Women of The Well

The women of The Well are trained professionals in public health, local food sourcing and a variety of wellness related topics. They are also all three mothers with children still in the home.

The women of The Well are trained professionals in public health, local food sourcing and a variety of wellness-related topics. They are also all three mothers with children still in the home.

So how do these experts bring what they teach and live every day at work into their homes in an attempt to raise healthy children? I thought it would be fun to ask. Here are their answers.

Executive Director Melody Bays: Leading by example has always been the name of the game in our family. For me, it has always been easier to show my kiddo what is means to be healthy instead of teaching the mechanics of it, especially when she was younger and her vocabulary was limited. She just knew that when we got home from daycare or preschool, we’d be spending most of our time outside, running around, playing and getting muddy.

The same story applies now that she’s in elementary school, but we can talk about the “why” behind physical activity now. How keeping our bodies moving makes our heart, muscles, bones and brain stronger. We have more discussions around what we eat too, being intentional around building a colorful plate when we eat.

“That half of the plate is looking a little brown — what can we do to make it look more like a rainbow?”

Fortunately my kiddo hasn’t found a fruit or vegetable she doesn’t like, but lean protein can sometimes be a struggle for us. Every kiddo is different, and what works for us might not be what works for someone else. But at the end of the day, what we do as a family is what our kiddo is going to pick up on, and that feels pretty universal.

Community Engagement Director Tara Douglas: I think the best way for children to learn healthy habits is to see them modeled in their household. As the mom of a busy toddler, we are always looking for new creative ways for him to get the wiggles out.

When it comes down to it though, he loves nothing more than for his parents to play with him, so we spend lots of time outside in the yard and taking walks around the neighborhood. We try to make trying new foods an exciting experience.

I encourage him to “play with his food,” asking him questions about the color and texture of different fruits and veggies. Of course, he also wants to eat anything that I’m eating, which has really held me accountable for my food choices.

One of the best things you can do for the health of your child is for them to have a healthy mom, and I know like so many others, it’s sometimes hard to prioritize self-care when juggling work, childcare, etc. It’s hard to pour from an empty cup, so this Mother’s Day I hope all the mothers by blood or by love are able to take a minute for yourselves. You’re doing a great job.

Farm Market Manager Kate Cooper: It’s really important to me to teach my children where their food comes from and what real, whole foods look like. My oldest was four when we started farming and participating in farmers markets, so my children have quite literally grown up surrounded by people who grow, raise, and bake their own food.

It always makes me so excited when spring comes around, and they are asking to help plant or begging to move back to a farm. I love that they are growing up with a strong knowledge base of the food system, able to grow their own food and be capable of advocating for small farmers.

Happy Mother’s Day from everyone at The Well, Cleveland County and the Cleveland County Health Department.

Come out to the Norman Farm Market from 4-7 p.m. on Tuesdays or from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays. You can learn for free and connect with community by signing up for classes at The Well at thewellok.org/all-classes/.

Joy Hampton is a public information officer for Cleveland County.

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