But a new study has suggested a panacea of sorts, in the form of two-minute interruptions where you get out of your seat and walk about. According to The New York Times, these short little breaks of moderate activity every hour can reduce your risk of premature death by nearly a third.
Sitting in a chair for long stretches is one of the luxuries I miss the most as a parent, along with only having to take myself to the bathroom. It literally never happens. I’ve gone days without sitting down because the moment my children see me sitting, they figure I am fair game. Can you come outside? Can you take me to GameStop? Can we bake? Will you play Zingo with me? I’m hungry. It is the bane of my existence.
But now I see that these demanding little buggers are, it turns out, saving my life. In fact, if there is some point system for constant interruptions, I should live forever. By that logic, I’ve found a few other ways that motherhood may be prolonging my life.
De Facto Dieting
I cannot remember the last time I had a meal in my home without being interrupted 16 or 20 times. This one forgot a fork, the other one needs Parmesan cheese. Now pepper. Ketchup. Someone needs undivided attention while explaining what happened at recess. Then someone else spills water all over the table. Another one needs help in the bathroom. Now. By the time I am actually moving food from fork to mouth, it’s cold, and I no longer want to eat it. And if, by miracle of all miracles, everyone has what they need and my food is still hot, I still don’t get to eat much of it, since my children are of the belief that the best parts of the meal on my plate—meatballs, dumplings, crusty pieces of Italian bread—exist only so that I can hand them over to them.
I remember fondly the days when I’d pour one glass of wine when I got home from work, sip on it while I cooked dinner, pour another glass during dinner, and then tuck into a night cap with my husband. Those days are so over. Cooking time now doubles as the homework hour, as I run through math arrays and dictate vocabulary words while trying not to set off the smoke detector. Then there’s the evening schlep to and from CCD, baseball games, dance class and PTA meetings—all of which require sobriety. (Although I have been to many a PTA meeting that could be vastly improved by the distribution of free cocktails. Just saying.) These days, I still pour that nightly glass of wine, sometime after 9:30 p.m. I typically drink about half of it before I put it down on the floor next to the couch and then pass out, alongside my husband, watching an episode of The Daily Show from the night before.
The only way to spend time with my son is to be taking some sort of shot on him. Soccer, hockey, lacrosse—he isn’t picky. He just wants to stand in a goal and force you to aim at some corner of the net. Or at his head. It doesn’t end there. There is a seemingly endless “game” of sorts going on at all times in my house, and no matter where I hide, it seems to require my participation. Kickball, cornhole, TV tag. In short, I am exercising even when I don’t want to be.
But if all of this deprivation and activity is for the greater good of keeping me around longer, I’m all for it. I look forward to my distant future as the white-haired lady with the tattoos hanging out on the shuffleboard courts in Vero Beach, Fla., taking a nap. While standing, naturally.