+
upworthy
Family

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.


We all know that Americans pay more for healthcare than every other country in the world. But how much more?

According an American expatriate who shared the story of his ER visit in a Taiwanese hospital, Americans are being taken to the cleaners when we go to the doctor. We live in a country that claims to be the greatest in the world, but where an emergency trip to the hospital can easily bankrupt someone.

Kevin Bozeat had that fact in mind when he fell ill while living in Taiwan and needed to go to the hospital. He didn't have insurance and he had no idea how much it was going to cost him. He shared the experience in a now-viral Facebook post he called "The Horrors of Socialized Medicine: A first hand experience."

Keep ReadingShow less

Turns out we've been threading needles all wrong

If you've ever taken a sewing class then you've probably had the pleasure of some older woman telling you to stick the loose end of the thread in your mouth as an easy way to thread it through the eye of a needle. Even with the soggy thread mending together the fibers at the end, you hands still shake and your eyes go crossed while you try to get it through the tiny hole.

But it turns out that there's a much easier way to thread a needle and it doesn't involve licking it. In fact there's more than one way to thread a needle that will save you a headache from trying to see where the thread is going. There's one particular technique that has people thinking there may be witchcraft involved, but it's just science.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

Two brothers Irish stepdancing to Beyoncé's country hit 'Texas Hold 'Em' is pure delight

The Gardiner Brothers and Queen Bey proving that music can unite us all.

Gardiner Brothers/TikTok (with permission)

The Gardiner Brothers stepping in time to Beyoncé's "Texas Hold 'Em."

In early February 2024, Beyoncé rocked the music world by releasing a surprise new album of country tunes. The album, Renaissance: Act II, includes a song called "Texas Hold 'Em," which shot up the country charts—with a few bumps along the way—and landed Queen Bey at the No.1 spot.

As the first Black female artist to have a song hit No. 1 on Billboard's country music charts, Beyoncé once again proved her popularity, versatility and ability to break barriers without missing a beat. In one fell swoop, she got people who had zero interest in country music to give it a second look, forced country music fans to broaden their own ideas about what country music looks like and prompted conversations about bending and blending musical genres and styles.

And she inspired the Gardiner Brothers to add yet another element to the mix—Irish stepdance.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pets

What it’s like to adopt a dog, as told through a 14-part comic

Moscow-based comic artist Bird Born explains why adopting a dog changed his life.


Rescuing a pet is an amazing and heroic undertaking.

7.6 million pets go into shelters each year, according to the ASPCA. And of those pets, about 2.7 million pets are rescued by humans who give them forever homes.

Moscow-based comic artist Bird Born experienced firsthand the power of welcoming a pet into your family when he adopted a dog.

Keep ReadingShow less
Health

5 things I didn't want to hear when I was grieving and 1 thing that helped

Here are my top five things not to say to a grieving parent — and the thing I love to hear instead.


In 2013, I found out I was pregnant with triplets.

Image via iStock.

My husband and I were in shock but thrilled at the news after dealing with infertility for years. And it didn't take long for the comments to begin. When people found out, the usual remarks followed: "Triplets?! What are you going to do? Three kids at once?! Glad it's not me!"

After mastering my response (and an evil look reserved for the rudest comments), I figured that was the worst of it. But little did I know I would be facing far worse comments after two of my triplets passed away.

On June 23, 2013, I gave birth to my triplets, more than four months premature.

My daughter, Abigail, passed away that same day; my son, Parker, died just shy of 2 months old. Before then, I didn't know much about child loss; it was uncharted territory. Like most people, I wouldn't know how to respond or what to say if a friend's child passed away.

Image via iStock.

But two years later, I have found that some things are better left unsaid. These comments come from a good place, and I know people mean well, but they sure do sting.

Here are my top five things not to say to a grieving parent — and the thing I love to hear instead.

Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

A husband took these photos of his wife and captured love and loss beautifully.

I feel as if I were right there with them as I looked through the photos.

Snuggles.

When I saw these incredible photos Angelo Merendino took of his wife, Jennifer, as she battled breast cancer, I felt that I shouldn't be seeing this snapshot of their intimate, private lives.

The photos humanize the face of cancer and capture the difficulty, fear, and pain that they experienced during the difficult time.

Keep ReadingShow less