• Daddy Scratches

    Amen to everything you wrote. Well said.
    (I just turned 41, whippersnapper. You wanna talk about physical reminders of aging? Let’s do it … right after I go groom my EAR HAIR.)

  • cselkins

    I have never commented before on a post (new to the dooce community!),but just wanted to say I loved this particular one. It is obvious that you love your girls and husband and want to be a part of all that their future holds! Thank you for sharing your sincerity and honesty.

  • e11even

    I hope that for you all too. Your kids are adorable – I laughed out loud at Marlo’s “just woke up” shot the other day. You should be real proud. Happy Birthday Leta!

  • AlisonB

    I love this post. Well said, indeed.

  • arishell

    Raising a girl to have a good self image is difficult. Trying to make healthy choices when you would really rather eat oreos is hard, too! I admire that you are working so hard at it, and it really is a process everyday.

    I hit 48 this year and just plucked my first under-the -chin hair. Ew! I still think I am in my late 20s, until I glimpse the gray hair in the mirror.

    Happy birthday, Leta!

  • Jeca51601

    Dam it, Heather, you always make me cry…
    Happy Birthday, sweet one…

  • TriMomRemade

    This is exactly the conversations I have had with my kids. We are an athletic household by choice. It is our life. I hope it becomes their “normal” as they grow up.

  • boilermomof4

    I could have written this post, except for the part where you were called Skeletor. Yeah, no. I ballooned up to 245 lbs (I’m 5’3″, so not good) over 17 years and decided just before my 40th birthday that enough was enough. Taking charge of my eating and exercise has been the greatest blessing of my “advanced” years. Almost 2 years and 85 pounds later, my kids have learned to like whole wheat pasta and understand that my time at Zumba and resistance training will allow me to one day meet their children. Discussing calorie content with my 7 year old son is really pretty cool – I think it’s awesome that he wants to know what he’s eating.

    Happy birthday wishes to sweet Leta!

  • mmj100179

    Happy birthday Leta and to my baby girl who turns 6 today!

  • Alison R.

    Wow I know no other mother who can work out 5 times a week AND commit to an almost 100% healthy diet. That’s a pretty high bar. Good for you, though. You have earned a lifestyle that makes that possible. Can’t say I don’t sort of find it super irritating, though!

    Happy Birthday to your beautiful, unique, talented, smart daughter! I love hearing about your life with her.

  • Crazy Card Lady

    I turned 56 yesterday….I believe we learn more about ourselves than we ever teach our kids. Being a parent is probably the hardest and most rewarding thing I have ever done. It has shown me what I am made of and has made me grow as a person in ways I never thought I could.

    My daughter who is 16 and driving told me to stay in bed yesterday as long as I could. She borrowed the car, went to Starbucks and the store and greeted me with a pile of powder-sugar donettes with a candle in one and a cup of Starbucks singing Happy Birthday. It filled my heart with joy.

    Kudos to you Heather and Jon for taking parenting seriously and joyfully.

  • Just Jill

    Thanks for this, Heather. I needed the wake up call. I lost my mom 5 years ago when I was 37 and I have never recovered; it was a life-shattering blow. I completely let myself go, mentally and physically. But I too have children and I am not setting a good example for them. When they’re adults, I do want to be there for them when they need me. It’s time to get off my ass and realize that not only am I hurting myself, I am hurting them as well.

    Thanks for putting your heart and soul out here so you can help inspire others. Now I’ll try to take a turn. Bless you!

    And Happy Birthday Leta!

  • pehuff

    “going to therapy isn’t a sign of weakness but of a willingness to live a better life.”

    That was the best description of therapy I’ve ever seen.

    Here’s to more birthdays! :-)

  • sturney

    Forget 10 years….in five years you’ll find you are so excited to be 40. It really is the best time! You still look and feel great, you’re more financially stable and you’ve come into your own. You may not believe me now but just wait!!!

  • austinmomof7

    I’m 39. I have seven kids. And I was just diagnosed with cancer. I’d give anything in the world to make sure I see my kids next ten birthdays.

  • Kendi

    Happy Birthday Leta! I was hoping to see an “84 Months” Post :) Here’s to many more beautiful birthdays.
    Oh my God! I just saw your masthead change. I’ve been reading this for 10 years?? I’ve never said this and just recently started posting comments, but thanks for helping me survive my first year of motherhood. Your words proved to be some of the biggest blessings of my life. I really want to say Thank You. Thank You. Thank You.

  • kristanhoffman

    Well said.

  • Chai_Bella

    I love this post and I really wish my own mother would have thought more wisely about how she was/is taking care of herself. Granted, she waited until she was 38 to have me and 41 to have my sister (we are 24 and 21, now), but I am seeing her decline in health and it’s hard to watch.

    You should be so proud of yourself. Your family is lucky to have a mom/wife that cares so much about them that she takes time for herself.

  • tallnoe

    Great post. Thank you. This is the reason I choose to work out too (and I don’t even HAVE kids or even a twinkle of a kid).

    I give you props for being able to lead by example with Leta and Marlo. And thank you for sharing your life with us all on the interwebs.

