Me Time Part 2: Stay in Shape

The toughest thing about being a mom – or at least the thing that my friends and I complain most about – is staying in shape. There’s no time; it’s too hard to get to the gym or yoga studio – or I waste money because I never go; there’s no privacy. I’m here to argue that it’s so important for your sanity, that you need to make time. It’s not an option to do nothing. What follows is my simple fix.

I have four things I try to rotate on a regular basis (and I’m not suggesting you try all four, but just for options):  yoga, dance, strength training, and things for flexibility or stretching.

My rule of thumb is simplify!  I do most of my exercises in my bedroom. I wear as little as possible (so I can see my muscles at work), add some music and let it rip. It is me time with the aim of being disrupted as little as possible.  Of course, this rarely happens, but as we say in yoga, it helps me to stay “On the mat” – which means stay focused.  I used to stop what I was doing when they burst through the door, but I have learned to keep going and they either camp out on my bed and watch or even join in.


I use a blank wall for balance exercises and my dresser like a ballet barre, and the small space around my bed for everything else. Sometimes I focus on resistance training basics – you know, those exercises we all used to hate (and still do!)—I do as many sit-ups as my abs can handle, 10 pushups and about 120 leg lifts and lunges on each side. We have a pull up bar installed in our bedroom doorway, and I do 6 pull ups.  Of course, butt exercises are a must.

Always push yourself – easy to say; hard to do. But try to always increase the reps.  When you do pushups, start with ten and add one more every other day.   The same for plies and planks and any other exercise in your routine. Mix it up.  And most importantly, breathe. If you are holding a difficult pose, picture it as one of life’s challenges.  Picture the air intake enveloping the muscle group you’re working on and use it to breathe out as a stronger woman.

Remember to use your workout time as your time. Let your kids see you taking care of yourself, there is no need to hide behind a locked door or stow them in childcare at the gym all the time. My kids see me dance in the kitchen when I’m putting dishes away. I read vogue while sitting in pigeon pose. When you integrate simple activity like this into your daily routine, and stagger it throughout the day, you give your metabolism and mood a boost. And, you don’t let a lack of time (or money) be your only excuse to getting the strength and endurance you want to feel great.

At the very end of the day, unwind in a tub of epsom salts, stretch out and massage your sore muscles in the warm water. You’re worth it after all!

Your Simple Fitness Guru,

So Called Mom

Let Them Quit School

I’ve decided to homeschool Pascal because school was getting in the way of her extracurricular activities. 

This became especially apparent after her birthday a few months ago, when we got her a skateboard—something she has been coveting for over a year.
Now skateboarding has taken over her life—and mine. We are at the skate park everyday, for 4 or 5 hours at a time, and since we are heading into beautiful summer weather, that is about to increase. But even now, this is a lot of time to be spending skateboarding daily—and since it has become the center of her being, I’m honoring it.
I just think that if a kid becomes completely absorbed by a talent and skill, it is up to this So Called Mom to remove the obstacles that prevent them from going over the top with it.

I mean, let them get eaten alive by their passion, right?

There are no people with success stories that say, I loved to do XYZ, but I was in school and had oodles of homework for 15 hours a day, and that’s what I have to thank for my success. No way. Everything, including education, needs to take a backseat to skateboarding from now on, and it will.

I have come to the realization that, at this point, school is the thing that is holding her back the most, so why not ditch it?

I know Pascal is driven by this new passion because not only can I see it in her eyes—it is deeper in that. There is this fiery competition that exists with herself—and that will be the golden ticket to her own success story. What other motivation could possibly get a kid to dive into a swimming pool with no water like this? It’s coming from within. I just know she is asking herself: Is she better than the Pascal that skated yesterday? If not, she skates longer and pushes herself harder. There are days where I wait in the van in the parking lot, while she skates in the park by herself in the freezing cold rain, falling hard— over and over again. I’ve learned to keep a small first aid kid in my purse.
We started an online curriculum, not because it had raving reviews or a perfect selection of learning materials—but because it was simple and she could get it out of the way faster. Basically, so long as she is passing her classes, I’m not worried. As a side, she did skip a grade a few years ago and her comprehension is at the next grade level, and she is learning Swedish (on top of her second language French) so if she did fall back, she would still be on target.

And, if it was possible to quit school altogether, I’d probably let her.

Kids are natural at learning and being inquisitive—I don’t believe in force feeding education at all.

For Pascal, the real education is coming from four wheels, moving fast, on concrete. She is learning all about herself and that kind of development cannot be achieved in a classroom setting, I don’t care what kind of school it is. There is no amount of instruction that can ever come close to what she is getting on her own out there, right now. So, if I can cut the ties to any barriers that prevent her dream from being a reality, I will—and I have.

It is my job to not push her, but to let her push herself.

Aiding and abetting,
So Called Mom