Caring for a Dependent Child and Being Fit

Parenting 2 teenage kids, in itself, is quite a feat and even more so when you’re trying to balance family life and training 1.5-2 hours every day.  I also care full-time for my handicap and mentally retarded son.  Just about everyone knows someone or has had a family member who has required extra care and attention, and we all know the amount of work it takes to care for our special people.  I think many people would assume that it would be too daunting to train hard and care for a special needs family member.  I never considered it.  Everything just falls into place with a little extra effort and mental strength.

My disabled son eats every 3 hours around-the-clock which is the most difficult part, by far.  For me, getting 3-4 hours of sleep in a night is fantastic!  It isn’t always easy to peel myself out of my blanket in the morning to get up and work out when I’ve only had a couple short naps all night.  The human body is absolutely amazing though.  I really believe my body has adapted to run efficiently on less sleep over time.  Even with lack of sleep, it never once crossed my mind that I couldn’t get my exercise in for the day.  I force myself to get up and get moving every day.

Running outside always presents a challenge.  Most days, my husband and older kids aren’t around to keep an eye on their little brother while I head out for a run.  I really have to catch and grab those days when I can.  On weekends I usually try to make it outside for 1-2 long runs while my daughter babysits.  It’s very rejuvenating mentally and physically.  The rest of the week, you’ll find me putting in very long hours on my treadmill and hitting the weights.  I’m very determined to get in the miles I planned to do for the week, and I do whatever it takes to make sure it happens.

I don’t find it difficult whatsoever to manage my fitness and the care of my disabled son.  I’m convinced anyone can do it.  It’s all about finding time to do what is important to you.  Get off the couch, put the remote down, step away from the computer.  We can accomplish great things even in the presence of incredible obstacles.  I don’t think about the difficulties that lie in my path – I think about the rewards of accomplishment.  Every moment in life has its own myriad of challenges, and we can always overcome.  It’s about wanting something so much, you give it your best shot.  The day I start considering how complicated it is to succeed in my personal fitness goals, is the day I start looking for excuses why it can’t be done.  I’m living, breathing proof that a wife and mother of 2 teenage kids and a completely dependent disabled son, can still be fit and athletic while bringing balance and harmony to family and fitness.

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