Updated: Oct 18, 2019
Finding balance in parenting is hard… here are a few tips to make it livable.
Kids. The final frontier. The ultimate “wellness” test… it’s all matcha and butterflies until you have kids.
- You have time to take a bath, rather than be splashed by one.
- You can meal prep rather than pack a lunch box.
- You can burn sage and use essential oils without complaints of “it’s soooo stinky!”
Ahhh, yes… the true barometer of “wellness” is finding balance once the little ones enter the picture. But also… landing on what “balance” means to you with regards to parenting.
You can be at one end of the spectrum: all-organic, anti-vaccine (let’s save that topic for another day!), no preservatives or metals or microtoxins OF ANY KIND EVER hitting their precious little bods!
You can raise them like most of us were raised… on a steady diet of crap-o-la (fast food, anyone??) and generic Crayola crayons that we probably ate at some point (and lived to tell about it).
I like to live somewhere in the middle.
When there is a better-for-you option, I will always feed it to my kids. We shop at natural food markets, enjoy cooking healthy as a family, and introduce our kids to active & mindful living at every juncture.
At the same time… when we’re at a diner and my kid wants chicken fingers and fries, or we’re headed home from the park and he’s craving a slice of pepperoni… IMHO, he’s four years old and he can have some pizza if that’s what he wants, darn it.
I’m never gonna be the mom who forbids pizza or nuggets, because I think it makes your kids rebel later on (though when we have the time, I do prefer a family pizza making night with cauliflower crust + good-for-you toppers!)
Here’s a few of my fave finds and #momhacks to encourage healthful, balanced living with kids:
1) Homemade Food versus Store Bought
The battle rages on… is it entirely necessary to prepare your own baby/toddler food?
The answer is (in my opinion, at least!): much like breastfeeding, you need to do what works best for your life & family.
One fact I do find alarming, however: traditional shelf-stable baby and toddler food can stay on the shelf for up to two years. That’s kind of gross if you ask me - I don’t think your child's food should older than your child.
So homemade food is obviously healthier… but we don’t always have the time to cook it, so I like to find healthy work-arounds.
One brand I’ve partnered with that has helped solve this dilemma is Little Dish, which was the #1 fresh toddler food in the UK and just launched here in the US.
The single-serve meals are made with wholesome, all-natural ingredients that you'd find in your own kitchen and contain no preservatives (pro tip: this means you’ll find ‘em in the refrigerated section of your grocery store... or order on Fresh Direct).
2) Movie Theaters
Why is it when we go to the movies, it’s like all bets are off? Even as a healthy living advocate, I fell into this trap for a long time… I felt like I had a “hall pass” from eating healthy because I was at the movies.
You don’t need to give up just because the air smells like popcorn… and your kids don’t need to fall down a butter popcorn rabbit hole either.
When we go to the theater, I always bring fruit for myself… blueberries are my fave for snacking because they’re so poppable.
For Mason, we bring SmartSweets. They’re sugar-free candy snacks with popular shapes similar to your traditional Swedish Fish or Gummy Bears. Because we’ve always done it, Mason doesn’t even know the difference between that and movie theater candy… in fact, he specifically requests we stop at Whole Foods on the way to get his favorite gummies.
3) Making Fitness & Mindfulness Fun
Ever since he was born, Mason has been our partner in crime on all things wellness.
We LOVE getting outdoors. We take family trips that are active. We’ve had a hiking backpack since he was a baby.
We take him to cheer on the streets during the NYC marathon every year to feel the electricity in the air. He’s run races with the New York Road Runners youth program.
We practice meditation with Mason regularly. He loves it, and we use it as a calming tool when he’s all wound up.
And yes, he gets wound up… because he’s a kid and that’s normal. But because we’re so spiritually minded, we definitely have an additional arsenal of tools in our toolbox.
We talk about gratitude a lot. He has a respect for this type of talk, and even joined us at a Buddhist Monastery last year and sat through a Tibetan Meditation practice. It’s beautiful to see his level of emotional sophistication at the age of four.
4) Finding Balance
The moral of the story is… it’s a daily balancing act. Some days I’m Super-Green-Enviro-Mom, and some days I’m just piecing it all together. My biggest goal at the end of the day is to help him see that healthy living is fun & cool. I don’t want to force it on him, because then he’ll just rebel as soon as he’s old enough… but if we can subtly show him that Mom & Dad look and feel great because they work hard to live fit, clean, mindful lives… well, then, I’ve done my job.