Category: Blog

Diary of an Unfit Mother

Yesterday was quite the milestone; I ran five kilometres for the first time since I tried to run after Harry was born, when I started straight back with 10 kilometres and promptly injured myself.  On puffing back to the house, with a stupid degree of pride, I decided it was something worth blogging about: ‘The Diary of an Unfit Mother’; it is only since seeing it in writing on the screen I realise the double entendre associated with such a title.  I hope I am not ‘an unfit mother’, I often worry I am not doing well enough, but believe this is a common affliction for all conscientious parents.  Rather, I am a physically unfit mother.

When I was 30, I weighed 10 stone 4 pounds, give or take a couple; cycled to work every day; went to circuit training at least once a week; ran once or twice a week; and could complete 10 kilometres in under one hour.  I thought I was fat and unfit.  Now, at 35, I weigh 11 stone 4 pounds; I drive to work; am lucky to make yoga once a month; and it takes me 37 minutes to run five kilometres (and this is progress).  I wish I was as fat and unfit as I was five years ago.

In the past five years I have met my husband; moved four times, including to the other end of the country and back; got married; and had two babies within 20 months.  In this time my husband has also had four career changes, including most recently returning to university to do a masters and PhD, while being primary child carer for the above mentioned babies.  We have been busy.

I now find myself not planning any more children; in a job I enjoy, with slightly less antisocial hours than previously; with no other major life events planned; and a stone in weight to lose to get me back to where I should have been happy to be previously.



As Baz Luhrmann said “You are not as fat as you imagine”.  Unfortunately I did not realise this at the time, and now I really am.  I have promised myself however, if I get back to previous ‘fat’ me to be content with that.  I was not happier, but I was healthier and believe there is no reason, other than my lack of self-control and willpower, why I cannot be both happy and healthy.

Post 5k 'selfie

…and now

And so was born ‘The Diary of an Unfit Mother’.  I am writing this for myself, as a reminder of my aims and progress, and in the hope that in the future my children can read it and be proud of me; if anyone else should stumble upon it and gain something from it then that is all good too.  Putting my story, and weight, on the internet makes it real, and I hope will give me focus not to fail.

 As a paediatrician, I know how important weight management and fitness are.  I see overweight children in clinic far more frequently than I would like, invariably accompanied by overweight parents who are either in denial, or oblivious to the damage they are doing those they love the most.  The consequences for children of being overweight are far reaching.  Without even considering the type two diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and other health problems of the future, the psychological effects of being fat in school, and the associated negative self-image, can be irreparable.  I still remember, years ago as an SHO, a consultant raising the topic with a (fat) mother of her child’s obesity.  Her response: “He plays rugby and eats salad, it doesn’t bother him”; at the same time as she was saying this, he threw himself on the bed in floods of tears: not the actions of a child who is not bothered.  Children of smokers are more likely to smoke; children of abusers are more likely to abuse; and children of obese people are more likely to be fat themselves.  This is child abuse, as such there have been children put into care because their parents refuse to stop feeding them.  As a parent, the health and beliefs of our children, although not defined by us, are shaped and guided.  It is our responsibility to set a good example and stop this downward spiral into obesity.

A Lovely Day

Today has been a lovely day.  We haven’t done anything special; I finished my essays at the start of the week so it was the first day when I wasn’t feeling guilty about work that needed doing, which in turn results in guilt about not focusing enough on the children.  Sam went to the library to work, Harry, Isolde and I went for a walk.  They both had shiny new wellies on, the sun was shining and we hunted for dinosaurs and the Gruffalo.  We didn’t find them, but there were plenty of dogs and a horse to keep us entertained.  Then the rain came, Isolde fell over in the mud: Isolde does not like mud!  We went to my parents’ house for a clean-up and some food then came home.  Exhausted they napped; I made chocolate cake; they ate nearly all of their tea, including some vegetables; we had chocolate cake; read a story; they went to bed; I didn’t shout at them, or get stressed at all, all day.

Over the past few days I have heard of two friends of friends, same age as me, diagnosed with cancer.  It shouldn’t take something like this to kick me into gear to appreciate the little things, and make the most of every day but, as I am sure with a lot of people, I forget.  Forget how lucky I am that I, and everyone I love, for now, is healthy; lucky to have two gorgeous children and a wonderful husband; just lucky.  I remembered this morning on our walk, even after the rain and the mud.  What a lovely day.

  • Walking on Kirklees Trail
  • Shiny new welly boots
  • Very chocolaty chocolate cake
  • Hide and seek
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Walking on Kirklees Trail1 Shiny new welly boots2 Very chocolaty chocolate cake3 4 Hide and seek5 A fun day!6 7
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It’s all about what?!

One of the best pieces of advice I received when pregnant with Harry was to write things down.  A friend told me, although vivid in your mind at the time, important memories will blur and dates will fade during the amazing exhaustion that goes with having young children.  So, for the first time in my life I started, and continued, a diary.  I write about the good, the bad and the crazy.  Reading back over the past three years allows me to see clearly all that has been important along each step of the way.

I have nearly reached the end of my first book.  I hope to keep this up but thanks to Sam being a technical wizard, I have decided to start a website.  My idea for the site is to keep all our most important memories, events and ‘things’ logged in a nice virtual cloud for our family to look at, remember and laugh at in the future.

My latest discovery is a crafting station in our attic.  I love the idea of making and creating with my children.  Therefore, in addition to memories, I hope to log things we make, do and adventures we have along the way on these pages.

Although designed primarily for our family, I like the idea that anyone who may be interested can also follow our journey!