I started on this journey pretty much the day after Christmas '09. Before that I was a health conscience mom in many ways but admittedly I was falling short on getting my kids enough exercise. I drove them to soccer practice and I drove them to swim club, but I didn't attack fitness on a daily basis like I should have. Fast forward to today. Our whole family is much more active now, I walk the kids to school (weather permitting), we run/walk to soccer practice, they are in the swim club again so I've committed to taking them to practice plus 2 extra swims during the week, we go to the park more and we routinely walk to places we used to drive to. They are in much better shape than they were this time last year, and so am I. However as I've tried to increase our activity level and be creative with it, I've come up against a few roadblocks I never would have expected. And it occurred to me that this is KEY to how our society has become so obese. It needs to change for all our sakes. For the most part I agree that you have to make this journey without being forced, but it was a very sad moment when I realized that I'm trying to make it happen for my family, yet I seem to be a very odd duck to the population in general.
I just wanted to share some of the obstacles I've come up against and I think paying attention to these things and working to change them is key in this war against obesity we need to wage here in the States.
While my kids are at soccer practice I walk around the field. I cannot tell you the rude comments I've overheard from other parents dissing me. Seriously? They all get that kids need exercise, meanwhile they spend the entire hour of Soccer practice sitting and complaining about all sorts of medical issues and sleep deprivation and where they are stopping to grab dinner on the way home. Good grief. The funniest part is that the kids always have to run and dribble around the field and I chase them and steal their soccer balls. Me, a 40 something year old housewife, imagine that.
My oldest DD wanted to go to a football game on Saturday morning. I normally lift weights at the fitness center on Saturday's so this was sort of knocking into my usual exercise schedule. So I said to her that I would take her if we could walk up there and if I could walk the track around the football field while she watched the game. Okay this isn't the NFL, it's 4th grade football, and the tickets are free. Technically the track is open to the pubic during daylight hours and the stands are elevated about 6'-0" above the track. I was very careful to walk next to the stands so I would not block the view of any spectators. I in fact was also watching the game and cheering on our team. About 6 laps in to a 30 lap walk a pair of rather large men approached me and told me that I couldn't walk the track during a football game and that I had to leave.
Excuse me? I'm a tax payer in this community and not only did I vote to build the track I've paid for part of it. But not wanting to make waves I walked around the sidewalk on the outside of the track until I finished. I complained to a couple of the moms sitting near my dd, but that was it. Well word of that altercation some how or another reached the ears of the superintendents wife, who was shocked and ticked off to no end, she also happens to be in fantastic shape. Needless to say the public is now welcome to walk the track during any event save a track meet.
Yesterday morning I took my kiddos to the pool for the Early Bird Lap Swim at the Community Center which happens to be located at the local High School. It was great and they love it. I know that it sounds crazy to take the kids swimming at 6:30am, but the deal is the kids have to get everything ready the night before and they have to be out the door by a certain time or we don't go. It's amazing what a little motivation does for that "get ready for school" routine. As we were getting dressed to leave the dd's and I were accosted in the locker room by a pair of senior citizens. They were incensed that I would bring my children to "Senior Lap Swim" and that I better not do it again. Excuse me? I very politely explained that we have a family membership and therefore welcome to use the facilities anytime the pool is open. Believe me when I say they were downright rude to us. The funniest part was that one of them said, "This is and always has been Senior Swim and you are clearly no Senior". If I hadn't been so angry I might have laughed, I'm really not that far from being a senior...
The schedule clearly states that 6:30am-9:30am is "Early Bird Lap Swim", and the girls and I were swimming laps, and in parenthesis right next to those words are very tiny letters that say (Seniors Swim Free), and that is why some folks refer to it as "Senior Swim". The saddest part is that here I am, trying to teach my children to have healthy lifestyles, basically to aspire to be fit and active for life... sort of like those two mean ladies in the locker room. Yet I'm treated like dirt for it. Talk about ironic.