The Bantering Blonde Unplugs

moms making a difference

Have you ever set a fitness goal--say, to run a mile--only to have it fall by the wayside as life ran over you? Do you have a goal--fitness or otherwise--that, in the face of all the many everyday things you do, seems insurmountable? Many women do, says Fiona Bryan of Through her on-line and on-air blogging, she has talked with many women who felt they could not run a mile, that it was too long. So she, being passionate about fitness, told them to walk that mile, to discover that it wasn't really that long. She called it the "empowered mile" and it was a seed out of which grew many great things for her.

Already an avid blogger, Fiona had the ability to extend herself through social media. The launch of MomActive, a website designed to "motivate and empower women to be positive role models for their families"  was a "natural progression," of events, she says,  enabling her to help more women by providing information and support to them regardless of their current health or fitness level. She had observed that many stay- or work-at-home moms unconsciously or consciously took on a lot of random little things to "justify" their home-oriented existence, but that they often took on too much or made their tasks into bigger things than they needed to be. This ultimately detracted from their family life. Her passion for helping others to overcome their personal obstacles now comes through on both her blog and her site.

Ironically though, she found herself in a similar bind as MomActive and the other projects she was involved in took off. "It felt good to work," she says, but she quickly became overwhelmed by all of her myriad responsibilities. So she established her own "litmus test," her personal criteria for deciding which projects to adopt. Among other things, she asked herself if they fit the MomActive mission, and whether or not they were rewarding. When some projects failed to meet the test and went away, her workload dropped off. It was what she then decided to do with her family that became a seminal time in their development together.

They unplugged. They went "screen-free" - no computers, TV's, or video games. They went to their condo in the mountains of Colorado and played. It was admittedly a difficult concept for her 3 kids to agree to, but with so many activities--hiking, skiing, etc.--they couldn't help but come on board. "A lot of kids miss out on the opportunity to discover" new hobbies, says Fiona, because they spend too much time in front of a screen. Her oldest, when taken away from one, took up skateboarding and became quite good at it.

Fiona realized that the more time she spent with her kids, the more she was able to pick up on the "dance" they did when they wanted to talk but didn't know how to start a hard conversation. When they unplugged as a family, they talked more. The more she talked with her oldest son, the wider the channel of communication became, easing his transition into the dreaded teens. What was "down-time" of one kind became "up-time" of another as they went back to basics and found they enjoyed it.

So they became more aware of and grateful for their most basic, closest relationships. In doing so, Fiona realized that an important way to show gratitude for them sometimes was to "look inward," instead of outward, to see what your role is in the positives and negatives of that relationship, and to "not be defensive" in the face of what truths you find.

Interestingly enough, this driven, family-oriented women is inspired by the thought that "there are multiple ways to go about every day. There is no perfection," she says, "and just because one day was one way doesn't mean the next day has to be the same." Just because a mile seems long doesn't mean it is.

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