I have a bit of a confession to make. I often get a little weepy with any kind of video, advert or film clip in which children are depicted growing up. It started during my first pregnancy. Any advert with a cute cooing baby and I was a tearful, hormonal mess.
It was even worse with my second, and even now something as trivial as the Robinson’s advert ‘They grow up so fast’ has the power to elicit an emotional response.
I guess it just reflects that overwhelming jumble of emotions most parents have around their children growing up and changing; pride at the new skills and developments; worry for the new challenges they face; sadness or perhaps a teensy bit of relief at our changing role with their growing independence.
Putting away my little girl’s first baby clothes caused a similar knot in my heart.
But expose me to an advert with any reference to the family life-cycle and a bit of emotive music and I am a blubbering wreck.
Anyone remember the P&G advert ‘Pick them back up’.
I’ve just re-watched it now and am grateful that my husband is out so as not to witness yet another advert induced bawl. The narrative is simple: Babies, children and young adults fall over or fail in various sporting activities. Their Mum’s pick them up and tend to their injuries. The final scene is a grown-up version of these youngsters succeeding at Olympic level. The final caption:
‘For teaching us that falling only makes us stronger. Thank you Mum’
Do watch it and tell me it’s not just me who gets some kind of tug on the heartstrings?
For those of you without time, or my enthusiasm, for more video watching, there are lots of snap shots of Mummies (or strictly speaking American Mommies) engaged in various workouts with their children watching, or taking part with them. At the end a little girl thanks her Mum for inspiring her, she then steps up to the weights saying it is her turn.
Now, we have established I have a weakness for this sort of thing, but I think the overriding message really powerful.
It has completely changed the way I feel about trying to squash a bit of exercise into my busy life.
This Saturday I felt a twinge of ‘Mummy-guilt’ at taking part in the Parkrun and disrupting family time. Mr R took the children to watch. I’m sure they quite enjoyed it, but I still had a worrying niggle about taking time out for myself.
A similar feeling occurs at the weekends when my husband or I try to sneak in a quick home workout. I have many cute pictures of Sunflower joining in with tiny hand-weights but I worry about the 20 minutes that I’m not engaging her in crafts, reading, play-dough or other educational activities.
After watching this video, I no longer feel so troubled by taking a bit of adult time to exercise. In the ‘Ten Minute Spare’ household, home workouts and running are part of every week. I am no great athlete. I’ve never run marathons or anything close to a sub-20 5k, but I hope that my children will unconsciously absorb the importance of, and joy in, physical activity.
It might be that running or organised exercise is not your thing. But perhaps you’ve struggled to do a bit of gardening or housework whilst multi-tasking with the kids? Maybe worried that you are not giving them undivided attention? I think the message of this video is still applicable. The daily routines would perhaps not make for such a glamorous video, but pushing a lawn-mower counts as ‘moderate aerobic activity’ and heavy gardening or shovelling counts towards muscle strengthening as recommended by the NHS.
Health benefits can be derived from both formal ‘exercise’ or lots of daily physical activity. So if you’re not into running, but instead you have a child helping you with the gardening, they might just be inspired to make it part of their life when older.
As parents we have an enormous responsibility, knowing that our children watch and absorb so much of our everyday lives. I could do without my children emulating my overly emotional response to advertisements. But I truly hope that I can inspire them with enthusiasm to enjoy a range of physical activities and to care for maintaining their health as they grow.