I am tired of hearing about getting my body, life, relationship, or abs "back" after having a baby. I hope that you all join me in finally releasing the pressure we all put on ourselves and acknowledge that it is a false premise that we ever get anything 'back' after we have a baby. We never get our body back, our lives back, or relationships back.If you really think about it—beyond the short fantasies of relaxing Saturday mornings, the ridiculous metabolism you had in your teens, or how much sleep you got—do you really want the old you back if it means giving up all that you have now?
We hold on to this fantasy ideal of getting something back to when we thought it was perfect. Maybe an idea of our twenties when we were so free, stylish, and uninhibited. However, if I'm really honest with myself, my early twenties were very messy. I am way healthier and happier now.
I know that as a new mom I do need to find my groove and figure out who this new person is—the mom me.
It's hard to do because, well... I'm tired, I don't feel like I have the umph and I also feel quite frumpy.
I'm still in new-baby-survival-mode—even one year later. I'm grazing on whatever food is around because I don't take time to make real food for myself, I'm not working out, I'm not making time to see my friends, my husband and I are not spending quality time together, and still putting 150% into my little man when he's probably okay to have a little space here and there.
I decided it's time to take action and make myself a priority in my life.
Lucky for me, my sister is a certified health coach. We had many sessions to talk about why I wasn't making my health and well-being a high priority in my life (things like it feels like they're just one more thing to think about, I don't have the time, I don't feel inspired, we don't have the money to spend, and throw in a tiny bit of a martyr complex to boot).
This has helped me put strategies in place to make sure I'm creating my new balance, new normal—and to find that what I lost. Here they are:
1. Meal plan for me
We were already meal planning for my son, but I would always forget myself. So now I plan out breakfast, lunch, dinner and easy snacks. The key is finding things that I can prepare ahead of time easily or things that I can just grab and eat.
I take barre classes which I love. I've been going since I needed to get in shape for my wedding six years ago, went all throughout my pregnancy, and as soon as I was cleared to workout again. The studio I go to also has online workouts that are great. I love that I can modify and do my own thing, so some days I go all out, and some days I really just focus on breathing and moving but don't push myself.
3. Get outside
Fresh air helps me so much. If I'm grumpy (or if my son is), nothing clears our bad moods up right away like a good walk around the neighborhood. We live in Seattle so the weather isn't always welcoming, but I usually have everything ready so if there's a good window, I bundle up my son and we go.
I can easily spend all my time fixated on my son and his eating, sleeping, playing or whatever I'm learning about/worrying about/studying at the moment. I've found it really helps to have a book or podcast or music that is totally unrelated to babies. It keeps my brain stimulated and changes up my daily routine here and there.
5. Mom friends
I've found a handful of other moms with kids the same age who I keep in touch about our current happenings. We share ideas, strategies and get our babies together to play. Other friends without kids don't seem to be as fascinated by which foods are most appealing to my son or what I'm trying to keep him entertained, so it's nice to have a mom pack that really understand what I'm going through and who have genuinely helpful ideas and feedback.
It's so easy to fall into just being teammates with our partners in the trenches of parenthood. Once the baby is in bed, all I want to do is be quiet, have a glass of wine, go to bed and read without touching anyone.
However, an intimate relationship does not work that way. I make an effort to do what I need to do to feel sexy—because it has been the farthest thing from what I've felt lately—and so, in order to do that, I've had to let go of the past. I will never get my pre-baby body back, but I can be way stronger and sexier than I ever was. I can be more confident and fulfilled. I can create and embrace the new me.
I have the power to turn my new life into whatever I choose. It can be one where I am a tired, frumpy martyr or one where I'm a vibrant, inspired, loving, hot-mama—and I'm consciously choosing the latter every day.