hands and you do it on half empty, with your head slightly buzzed from lack of sleep.

I see you.

I know you don't see me. You are afraid to make eye contact. You don't want to be judged. Or you may not want to hear one more person say "It looks like you got your hands full." or "Are they identical?" That would slow your shopping trip and your children will only last a moment before one poops, one cries, one screams or all of the above or even all of the above times two.

To you I look like just another gawker. Someone adoring your sweet, little, messy faced twins. But I am only remembering my own. I won't stop you, I won't talk to you, I am just thinking...

Good job mom.

Imaginary fist bump from one twin mom to another.

You did it today.

They are breathing, you are breathing. Good job

You were never meant to be perfect. In fact, it is just the opposite. We are meant to be flawed, but to show them how to be flawed and still function and move forward day after day.

Good job mom. You are a champion. It is hard, and the only other people who understand how hard are other twin moms who have fought the same battle.

It does get easier I promise. It is hard to see now. You feel like you should be grateful for these days but they are so tiring that you can't even enjoy them most of the time and you feel guilty about that too. Its okay.

They do become friends. You get to sit outside their door at night and listen to them talk when they don't know you are listening. You see them defend each other on the playground. You'll see them hurt inside when the other one is hurt, its sad but also strangely magical.

Right now you feel guilty because you can't give either one of them "all of you". You feel like they are getting cheated out of having all-the-attention of their mom when as babies that should be their right, but they have to share you.

That is true.

But there is also something else- They get something precious instead.

Even when you are gone they will have each other. The relationship that bonds them in infancy is unique, lasting and protective. It expands and continues into something incredible. It's their relationship as a twin. Their love for each other will last even past you.

Their little battles that they face every day, the fighting over the same toys, for example. It is tiring, but the truth is they learn negotiation and relationship skills as infant twins that most people don't learn in an entire life time. It takes most of us several years of marriage to learn skills that a twin masters while they are young.

Their relationship-crash-course is intense. It is hard on the mom and sometimes hard on them but the rewards are incredible, real and long lasting. They learn to love, to share, and to be apart of a unit instead of just existing from the very beginning. As humans we thrive when we are apart of something bigger then ourselves. Twins are that from the day they are born. More than just themselves.

Good job mom.

You are making it.

One foot in front of the other. You can do it!

One day you to will be pushing an empty cart, in a grocery store while watching a mom of twins. Your double seats will be empty while not fighting what seems like a sea of hands that grab unwanted items or provide endless distraction.

You won't be judgmental, because somehow twin motherhood seems to drag all that out of you, you will instead watch with wonder.

You will think...

 "Wow! Did I really do that? How in the world did I make it?"

"That mom. She is doing awesome. Good job mom. You're making it!"

"Imaginary fist bump. From one twin mom to another."

-Susan Chapman

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

4 Simple yet Impactful New Years Resolutions for Fit Family Eating

Recently new dietary guidelines were published urging Americans to make small shifts towards healthier eating patterns. Since it is January, the month of New Years resolutions, I want to write a post about 4 simple yet impactful family shifts or changes that can lead families to better eating.

Display a fruit bowl
Make a goal to purchase and display a fruit bowl for your family in a high traffic location. It is what we call "mommy advertising". Businesses spend billions of dollars a year on advertising. They know that even if a consumer does not stop and think about an advertisement consciously they will still subconsciously absorb the message and are more likely to buy a product or service in the future.

As parents we can take a lesson from the big guys and apply this to our family as well. A delicious fruit bowl displayed in the middle of a counter or table is a type of advertising for healthy eating and alters our family environment for the better. Family members will eventually give into the healthy fruits that call to them from the fruit bowl. Remember to think small for small mouths and appealing not appalling. Buy fruits that scream delicious and will tempt even the unhealthiest eaters.

Drink more water
Yes, yes we all know we can be better at this. However, drinking more water is a shift that is very impactful since it not only can replace bad habits but will immediately improve our health within only a few hours of implementing it. Carrying a water bottle will help satisfy cravings and offer a physical substitute for people that always feel like they need to be bending their elbows as they do with constant snacking.

Get more sleep
Did you know that sleep affects your hunger hormones? Studies show that lack of sleep will increase grehlin (your hunger hormone) and decrease Leptin (you full hormone). So in other words if you lack sleep not only will you be hungrier but it will take you longer to get full which the perfect formula for overeating! So get 7-10 hours of sleep as an adult and you will feel the difference in your waist line.

Offer a pre-cut, afterschool or pre-meal veggie tray
This is the best kept secret of some of the fittest families. Having a tray full of pre-cut vegetables during the times of your family's greatest hunger attacks is a sneaky way to help them eat better. If your family is like mine they swarm and circle the kitchen like sharks as I am either cooking dinner or right after school or church. In these moments I need to buy more time for meal preparation and I don't mind if they spoil their appetite as they are waiting on red peppers, carrots, celery, crisp green beans or other fresh vegetables. Have these pre-cut in advance and bring them out in a moments notice. This practice will help your family steer away from other easy grabs like crackers or slices of bread.

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