Monday, February 1, 2016

Tips for Active Parents

by Gordo Byrn

One of the better parenting tips I have received is to never compare my inside life with someone’s outer appearance. However, in looking at my family’s outside, I’d say they’re doing well. With three kids under six, we must be doing something right.

Six things that have helped me maintain my athletic sanity follow.

  1. Belong to the health club with the best childcare in the city. We know parents that belong to multiple clubs, just for the childcare benefit.

  2. Get the kids used to being without you early in their lives. Our kids learned to be away from their mom (initially for 60 to 90 minutes) by the time they were 13 months old. The first month saw a lot of screaming, but it gave all of us the option to use “known strangers” for childcare. It’s also proven beneficial as babies have transitioned to toddlers and then preschoolers.

  3. Make it easy to exercise with your kids.
    • For gear, we have: Baby Bjorn, Single Baby Jogger, Double Baby Jogger and Double Bike Trailer. On my watchlist are a Weehoo bike trailer and tandem bike.
    • “Training” is now about offering the kids a wide range of activities: our five-year old’s schedule includes indoor climbing, swim team, swim lesson, indoor soccer and gymnastics. The only way we can achieve this, for her, is to be willing to train less for ourselves.
    • Boulder has a great bike park with picnic area -- that’s a summer/fall activity for us. The long-term payoff is if I can get a bike-partner for my runs.

  4. When your kids are young, focus your life on health, rather than performance. I think that I might be getting there. To be strong and healthy requires far less time investment than to be “fit and fast.” Although this doesn’t eliminate the temptation to blame my family for time constraints, it greatly reduces time conflicts.
  5. A focus on health aligns my time commitments with my spouse. I see many couples in our sport where one partner abdicates responsibility for their health to dedicate themselves to the athletic performance of the other spouse. There is no honor in letting a person you love forsake their health.

  6. All of the above mean that I race less. That’s okay with me as the key benefits from exercise come from the doing, not the showing.

With my work at hospice, I’ve yet to meet anyone who regrets spending time with their kids. The challenge is getting the balance right.

Choose wisely.

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