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.

2. Move

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.

4. Interests

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.

6. Relationship

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.

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Back when my husband and I were creating our wedding registry, it was a fun, low-pressure opportunity to select some new dishes and linens. After all, I knew a thing or two about stocking my home and making the "wrong decision" with thread count was the only thing that posed any risk to my sleep at night.

Fast-forward a few years to when I created a baby registry before the birth of my first child—and I found the experience to have a much steeper learning curve. Unlike those sheets, it felt like a bad swaddle or bassinet selection would be catastrophic. Unsure of what to expect from motherhood or my baby, I leaned heavily on advice from friends who already ventured into parenthood. (Starting with their reminders to take deep breaths!)


Now a mom of three little ones under the age of four, I'm happy to be in a position to pass along some baby registry wisdom.

Go shopping with a veteran parent

As first-time parents, my husband and I barely knew the difference between a bouncer and a swing, let alone what specific features we would want. So when a mom friend recommended we head to Walmart to build my registry together—because she found them to carry the trendy brands she loved AND make registering a breeze during her pregnancy—I leapt at the chance.

By walking through the aisles together and actually getting to see the products, I was much more confident in my registry selections. Thanks to that quick, in-store tutorial from my friend, I understood exactly how to match a perfect infant car seat with an extra base and stroller—which is something I would have been clueless about on my own.

Include items at a variety of price points

When it comes down to it, a registry is really a wish list. So, while I had a personal budget for a stroller if it had to come out of my own pocket, this was an opportunity for me to ask for the stroller of my dreams. And, wouldn't you know it? A few family members went in on it together, which made a bigger price tag much more manageable.

At the same time, it's nice to include some of the smaller ticket items that are absolutely essential. I can't even begin to tell you how grateful I was to skip buying my own diapers for those first few weeks. (With super cute patterns, these are also surprisingly fun to give, too!)

Think about the gifts you would like to give

The first time I bought a mom-to-be a gift after my own child was born, I knew immediately what to look for on her registry: a diaper bag backpack, which I had come to have very strong opinions about after battling falling straps with my first diaper bag. This allowed me to feel like I had a personal touch in my gift, even if I brought one pre-selected by her.

I also appreciate it when my friends clearly incorporate their style into their registry choices, like with adorable baby outfits or nursery decor—and there's no sweeter "thank you" than a picture from a friend showing your gift in use.

Ask for things to grow with your child

Even though it's called a baby registry, there's no need to limit yourself to gifts to use before their first birthday. (To this day, I still have people who attended my baby shower to thank for the convertible bed that my oldest child sleeps in!) Knowing that, I would have included more options with long lifespans into my registry—namely, a baby carrier that can be used during the newborn months, baby months and well into the toddler years. A well-designed baby carrier would have saved my back from serious pain because it would have allowed me to comfortably and ergonomically carry my toddler as she made her way into the 25lb+ club. One brand that's designed to grow with your baby and accommodates 7-45 pounds (up to about four years old) and offers both inward and forward-facing positions is Ergobaby. With several different design and style options, you can easily find one that caters to your parenting needs. From an all-in-one carrier, like the Omni 360, that grows with baby from the newborn stages into the toddler years or a newborn-specific carrier, like the Embrace (and don't worry you can later upgrade to a carrier for an older baby, I recommend the 360 Carrier). The best part? All ergonomic designs are supportive and comfortable for both baby and parent, offering extra lumbar support with breathable, lightweight mesh styles. Everyone (even grandparents!) can get a kick out of babywearing, which is a nice and welcomed break for parents. Having one of these on my registry would have certainly made those first few years so much easier.

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

This article was sponsored by Ergobaby. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Ask any mama where she has tension in her back and chances are she’ll say on the left side. That’s because research shows some 70 to 85% of women typically carry their babies on the left side of their bodies.

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