  • Sylva Leining

    Ah…35…
    That was a good year.

  • CountingBlessings

    This post really resonated with me. I am 36 years old, have no idea how I got to this age, have 2 daugthers AND really need to focus on my health and well being – both for my sake, as well as theirs.

    Great post all around. I haven’t commented since the Maytag disaster of 2009 (great, great, great posts – power to the consumer!!), but I couldn’t withhold props for such a great message.

    THANKS!

    Connie

  • luv and kiwi

    : ) good post lady. i WISH i could work out with a trainer 5 times a week. i exercise 5-6 but it’s not the same as getting your ass fed to you on a dumbbell.

    way to go on the non-processed foods too. care to share how you do that without passing out in the gym?

  • jjford

    Thanks for posting The Julie Project… tried to google for an update … hope they find her other children.

  • Daffodil Campbell

    I have had the same “where the hell am I and when did I become the grown up in this situation” moments. Usually when one of my kids has thrown up or the car has broken down or the mortgage is due.

    I am turning 36 next week, and I quit my one-cigarette-per-bartending-shift habit at Christmas. It was my gift to my family. Merry fucking Christmas guys, hope you are enjoying the new non-smoking, cranky as hell me.

    (And when you say that when Leta was born you gave birth to Jon, dude, you ARE NOT KIDDING. What, did you clone her or something? Is that one of those babies you can make with a printer? Awesomeness.)

    p.s. we all know you threw out your back having sex in Mexico.

  • specialkrispy

    I don’t always agree with you, but I love the kind of mother you’re trying to be. I respect you for it. Your girls are blessed to have you and Jon as their parents.

    P.S. It’s ok to have a donut sometimes.

  • sugarleg

    “The change in my body and mind, especially given the stress of the last year, has made it effortless to stick to this new way of life.”

    YES. same here, thanks for sharing.

    y’all should go to Rancho La Puerta sometime. that’s the place that made it all click for me.

    especially touched at your noting that Leta gets it.

  • ladygray

    i’m not sure if it’s the hormones (30 weeks pregnant with my second boy) or the fact that cancer has taken many important people in my life too soon (my mother-in-law, my aunt) leaving young children behind… but that post instigated some serious waterworks.

    beautiful tribute to your girls. and we are endeavoring to rock the “do as i say AND as i do” parenting here as well… i had more tears reading about how well it is working with Leta.

    well done, mama.

  • motherofalltrips

    Thank you for this post – too often we treat taking care of ourselves like it’s a selfish. I’m de lurking to leave a comment here because I’d also like to advocate strongly for getting screenings done at the proper time. My father died of colon cancer two days before this past Christmas. He was 65. A simple colonoscopy at 50 might have saved his life – he refused to ever have one.

    I’m 40 and both of my biological parents are gone to cancer. My mother died of asbestos cancer 12 years ago after also suffering from breast cancer. She had refused to have a mammogram and so her breast cancer treatment ended up being much more radical than it needed to be. She couldn’t have prevented the asbestos cancer, but she could have had a higher quality of life at the end if she hadn’t had to have a double mastectomy.

    I’ve had regular mammograms since I was 30 and I had a colonoscopy last fall – they found a precancerous polyp.

    I’ve got two boys who are 8 and 5. I want to be around for them as long as I can. Screening can literally save your life.

  • thecounselormom

    I love this post! So true and I can completely relate. When I became pregnant, I also cut out processed foods, and now only buy my daughter organic produce and make her own baby food. I am trying to cut out HFCS, no fake sugars and try to work out a few times a week. If I had the time and money, I would hire a trainer- good for you!! Keep it up!

  • Cooky

    Happy birthday, Leta.

    You are one very smart and amazing lady, Heather Armstrong.

    Thank you so much for your wonderful insights. You are an inspiration to all of us.

  • Laura Jones

    I got my first skin cancer at 29. I don’t tan and burn very easily and unfortunately got more than one severe sunburn at 5 years old. I was the weird kid that wore a t-shirt over her bathing suit because sunscreen didn’t exist back then.

    Happy Birthday Leta I love all the pictures your mother posts of you. You are beautiful both inside and out.

  • slappyintheface

    I so agree about therapy. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness … it is a sign of strength.

  • Robyn L

    @austinmomof7
    I will send love and good vibes to you for a strong recovery. xo

  • gradstudentsarepeopletoo

    Pregnant with my first– a girl– and this post just made me all teary-eyed. You guys are the kind of parents that we hope to become.

    Happy birthday, Leta!

  • Jen Cottrell

    Reading this post left me with a lump in my throat. As the mom of three boys, I understand exactly what you mean. We can only do our best, and then hope that our children do theirs!

    Happy Birthday to Leta!

  • Twinkie

    Happy birthday, Leta!

  • Pandora Has A Box

    Happy Birthday, Leta! Seven is a *good* birthday. :)

    You want old? I’m going to be forty-two and my *oldest* is four. ::sigh::

    With each kid’s birthday, I feel a huge sense of amazement. They exceed my wildest expectations every day (when they aren’t bursting my ear drums).

