Every morning I have an internal battle. In my old (single) life, I would get out of bed at 6am to go running, training for a race by clocking mile after mile as the sun came up. These days, I wake up to the sound of my kids calling for mommy and my sneakers just don’t have the same pull. It’s not that I don’t want to lace up and go, but life is different now.
There’s a lot of build-up around becoming a parent and while a lot of the extra anxiety we create for ourselves is unnecessary, there is some truth to the fact that your former self and your new self as a mom probably aren’t the same person. You can’t do the same things anymore simply because there’s less time. Unless you have a really awesome support system, organizing your life with a baby is just different.
I talk to a lot of moms and I often hear “I’m a mom now, so I don’t have time to work out anymore” or “I’m a mom now and I have other priorities”.
Many moms lose themselves in motherhood and put aside their own schedules for the benefit of the family. However, being healthy and working out isn’t just about fitting into your skinny jeans or getting back the body you had before pregnancy. The goal of eating well and being active is to be healthy.
Taking small steps now are important to create a strong foundation that will increase the chances that you can be there when your son has his first child, or when your daughter gets her first job. It’s about enjoying life free from preventable ailments. To complete these small steps, it’s important to foster awareness around the importance of taking time out for yourself.
In my own life, I have found the following things to be helpful in finding a happy balance between my old life and my new one.
- Start small but set your health as a priority. I truly believe that all moms should consider that making time for you is not selfish. Rather, it’s vital for every member of the family to have some “me time”. Happy moms help create happy children. And healthy people are usually also happy people.
- Staying healthy doesn’t exclusively mean exercising. It’s not always a physical workout that you need; a mental rest can do amazing things for your health. Giving yourself an opportunity to clear your mind and relax is a smart choice.
- If making time for a solo workout is just too stressful, involve the family! Get creative and find something that works. If your child is young, incorporating some at-home moves while she plays on the ground can make her laugh while you gain strength. Putting on some music and dancing gives everyone a chance to wiggle and stretch.
- As your kids get older, you can introduce family sports like soccer and basketball. Try to keep things fun and non-competitive. Getting some exercise shouldn’t seem like a chore for kids.
- Finally, look for support in your community. If you and the other moms at your playgroup only get together for coffee and unhealthy snacks, propose an alternative, like a play date at the park or a group walk. There will likely be other moms who are just as keen. It won’t replace the coffee and snacks but maybe you’ll make extra plans for another, more exercise-oriented outing.
It’s crucial for your future to learn from who you were before your life as a parent began. Don’t go so far back that you make yourself stressed about fitting in every workout or feel guilty about every meal. But, remembering the value that you once placed on yourself before welcoming baby into your life is a really important tool for establishing a good, health-oriented routine.