October Movin’ Mama: Selina

Selina Van Hook Photo.jpg

We are thrilled to feature Selina as our October Movin’ Mama–she currently resides near Houston, TX with her husband and two little ones (3.5 year-old girl and 10-month old boy). Not only does she kick it as a stay-at-home Mama, cooking and organizing to find her Zen, she also serves as the primary health caregiver for her son who was diagnosed with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD),  and is anxiously awaiting a kidney transplant. We asked her how she’s Living Well today and here’s what she shared…

How do you typically start and end your day?

My day starts with disconnecting my son from dialysis as soon as he wakes up.  When I was 20 weeks pregnant with him, we realized something wasn’t right with his renal system.  After further testing, he was diagnosed with ESRD, or Kidney Failure and I’ve been caring for him ever since. If the day doesn’t begin with dialysis, it starts with me rising hours before the sun and dragging myself to the gym.

My day ends with connecting my son back to dialysis and sitting in his room while he’s sleeping to make sure his first fill goes smoothly. Well, I guess you can say that’s my first part of ending my day. After that’s finished, I get to spend 1v1 time with my first-born in bed watching her favorite, Peppa Pig.

What has been your most effective form/time of exercise since you’ve had children?

My most effective form of exercise is a full-body pump session (weightlifting) with a hint of cardio.  Since the kiddos arrived, I haven’t had the time or desire to stay at the gym for long hours so I walk in on a mission.

With my son’s ESRD, sometimes life is just hard to get away from, so I always make it a point to hit every part of my body with weights just in case I can’t make it back to the gym for a few days longer than anticipated.

In terms of timing, I prefer mornings before anyone is awake.  It’s my “ME time.”  And it’s also the only time I don’t feel guilty leaving!

Finish this sentence: Being a Mom has made me…

Realize how easy it is to get lost in the daily shuffle of motherhood.  My son was in the hospital from December 11, 2015 – May 9, 2016.  He was born December 11, 2015.  During those 5 grueling months, I spend the last 8 weeks in the hospital with him.  I would only come home 1-2 times each week to shower (depending how greasy my hair was, haha).  I admit, I got very lost. My only identity I had was “I’m His Mom”.

I am so glad that’s in the past.

Can you share a few best practices for healthy eating that you try to follow?

One trick up my sleeve I always share is if you know you’re going to have a crazy busy week, BUY A ROTISSERIE CHICKEN from your local grocer and de-bone it right when you get home.

I feel like cooking a protein is the hardest (and longest) thing to cook for a meal.  It helps keep you from falling off and having to resort to 1) Breaking your healthy eating with fast food and 2) Breaking your budget.  So on a crazy day, you can whip out your chicken and add it to a full bed of salad and there’s your dinner!

And speaking of salads, I always try to have one with either my lunch or dinner.  Again, if I know I’m going to have the week of doom with a million things scheduled, I buy bagged salad.  Such an easy base to add in whatever fresh veggies you might have in your fridge.

Anything you forgot to do with your first baby that you’re doing now?

Appreciating and being thankful every second of every day that she is healthy.  I took her health for granted. I assumed my son would be a healthy baby boy when he was born.  His renal failure has been my blessing in disguise.

Would I want to do this all over again? Absolutely not. But has it opened my eyes to what’s really worth appreciating and being thankful for? Absolutely yes.

How do you typically relieve stress?

This is something I’ve recently started struggling with.  I know its total cliché to say it, but there are only so many hours of the day!

On the days that I can make it to the gym in the morning, that is my stress reliever and IT.IS.AMAZING. But I’m still searching for something to help with my stress on the days I’m not able to make it there.

What is one wish for your children?

I wish that they will always know and feel the same amount of love that I have for them.

Sometimes I am spread super thin with everything I have to do for my son, that I catch myself falling behind on the “in the moment” category.

But when I put everything down and am “in the moment” with my children, I just look at both of them and think “Gosh, I Love Them”.