Our kids need us to be as healthy as possible. 5 parents share how they do it.

For the parents in the room: Do you remember what it was like when your baby first came into your life?

Love. Nothing but love. GIF from "Supernatural."


Amazing, right? But then the worry sets in.

Outside of the typical concerns about finances and child development, parents worry about their own health. And rightfully so. Almost half (45%) of the adults in the U.S. are managing at least one chronic health condition.

As a dad with two young daughters, I feel the need to be as healthy as I can be for them, but oftentimes it's a struggle.

With that in mind, I asked five parents how have having kids affected their approach to health and wellness.

1. Rebecca feels she owes it to her youngest son to live a long, healthy life.

Rebecca had her first child when she was a teenager and her fourth and last child when she was 30.

Rebecca (black sweater) and her four kids. Photo from Rebecca, used with permission.

Let's be clear that 30 shouldn't be considered "old" by anyone's standards. But more women than ever are choosing to have children later in life. For Rebecca's 12-year-old son, that was a problem.

"My youngest has been expressing his anger toward me that I had him so much later than his siblings," Rebecca said. "He's worried that I won't be around for him as long as his brothers and sisters will."

As a single mom, that made her aware of her own mortality. "Every decision I make now is to be as healthy as possible so I can be there for all of my kids for as long as I can."

2. Jake started cutting back on his working hours.

Jake is a father of two young boys and he used to work really long hours at his job at a Los Angeles law firm. Yeah, he made really good money, but that salary came at a steep price. He was always tired and stressed — and his sons noticed it.

"I would snap at my kids for the smallest things," Jake told Upworthy. "I could feel that they were becoming uncomfortable around me, and that's the last thing I wanted."


It's not surprising to see many Americans working into the wee hours of the night.

It's hardly a secret that Americans are extremely overworked. The average full-time employee now works 47 hours in a five-day work week. Additionally, almost half of full-time employees work at least 50 hours a week.

Jake knew his job was taking a toll on his health and his relationship with his kids, so he found a new employer that allowed him to spend more time with his family. Yes, he makes significantly less money now, but he's healthier mentally and emotionally than he's ever been.

"I have a real relationship with my kids now and I'm happy," he said. "You can't put a price tag on that."

3. Sheila learned that while nutrition and exercise are important, they're not everything.

Before having her kids, Sheila admits that she wanted to control everything in her life. Without fail, she ensured that each day included three square meals and two snacks — in addition to exercising.

But when she became a mom, things changed.

Now that she's a mom, Sheila sees the bigger picture. Photo from Sheila, used with permission.

"As a mom, I realized that loving and living is much more important than exact measurements of food and supplements," Sheila said. "I took a step back because as I watched my kids grow, I was able to witness the awesomeness of the human body."

Sure, she still eats well and exercises — but she's not going to flip out over skipping a meal or a workout like she used to. The big picture is way more important than the small stuff in her world.

4. Dan uses a simple reminder to keep himself focused on the big picture.

Dan still misses his dad. He hopes his children won't miss him for similar reasons. GIF from Fodada, used with permission.

When Dan was in college, his dad passed away from a fatal heart attack. He was only 55 years old.

"I would do anything to have him around," Dan said. "Being a dad myself now, it just reminds me how important it is to be there [for my kids]."

Then Dan found Fodada, an apparel company catering to dads that runs a "Red Beanie Bond" campaign providing red beanies to newborn babies.

This beanie is way more than a fashion statement. Photo courtesy of Fodada, used with permission.

These aren't just cute accessories. Putting one on a newborn's head symbolizes a promise that dads will do whatever it takes to live healthy lives for the sake of the little ones who depend on them.

"The moment you put this on your baby, you should understand that the decisions you made for your life and your health for all of the previous years of your life change," Dan said. "All of your decisions should be for this little beanie and who it goes on."

5. Emily taught herself to stop worrying so much.

Kids can be unpredictable and wild. Own it. Photo from iStock.

Emily, a mom of four, probably put it best of all.

"If you want to have ice cream for dinner one night, do it. If your kid skips a nap, get over it," she said. "I believe that worrying about every little thing makes us so unhealthy that we can't focus on what's important — which is being there for our kids."

No matter how you choose to live a healthy lifestyle, continue to do it. Your kids will be glad you did.

Family

On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

Culture
via Cadbury

Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

Keep Reading Show less
Well Being

Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

WE Teachers
True
Walgreens
via KGW-TV / YouTube

One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture