Those super-skinny celebrity moms--the Courteney Coxes, the Gwyneth Paltrows, the Angelina Jolies--are always saying that running after kids all day is what keeps them thin. If they didn't have nannies helping them out all the time, I'd be inclined to believe them, given my own experiences. I mean, who else can eat chocolate and ice cream on a daily basis and maintain a slender weight, but a stay-at-home mom of small children?
I've had my five-pounds-ups-and-five-pounds-downs over the months and years, believe me--but honestly, I think there's something to the notion of the Busy Mom Diet. (Not to mention the Stress Diet, ha! But that's a whole different diet.) And since I've been overindulging a bit in unhealthy snacks lately, I guess it's a good thing that mothering keeps me going in a million directions (and sometimes pushing a hundred pounds) all day long.
Yesterday the girls and I set out at about 10 a.m. on a mile-long trek to my favorite park. Our plan was to collect nature specimens on the way (just for fun), cavort around the playground once we got there, eat a picnic lunch under a tree, and hike all the way home in time for nap.
Of course I'm not crazy, people; I brought along the double stroller. Any experienced mama knows that you don't expect a three-year-old and a barely-six-year-old to make it two whole miles round-trip via their own two feet. And boy oh boy, you do NOT want to be a mile from home and have one or both of them tell you they just. cannot. walk. another. step. Plus my daughters are small for their age. Their legs are short. I was hedging my bets, you all.
Plus I had a picnic lunch, three water bottles, a picnic blanket, a bag of sand toys, my giant canvas handbag (stuffed with every conceivable need, as mamas' handbags are wont to be), and three plastic dump trucks to tote along as well. Oh, and a gallon Ziploc bag and wooden basket for the girls' two nature collections. What am I, a pack animal? Obviously I needed transportation for my goods.
We made it all the way to the park (with a fair amount of cheerleading toward the end, which was uphill) on foot, with admirable stashes of nature specimens found on our journey. Sure, it was slow going, and took us 45 minutes to get there, but hey--every two feet they had to stop to pick up a rock or leaf.
Once we got there, they were mostly too tired to do much besides play-cook and dig in the gravel with their sand toys and be pushed on the swings. We sat in the shade and sipped ice water for awhile. Genevieve rolled her dump trucks down the slides. Then we ate an early lunch, during which Julia mostly yawned and declared that she would like to "lie down right here on this picnic blanket and take a nap," and we saw a woman ride by the park on a bike with a (real, live) parrot perched on her shoulder. Yes, truly. She biked back a few minutes later so I know we did not imagine it the first time.
The hike back home required much negotiation. We finally agreed that I would push them both the rest of the way home (about .7 mile) if they would walk from the park down to the bike path (1/3 mile). They did it, and then I loaded a combined 72 pounds of children into a stroller stuffed with the above-mentioned gear and pushed it all the rest of the way home under a blazing noonday sun. How much does a loaded double stroller weigh? I figure I had to have been pushing at least 100 pounds of children + stroller that last 7/10ths mile. No wonder I was dripping with sweat when we rolled up our driveway. Needless to say, everyone napped (even me).
Did I mention that Genevieve went on this entire adventure in her pajamas?