I suggest a 45 minute solution to spending more time with the nippers, securing your beach-ready-body, and recreating the ‘night out with the girls’ feeling of a time that motherhood forgot.
I accepted in my early twenties that the role of domestic Goddess was not one I was destined for. Being the proverbial swan – all elegance and ease on top, frantically paddling feet under the surface – is an act I can maintain for approximately the first 30 minutes of most days before something (often literally) comes crashing down to kick my efforts back into reality.
Over the course of the past decade I have not yet found the secret to the success of this, but I would like to suggest a way to manage the daily failure. Dance. Cards on the table, this is also my profession, Mamapara Dance, check out our kids’ parties too, but I don’t mean studio or stage worthy pirouettes and jetÃ©s. I’m talking about the kind of dancing you do at home in granny pants and a faded t-shirt, with your hair in a knot, the cat under your feet and your little cherubs convulsed in fits of giggles amongst mounds of un-ironed laundry (if they’ve got as far as ‘clean’, it’s already a victory).
I’m talking about the kind of dancing you used to do when you were young(er), sipping a rum coke and fixing your make up and hair for three and a half hours before going out on a Saturday night. (Back then I called the relevant songs for this task ‘Outskis!’ – now I call them ‘Inskis’.
As I reach for the rose oil rather than the eyeliner – I remember when waking up with ‘rock chick’ black smudges all across my face was proof of an awesome night out, now it’s a reason not to leave permanent marker within the reach of little hands – let me explain my thinking. The three things I would most like to be doing with my day are:
1) Bonding with my two little monsters in some dedicated playtime.
2) Sorting out the body not-so-beautiful-as-it-once-was with some exercise.
3) Forgetting that I’m any kind of grown up to recreate the good bits of my early twenties.
But, when oneself, the kids, the house, the cooking, the family’s clothes, the dog’s toenails and the garden must all be picture perfect, (and then documented, photographed, posted, tweeted, Instagramed, pinned, flickred, shared, uploaded and neatly turned into a highly virally and amusing entry into one’s impossibly successful yet effortless blog.There just aren’t enough hours…) how to find the time?
This is where Inski as the new Outski comes in. Put on a great playlist and dance to it with your little ones for thirty minutes. Mix it up so some tracks you both freestyle to, and in others you take turns to lead and follow and create mini, on the spot routines, (a kind of dance version of “my Gran went to market…”).
Dance in general is a great way for your kids to develop all kinds of skills from coordination, creativity and stamina, to confidence, listening, non-verbal communication, team/partner work, body control, elegance and grace. (That last one only counts on the dance floor; dancers are the clumsiest people on the planet in general life.) Engaging with the old Inski is Outski method adds even more virtues to the list:
- It’s fun quality time together for both you and the children (we all know about the endorphins dancing and exercise releases)
- It’s pretty much free!
- it’s essentially effortless, you don’t have to bundle everyone into the car or on to public transport and who cares what you look like?!
- it’s a great way to stay in shape for mom and for the mini boppers
- it’s a great way to keep mobile and supple, this is increasingly important as we ‘mature’ and unrelated to weight lose
- It will make both of you laugh and smile – I don’t care if it’s true or not, I believe it when ‘they’ say laughter makes you live longer. It certainly makes me live ‘happier’.
And possibly the single most important part of all of this? You get to pick the music…never again can your little ones turn round and say they’ve “never heard of it” when you play a timeless classic. Nothing is so aging as a child that cannot name a song from the 80s…