Want to let go of your ‘plan’? Become a mother

Parenting doesn’t just mean making plans; it also means leaving space, having patience, and showing compassion for everything else that happens.

Want to let go of your ‘plan’? Become a mother
?: Lindsey Ray @sheislindseyray

Every part of my eight-year-old son’s existence was planned. Except for the fact that he is, and will remain, an only child.

By choice, my husband and I were married for nine years before becoming parents, simply because we had things to accomplish first. I earned my Bachelor of Arts degree and became an elementary school teacher. We increased our savings account. We became a two-car family. We moved into a larger apartment. We took my dream trip to Paris.

When all the “must do’s” became “have done’s,” we planned for my pregnancy by working backwards. I added up the amount of time I’d receive for maternity leave, my unused sick days, and my summer vacation. With that knowledge, I knew when I wanted our baby to be born so that’s how I knew when I would need to conceive.


Like clockwork, I became pregnant shortly after we began trying. My son was born at the end of March, allowing me to be with him full-time until September, when the new school year began.

But for all our planning, we were unprepared for the strain and tension that being parents would place on our marriage. Because of it, we decided that, most likely, we wouldn’t have any other children, because we didn’t know if our marriage would survive another child.

But then I became sick, and the final decision was made for us.

For over a year, doctors tried to diagnose my “mystery ailment.” There were scary possibilities that were eventually ruled out including muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, leukemia, and cancer. We stopped considering whether we’d try to get pregnant again. Instead we were trying to find out if I’d live to see our son grow up.

A rheumatologist finally diagnosed me with a rare autoimmune disease called Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disorder. It wasn’t fatal, but it was chronic. And while it wasn’t life-ending, it was life-changing. I was placed on medications to try and control the symptoms. Medications that prohibited a pregnancy.

Over the years, I have found that there are parallels to being pregnant and living with a chronic medical condition. To a large extent, my body is out of my control.

There’s only so much I can do about how I feel or how my body reacts to something. I have regular doctors visits. Folic acid has become a pill I take again (to serve as a preventative means against side effects of a strong medication).

But unlike our most-wanted, most planned pregnancy, this disease was neither planned nor wanted.

And though I planned on my pregnancy, I haven’t been able to plan large parts of my son’s childhood. The fact that he would be considered a “late walker” -- not conquering that milestone until after he was a year and a half old. The fact that when my son started preschool it would be an incredibly difficult transition for him, resulting in hours of crying. The fact that, starting in first grade, he would need glasses.

And all these facts have taught me that plans are important, but as John Lennon so famously said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

Parenting doesn’t just mean making plans; it also means leaving space, having patience, and showing compassion for everything else that happens.

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    These challenges from Nike PLAYlist are exactly what my child needs to stay active

    Plus a fall family bucket list to keep everyone moving all season long.

    While it's hard to name anything that the pandemic hasn't affected, one thing that is constantly on my mind is how to keep my family active despite spending more time indoors. Normally, this time of year would be spent at dance and gymnastics lessons, meeting up with friends for games and field trips, and long afternoon playdates where we can all let off a little steam. Instead, we find ourselves inside more often than ever before—and facing down a long winter of a lot more of the same.

    I started to search for an outlet that would get my girls moving safely while we social distance, but at first I didn't find a lot of solutions. Online videos either weren't terribly engaging for my active kids, or the messaging wasn't as positive around the power of movement as I would like. Then I found the Nike PLAYlist.

    I always knew that Nike could get me moving, but I was so impressed to discover this simple resource for parents. PLAYlist is an episodic sports show on YouTube that's made for kids and designed to teach them the power of expressing themselves through movement. The enthusiastic kid hosts immediately captured my daughter's attention, and I love how the physical activity is organically incorporated in fun activities without ever being specifically called out as anything other than play. For example, this segment where the kids turn yoga into a game of Paper Scissors Rock? Totally genius. The challenges from #TheReplays even get my husband and me moving more when our daughter turns it into a friendly family competition. (Plus, I love the play-inspired sportswear made just for kids!)

    My daughter loves the simple Shake Ups at the beginning of the episode and is usually hopping off the couch to jump, dance and play within seconds. One of her favorites is this Sock Flinger Shake Up activity from the Nike PLAYlist that's easy for me to get in on too. Even after we've put away the tablet, the show inspires her to create her own challenges throughout the day.

    The best part? The episodes are all under 5 minutes, so they're easy to sprinkle throughout the day whenever we need to work out some wiggles (without adding a lot of screen time to our schedule).

    Whether you're looking for simple alternatives to P.E. and sports or simply need fun ways to help your child burn off energy after a day of socially distanced school, Nike's PLAYlist is a fun, kid-friendly way to get everyone moving.

    Need more movement inspiration for fall? Here are 5 ways my family is getting up and getting active this season:

    1. Go apple picking.

    Truly, it doesn't really feel like fall until we've picked our first apple. (Or had our first bite of apple cider donut!) Need to burn off that extra cinnamon-sugar energy? Declare a quick relay race up the orchard aisle—winner gets first to pick of apples at home.

    To wear: These Printed Training Tights are perfect for when even a casual walk turns into a race (and they help my daughter scurry up a branch for the big apples).

    2. Visit a pumpkin patch.

    We love to pick up a few locally grown pumpkins to decorate or cook with each year. Challenge your child to a "strongman" contest and see who can lift the heaviest pumpkin while you're there.

    To wear: Suit up your little one in comfort with this Baby Full Zip Coverall so you're ready for whatever adventures the day brings.

    3. Have a nature scavenger hunt.

    Scavenger hunts are one of my favorite ways to keep my daughter preoccupied all year long. We love to get outside and search for acorns, leaves and pinecones as part of our homeschool, but it's also just a great way to get her exercising those gross motor skills whenever the wiggles start to build up.

    To wear: It's not truly fall until you break out a hoodie. This cozy Therma Elite Kids Hoodie features a mesh overlay to release heat while your child plays.

    4. Have a touch-football game.

    Tip for parents with very little kids: It doesn't have to last as long as a real football game. 😂 In fact, staging our own mini-games is one of our favorite ways to get everyone up and moving in between quarters during Sunday football, and I promise we all sleep better that night.

    To wear: From impromptu games of tag to running through our favorite trails, these kids' Nike Air Zoom Speed running shoes are made to cover ground all season long.

    5. Create an indoor obstacle course.

    Pretending the floor is lava was just the beginning. See how elaborate your personal course can get, from jumping on the couch to rolling under the coffee table to hopping down the hallway on one foot.

    To wear: These ready-for-any-activity Dri-FIT Tempo Shorts are perfect for crawling, hopping and racing—and cuddling up when it's time to rest.

    This article was sponsored by Nike. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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