One of my biggest challenges as a parent has always been getting my daughter to be more active. I’m not the kind of mom who forces my daughter to do anything that she doesn’t want to do. She does what makes her happy. That means she gets to spend her free time sewing, painting, and scrapbooking her heart away. But when it comes to keeping her healthy and active, I’m at a loss.
I got her the coolest roller blades that I could find, and my brother and sister got her an enviable Barbie bicycle for her last birthday, but whenever I suggest getting out and riding any of them, she hides behind her sewing machine. One gorgeous day this summer, I broke my own rule and forced her outside on the bike. I brought my bike along, too, and told her that we’d have fun riding in the park together. I was wrong.
We were just half a block away from our house when she started to complain that she was out of breath and her legs hurt. I pushed her to continue until we got to the park (4 blocks away), but by that time she was so red-faced and miserable we just turned around and walked our bikes back.
After asking her to play outside, and being shut down almost every day of the summer, I thought it would be better if I led by example.
I signed up to compete in the Mudderella (a mud run for women) in Pennsylvania. I enlisted my daughter as my coach and included her in all of my training workouts. She would willingly go to the park with me, and even did a few reps of my exercises every now and then. On race day, she cheered me on from the sidelines and jumped up and down with me when I crossed the finish line. I loved the experience, so I started looking into which mud run I wanted to try next.
I came across the Spartan Sprint that my husband wants to compete in with me in 2014. And guess what: They have a course for kids! It’s a 1/2 mile obstacle course for ages 4-8. I asked my daughter, Leeana, if she wanted to compete and she let out an enthusiastic “Yes!” to which my husband rolled his eyes.
“She says yes, but watch what’ll happen when you try to get her to train for it.”
Now I’m not sure if I’d be setting us all up for months of crying while we try family mud run training with the reluctant artist.
If I’m ever going to get her active, I don’t really think I have another option.