1. Life & Culture

Parenting: Making moves to combat habits brought on by stress

The past two months have been full of challenges at home.
Lynn Cristina is a Wesley Chapel mom with two girls and works full time as a marketing manager.
Lynn Cristina is a Wesley Chapel mom with two girls and works full time as a marketing manager. [ Courtesy of Lynn Cristina ]
Published May 20, 2020

I picked the wrong year to quit stress eating.

The past two months have been full of challenges. I am doing my best to rise to the occasion. As a mother, I am juggling parenting, teaching, working, meal-prepping and cleaning the house simultaneously.

Now I can to add executive assistant to the task list. The girls are obsessed with building forts, and I find myself making breakfast and placing it at the fort entrance before I run down Ella’s list of deadlines and Zoom meetings for the day.

Parents are trying not to have emotional breakdowns during these times. So how do we cope? Since day drinking while at home with your kids is frowned upon, many of us are taking timeouts in the form of hiding.

Moms are seeking refuge in the bathroom. Or maybe you are crying in the closet, or stuffing your face in the pantry, a.k.a. stress eating. I am guilty of this one. I can’t touch my face, but I am good at launching food into it.

Sure, I am biking every day, but a leisurely morning bike ride is no match for the kitchen raid that happens in the afternoon. It occurs after a difficult math lesson, or some type of stressful encounter with my child. Instead of taking my frustrations out on my daughter, I break free for a few minutes to eat a cookie or five. This mindless snacking adds up quickly. The next thing you know, you have packed on the “quarantine fifteen.”

When your youngest child is 4 years old yet you find yourself desperately searching for that last pair of maternity pants you saved to accommodate your growing food baby, it’s time to admit there is a problem. I knew I needed to get moving, but the final straw came when Adriana said to my mother: “Grandma, guess what, Mommy’s belly jiggles when she laughs, like Santa."

Thanks, kid.

I moved P.E. inside and made it family yoga time. I decided to lower the bar in an effort to manage my own expectations and keep my kids busy for 30 minutes. They were excited to work out with me and quickly grabbed the yoga mats, weights and bottled water. I found an easy kids yoga video on YouTube that I felt confident I could do.

The sweet, energetic instructor threw some hard stuff at us. I was having a difficult time contorting my body into different poses. I can’t see my toes much less touch them, so clearly I was at a disadvantage. I bombed preschool yoga.

My little workout partners were trying to remain supportive, but I saw the doubt in their faces. That is, until I found a little gem targeted at more mature women: a 10-minute aerobic workout we could do without weights.

I cranked up the volume.

“Mom, what in the world is this the music, it is horrible,” my child said.

I know, kids. That’s because these are Mommy’s jams. Say hello to Madonna and Chaka Khan.

My children abandoned me, but I made it through the workout and started to feel a little better about myself. I used to be a gym rat and now my maximum workout effort is led by someone with leg warmers. Clearly, I have a long way to go.

We all must start somewhere. My current hobby of eating a lot and complaining about my weight really isn’t working for me. It’s time to put down the margarita and get on the mat.