  • AndreaMarie

    I’m not a Mom, but I read your blog because I love your writing style! This post I could totally relate to because I am turning 35 this year, and I still can’t believe it. I don’t feel 35. I don’t look 35 (although, not in a I’m so hot kind of way…more like the I’m 5 feet tall and still have the chipmunk cheeks of my childhood kind of way.) I just loved this post. It really spoke to me!

  • Mexi-Packin

    Feliz Compleanos to your little one! Seconds before reading this post, I was on a site searching out raw food lifestyle….guess something is trying to tell me something. Now it’s time to give up the refried beans and corn tortillas! crap

  • sassyanna

    What did it for me was losing two friends, both mothers, both young, and both died of cancer. I want to be a good example to my kids, and I want to grow old and watch them grow up and have children of their own. It scares the shit out of me that people my age are dying, and I want to do as much as I can to prevent it happening to me.

  • cris

    Happy birthday, Leta!

    And, yes, Heather, yes, all you can do for more birthdays lived to the full.

  • mmbchaos

    A very timely post. I am a mother to 2 girls, 7 and 4 and just had my 36th Birthday. My husband and I have been discussing a lifestyle change for the past week, we are going to do it! Lead by example and all that.

    Thank You and Happy Birthday to Leta.

  • LuLa

    Thank You. So timely. I am trying to process the fact that I need, in the very near future, a double mastectomy (I have an 87% chance of getting breast cancer) and to remove my ovaries (40% change of ovarian cancer) thanks the the brcaI gene. Im 35 and divorced. While there is no question that I will do this so I am around for my kids and don’t have to get sick, its a very hard realization.

    PS: I think you just gave me the motivation I needed to get my lazy self to the gym too!! yea!

    …for my boys.

  • dolphy36

    Yes, at 43, I did have a little smile curl up my lips when you said your “I can’t believe I’m 35…” If you think it’s gone by fast so far, hang on to your skinny butt! It gets perpetually faster.

    I TOTALLY agree with your priority of modeling all of the things you mention. I don’t think there is a more important role you can fill in your life. And it is a motivator of my own. Whenever it is easier to be lazier than work toward a better me, I think of my son…and what the message is that I am conveying to him. What a blessing that is!

  • Lily Hydrangea

    This is an amazing post.
    & Leta has an incredibly awesome Mom!
    You are so right on the mark about modeling good behavior for your children. Kids really do watch their parents every move. I remember doing so myself when I was a kid.
    & thank you for working for such a good cause too dear Heather.

    Happy Birthday Leta, I hope your birthday was everything you hoped it would be & more.
    : )

  • jan001

    It doesn’t make me look good but I admit to wishing I had the money and time for a trainer and a gym and home cooking from the produce aisle BUT! what impressed me most in that whole post was the part about Leta standing up for another kid.

    Leta, how hard do you ROCK!

    Now THAT is someone on her way to being a productive and caring adult one day. I hope her teacher gave her serious props for it and I know you and Jon are immensely and justifiably proud of it!

    Nicely done, Leta, and Happy Birthday! (and nicely done, Heather and Jon!)

    I’m another one who sunburns instead of tans, and when I used to go to the beach/into the ocean regularly, I used heavy-duty sunscreen, the consistently of petroleum jelly that was extremely resistant to washing off in the water. Even so, I’ve had to have two “things” removed from my skin – scalp and back – in the past 7 years (left the ocean 12 years ago). Both turned out benign, thank heaven. I see my dermatologist for checkups but I found both of those “things” myself.

    Sunscreen, people. Seriously.

  • Soft Kitty

    FOUR WORDS…

    YOU ARE MY HERO.

  • Pluckychick

    Happy Birthday to Leta!

    My oldest was born in late February 16 years ago. I’m 43 and still can’t quite believe it. (The dark days of winter is a super fun time to begin postpartum depression btw. Whoo Hoo!)

    For me something about my second child ( and then even more so the third) makes me feel my mortality like a fresh wound every day. With my first there was an element of playacting at parenting but with subsequent kids there was no denying it. I was in it for the long haul. And super vulnerable because I knew without a doubt how much I wanted to be there for every minute of their lives.

    I realized 10 years ago I can’t not take care of myself because that would be neglectful parenting. Even though nowadays my kneecaps are melting down to my ankles no matter how many lunges I perform.

  • sweetpotatopie

    My 10yo daughter is a big reason I ran my first marathon at 44; I want to show her that I am willing to work hard to be strong and healthy. She was there cheering me on, and she tells *everyone* that her mom “runs marathons”. She has even started running with me. It feels so good to get outside to exercise together, and we have great conversations along the way.

    Good job Heather, for starting now. I so wish I hadn’t taken my health (and skinniness) for granted when I was in my 30s.

  • melissa_anderson725

    I’m dedicated to an exercise regimen, but I don’t quite know how to alter what I eat outside of just eating less so I lose the pounds I want to. I’d love to see a post about exactly what you did to change, what you eat now, what you avoid at all costs and anything else that might help get others on the same track.