As many of you may know, I joined the staff of LiveWell Colorado in May as the communications manager. Part of my duties in this role include curating content for the LiveWell Moms blog, managing our Facebook group and creating our monthly enewsletter, MOMentum. Having been here a little over a month, I'm knee deep—perhaps more—in the weeds of figuring it all out, but can say with certainty that I am excited be at LiveWell Colorado and can't wait to get to know all of you.
Besides being new at LiveWell Colorado, I'm a new mom, too. I gave birth to my first child, a little girl, on January 4 of this year. And though I've been blessed with what I consider to be an easy baby, I'm also knee deep (or maybe just in over my head and not willing to admit it) in figuring out everything that being a mom encompasses.
Those of you who have walked this path before me certainly understand. It's more than just the never-ending stream of dirty diapers and dirty laundry. It's finding the balance between being a working mom and finding time (or not) to work out. It's the tightrope act of wanting to fit back into my pre-pregnancy clothes and needing to maintain my milk supply. And, perhaps most importantly, it's the tendency to reevaluate everything through the lens of how it will affect my daughter.
That last one is really important to me. Being a philosophical and future-oriented individual, my last five months—despite being more than somewhat sleep-deprived—have been spent having conversations with my husband about who we want to be as a family. Not just what our values will be, but how those will play themselves out in our everyday family rhythms.
Take, for example, music. My husband and I both place a high value on music being a part of our lives (meeting in a choir might have something to do with this). We firmly believe in the many benefits that come with learning to read and play music, and eventually our daughter will be encouraged to choose an instrument to learn to play. Right now, though, this means we sing to her all of the time. We have good morning songs. We have good night songs. And, at a mere 24 weeks old, my baby girl has already identified her favorite (The Lion Sleeps Tonight) and her least-favorite (Yellow Submarine) songs.
Healthy eating and active living are also important values for us, yet ones that we have struggled to prioritize over the years. But there's nothing like having a baby to put the importance of your health into perspective: I want to be here, in good health, to celebrate her 70th birthday. Even more, I want her to celebrate her 110th birthday in good health. But how do we make that happen?
Right now, it means committing to cooking more, from scratch, at home. And it means making our somewhat regular family walks become regular family walks and runs and hikes. It also means looking down the road a bit and advocating for healthy changes in schools, because before I know it (and can even imagine right now), she'll be in school. It means advocating for changes in our neighborhood and community, too, because I want her to grow up in an environment where making the healthy choice is increasingly easier, not harder.
The road ahead, both for me as a parent and for LiveWell Colorado as an organization committed to preventing and reducing obesity in Colorado, isn't any easy one. As a mom, envisioning the future that my daughter will have—a healthy, active life filled with good music—makes the current tasks less difficult. Similarly, when we all envision the future that our state could have, it is easier to focus on the roles we play right now. In both efforts, I look forward to sharing the journey with you.
Photo: Tanya and her daughter cheer on the Vanderbilt Commodores in their appearance in the 2014 College World Series.