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To the SAHM who is ALWAYS working—I see you

Mama, I want you to know that it's not just you.

To the SAHM who is ALWAYS working—I see you

Around this time last year, I accompanied my husband to a dinner hosted by one of his colleagues. I sat amongst a number of highly successful and intelligent women who introduced themselves and talked about their jobs. When it came to my turn, I said, “Oh, I'm just a stay-at-home mom."

As in––I don't have a job.

As in––I don't work.

I'm just a stay-at-home mom.

That statement, and the way I said it, has haunted me ever since. I didn't like the way I shied away from it, like it was something to be embarrassed about.

Because if you're a stay-at-home mom, sometimes it's hard to explain, even to yourself, how it's an incredibly demanding and, at times, difficult occupation. Even though it's not a typical, paid, report-producing, tangible-outcome-providing job.

Mama, I want you to know that it's not just you.

If you've ever gotten to the end of the day feeling sapped of every last ounce of energy, and then looked around and struggled to identify what you actually accomplished that day––it's not just you.

If you've ever felt like any time you have to yourself is colored with the anxiety of a child who might wake up or a task that you still haven't gotten around to completing ––it's not just you.

If you've ever sat on the floor, building blocks or having tea parties with your little ones, and shocked yourself by entertaining thoughts like: "Is this it? Is this my life and all I'm doing with it? Have I wasted my education, my experience, everything I worked towards before I had kids?"––it's not just you.

If you've ever wished that you could, for once, get some kind of report card, performance review, any kind of praise, or even just acknowledgement, for how well you're doing your job––it's not just you.

If you've ever run into an old colleague while you're in less-than-professional attire, with a child hanging off your hip and one in a stroller, and gotten annoyed at yourself for the unexpected embarrassment you felt––it's not just you.

If you've ever craved an intellectual conversation on a topic unrelated to children with another adult, or dressing up in a tailored suit, heels and lipstick––it's not just you.

If you've ever worried about whether you'll truly be able to re-enter the workforce one day, because you're quite certain you've lost everything you once had in your professional arsenal––it's not just you.

If you've ever greeted your husband at the end of the day by immediately handing him a crying baby, or a shrieking toddler, or both, and given him crazy eyes that said, "I'm tapping out for the rest of the evening otherwise I'm going to combust"––it's not just you.

If you've ever just wanted quiet, space, no one touching you, and no one asking you for anything, and then as soon as they're asleep, instantly regretted ever feeling that way ––it's not just you.

And, mama? If you've ever felt like this is absolutely everything you've ever wanted, and you wouldn't trade it for the world ––it's not just you.

If you've never felt more comfortable and content with your place in this season of life than you are right now, knowing that it's a season that will pass you by all too quickly ––it's not just you.

If you've ever had someone react dismissively or awkwardly when you mention that you're a stay-at-home mom, but then you've shrugged it off confidently because you know that this is some of the most valuable work you will ever do ––and yes, it is work––it's not just you.

And you know, truthfully, these thoughts and feelings don't only apply to stay-at-home moms. Whether we stay at home with our kids, work from home, or work outside the home, all of it ––all of it–– is work.

We are all working.

Our roles, in some ways, are different. Our days look different. But while our pressures come from different sources, I guarantee you that some of them will overlap.

We are all working.

We all stay up well past a sensible bedtime because we're trying to catch up on what we couldn't get to during the day. We all lay awake at night because there's always that thing you still need to organize for your child. We all experience the baby who cries out on the crackling monitor at unpredictable times, the toddler who creeps into your room at two in the morning, the fever that has been worrying you because it still hasn't broken, or that developmental or social issue that's been weighing on your mind and heart.

And when you hear the questions that seem to constantly echo in your head: Am I doing the right thing? Am I doing enough? Am I a good mother?

It's not just you.

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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