Advice from a super mom: How to maintain a healthy, balanced and clean life

Workout for an hour every day. Eat healthy, unprocessed foods. Drink water. Be a supportive and responsible family member. Sounds like a pretty solid resolution-list made on January 1st, right? But how often does the workout get rescheduled, the apple replaced by a cookie, water for coffee and your attitude swing a bit out of control? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there.
Nobody’s perfect, but if you need some inspiration, look no further than New Haven’s Meg Meyer. This mother of nine is the Charge Nurse at Helen Porter in Middlebury (where she’s worked for the past 21 years), leads fitness classes at Vermont Sun and Bristol Fitness, homeschooled her kids through middle school and is a marathon runner. She believes in healthy, clean eating; organized, clean homes; good grooming and exercise. Talk about super mom!
How does she do it?
Well, she starts every morning with a 12 oz glass of water.
“Down it,” she said in a recent interview. “Don’t rationalize it, just drink. Then get down and do five minutes of planks — prone and side — and then crank out 20 pushups.”
Phew. Ok. Now what?
“That’s it, in just five minutes you’ve revved your metabolism with the water and worked your core,” she explained.
Meyer carries the same efficiency throughout her day. Most of us would call cooking and maintaining a clean house for a family of 11 a flippin’ miracle, but Meyer says it’s easy.
“It’s all about organizing and delegating,” the 52-year-old assured. “That, and always have your crock pot going.”
A large white dry-erase board hangs in Meyer’s home — the communication board. It has notes from passing family members and a rotating chore board that delegates daily duties to each child living at home.
“It’s depressing when you have a messy house,” she said, adding that she started her kids (now ages 10-27) on the chore board at age 3. “There are all kinds of ways to make it fun and it teaches real responsibility.”
That, and it’s a real time-saver — “many hands make light work” has never been more true. And Meyer doesn’t have a minute to spare. When she’s working the night shift at Helen Porter a few nights a week, she only gets to sleep from 8-11 a.m. Yes, only three hours.
“It’s all I need, and all I want,” said the Licensed Practical Nurse who runs a floor with 36 residents in hospice and longterm care, assisted by other Licensed Nursing Assistants.
When her scrubs come off, she straps on her sneaks and heads out for a run or to lead one of her group fitness classes.
“I love to run,” said Meyer, who’s run five marathons and countless half-marathons. “I also love to teach group fitness. I love the members, the people, the laughing — it’s a high. When we come together, the beat drops and the energy really gets going.
“It’s great to watch people and see how they learn to deal with their stress through fitness,” said the Connecticut native, who used to DJ before moving north. “They get stronger and stand a little taller.”
Don’t have the money to join a gym? No problem, Meyer didn’t either when she was raising her kids.
“I couldn’t afford a sport watch, so I used to take the wall clock outside and run laps around the house,” she said. “I could look in the windows to make sure the babies were ok and get a workout in.”
That or pile kids into the wheelbarrow and run hill sprints. No joke.
If you’re speed is a few notches slower, Meyer recommends walking. “Make an effort to not use your car,” she said. “Or if you do, park farther away so you can walk.”
Meyer’s last piece of advice for a healthy life? Take time for yourself.
“It’s tempting to let yourself go, that’s easy,” she said. “You have to keep your body healthy, and take time to care for yourself. It helps your mental strength.”
Nurse’s orders everyone: Put down that cookie and pick up a glass of water. Delegate, delegate, delegate, then lace up your shoes, get your sweat-on and enjoy “your time.”
MEG MEYER, LPN, and her daughter Heidi Meyer, LNA, shared a night shift last week at Helen Porter in Middlebury. 

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