Diana Archer Mills was, quite literally, born into the world of fitness. Her grandfather, Les Mills, founded the fitness company that bears his name. We spoke with Diana, a mom of four, about how busy moms can incorporate exercise into their day, a clever parenting hack, and a surprising insight about other peoples’ negative emotions.
Congratulations on your success with BodyFlow! What’s it like to work in the family business?
It’s amazing because we are all super tight. My parents were very chill when we were growing up, and we are lucky to have great relationships with them both now.
Do you have any fitness tips for moms who’re “in the trenches”?
Get it when you can! If you’ve got a spare 15 minutes, use it! Throw on a video and go hard until the baby wakes up. Walk wherever you can, don’t feel weird about lunging and squatting in the park while your kids play. And most importantly- PLAY with your kids. It really is a workout to jump on a trampoline, build forts and play whatever game they’re into that day. Seriously – have you ever had to act like a frog for 5 minutes? It’s like HIIT training.
How can parents instill a love of fitness in our kids?
Get them up off the couch – walk/run/bike with them! Or get them online to Les Mills On Demand and try a Born To Move class for their age group – it’s free and it is so much fun! There are classes for 2 to 3-year-olds all the way through to 13 to 16-year-olds!
If you could hand off one chore to someone else each day, what would it be?
Getting everyone to brush their darn teeth at night. It’s still a battle, even with the big boys.
What is your favorite thing to do to relax and unwind?
COOK! I love to cook, so when I’m alone in the house, even if it’s my intention to lie down or read a book, I’m always drawn back to the kitchen. Cooking also allows me to dream up new, inventive ways to trick my kids into eating more vegetables.
What is your best parenting hack?
Blending superfoods into ‘treats’ like blueberry and spinach in brownie mixture, or beetroot and cauliflower in burger patties. They feel spoiled and I feel extremely sneaky and successful, so it’s a win/win.
What is the best white lie that you’ve told your child?
That I’m very ticklish on my back – my kids are pretty big and rough, so it’s like a mini back rub!
If you could describe motherhood/fatherhood in one word, what would it be?
What’s one moment in your motherhood journey that has made you proud?
Breastfeeding through mastitis and cracked nipples with my firstborn. I had inverted nipples and didn’t know, so it was awful. But I pushed through, and fed all of them until they were between 16 and 18 months old.
What is one piece of advice you want to pass along to your children?
Other peoples’ negative emotions are not about you. They choose to feel the way they do, and if we can see that they feel a certain way without feeling guilty/angry/sad/attacked, we can start to understand what they actually need from us and decide if we can help them instead of reacting from a place of emotion. It’s a big conversation (a series of conversations, really) but they really do get it, and it helps builds them up against a world full of potential hurts.
What is one piece of advice you would pass along to other moms?
Don’t EVER listen to the haters. We are all doing this differently, and as best as we can, so just congratulate yourself that you’re giving part of yourself and your life to care for and nourish another person.
How do you tackle the work/life balance?
Head on. Sleep when you’re dead. I back this reckless attitude up with phenomenal nutrition and the best supplements, and my husband and I take turns to wake up with the kids.
What was the last book you read?
The ACTUAL last book was ‘Winnie the Witch’, because my 3-year-old is obsessed with it, and fair enough, it’s a pretty decent story, even after 30 read-throughs cover to cover!
Favorite Beauty Product: Trilogy Everything Balm
Favorite Form of Exercise: Walking— we walk everywhere as a family, and I work within two miles of home so I walk to and from work each day, rain or shine. It clears my mind, keeps me in the outside world and it’s beautiful in any weather so long as I have the right outfit.
What is on your DVR? Survivor! There’s something about sitting down with my final snack of the day and watching a group of people who’ve worked out way too hard enjoying a delicious reward that gives me a sense of community. Ha!
Favorite App: Online grocery shopping apps save so much time and I only buy the food we need, not the food I’m craving.
Favorite Kids Store: This beautiful little bookshop up the road from our house Dorothy Butler – it’s a playground and a bookstore in one basically. I love instilling an adoration of books in my tiny intellectuals!