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Motherhood is: Wondering 'When will I feel like myself again?'

The truth is, your definition of "myself" will change during this time.

Motherhood is: Wondering 'When will I feel like myself again?'

I remember, near the end of my first pregnancy, this feeling of anticipation as I looked forward to not only meeting my baby, but also to getting back to feeling like myself.

For the last nine months I had watched my body change as I packed on the pounds and grew a belly, adjusted my diet to include more protein, iron and a daily host of supplements, and switched to an even more limited wardrobe filled with stretchy pants, side-shirred shirts and flat shoes. The thought of wearing normal clothes, eating sushi and being able to sit on the floor and see my feet sounded amazing! I just wanted to go back to feeling normal.

While I did all of those things shortly after my son was born, including fitting back into my old jeans, feeling like myself again took quite a bit longer.

The timelines

A lot of new moms are eager to know when they will find this magical moment of feeling like themselves. Is it six months, 12 months or two years after giving birth? Having a timeline certainly would have helped me see the light at the end of the tunnel. To know that I only had three more months to go before it would all click would have been just the motivation I needed to keep going. But instead, I found myself in a sometimes dark and gray tunnel moving forward day-by-day starting to question if this was going to be how I would feel indefinitely.

The time frame is different for everyone and depends on so many different factors and circumstances. Things like birth experience, health issues or lack thereof, community and family support, sleep deprivation and a host of other things contribute to an individual mom's experience and when she will start feeling like herself again.

The truth is, your definition of "myself" will change during this time.

Even if you get back to your old activities, your work, your general daily routine, you've now added a huge responsibility to your life—that of being a mom. For better or worse that changes you, and assuming or looking forward to getting back to someone who no longer exists will likely lead to disappointment.

Instead, try to focus on returning to a place of acceptance and confidence in who you are now. It is likely those feelings that you remember and think of when you think of feeling like yourself.

What you can do now

If you're in that early stage of motherhood, wondering how long you will be living in this gray and murky space between your old self and your new self, there are a few things you can do to start taking steps forward today.

One exercise I like to recommend to new moms, particularly if you are a visual person, is to create a Venn diagram.

  • On the left side of your diagram, list out the activities, traits and feelings that you loved about your pre-mom-self.
  • On the right side of your diagram, list out the activities, traits and feelings that you recognize in yourself as a new mom.
  • Now, look for any areas where you see overlap, or more importantly, where you can CREATE overlap and jot those down in the center.

Having trouble finding the overlap? See if my own personal diagram helps inspire some ideas.

It's just one step in the journey to your new normal, but articulating those thoughts and getting them down on paper is a great way to bring them to the surface and commit to taking some action. You will find yourself slowly but surely. And I hope that the person you find is even better than the one you so fondly remember.

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These challenges from Nike PLAYlist are exactly what my child needs to stay active

Plus a fall family bucket list to keep everyone moving all season long.

While it's hard to name anything that the pandemic hasn't affected, one thing that is constantly on my mind is how to keep my family active despite spending more time indoors. Normally, this time of year would be spent at dance and gymnastics lessons, meeting up with friends for games and field trips, and long afternoon playdates where we can all let off a little steam. Instead, we find ourselves inside more often than ever before—and facing down a long winter of a lot more of the same.

I started to search for an outlet that would get my girls moving safely while we social distance, but at first I didn't find a lot of solutions. Online videos either weren't terribly engaging for my active kids, or the messaging wasn't as positive around the power of movement as I would like. Then I found the Nike PLAYlist.

I always knew that Nike could get me moving, but I was so impressed to discover this simple resource for parents. PLAYlist is an episodic sports show on YouTube that's made for kids and designed to teach them the power of expressing themselves through movement. The enthusiastic kid hosts immediately captured my daughter's attention, and I love how the physical activity is organically incorporated in fun activities without ever being specifically called out as anything other than play. For example, this segment where the kids turn yoga into a game of Paper Scissors Rock? Totally genius. The challenges from #TheReplays even get my husband and me moving more when our daughter turns it into a friendly family competition. (Plus, I love the play-inspired sportswear made just for kids!)

My daughter loves the simple Shake Ups at the beginning of the episode and is usually hopping off the couch to jump, dance and play within seconds. One of her favorites is this Sock Flinger Shake Up activity from the Nike PLAYlist that's easy for me to get in on too. Even after we've put away the tablet, the show inspires her to create her own challenges throughout the day.

The best part? The episodes are all under 5 minutes, so they're easy to sprinkle throughout the day whenever we need to work out some wiggles (without adding a lot of screen time to our schedule).

Whether you're looking for simple alternatives to P.E. and sports or simply need fun ways to help your child burn off energy after a day of socially distanced school, Nike's PLAYlist is a fun, kid-friendly way to get everyone moving.

Need more movement inspiration for fall? Here are 5 ways my family is getting up and getting active this season:

1. Go apple picking.

Truly, it doesn't really feel like fall until we've picked our first apple. (Or had our first bite of apple cider donut!) Need to burn off that extra cinnamon-sugar energy? Declare a quick relay race up the orchard aisle—winner gets first to pick of apples at home.

To wear: These Printed Training Tights are perfect for when even a casual walk turns into a race (and they help my daughter scurry up a branch for the big apples).

2. Visit a pumpkin patch.

We love to pick up a few locally grown pumpkins to decorate or cook with each year. Challenge your child to a "strongman" contest and see who can lift the heaviest pumpkin while you're there.

To wear: Suit up your little one in comfort with this Baby Full Zip Coverall so you're ready for whatever adventures the day brings.

3. Have a nature scavenger hunt.

Scavenger hunts are one of my favorite ways to keep my daughter preoccupied all year long. We love to get outside and search for acorns, leaves and pinecones as part of our homeschool, but it's also just a great way to get her exercising those gross motor skills whenever the wiggles start to build up.

To wear: It's not truly fall until you break out a hoodie. This cozy Therma Elite Kids Hoodie features a mesh overlay to release heat while your child plays.

4. Have a touch-football game.

Tip for parents with very little kids: It doesn't have to last as long as a real football game. 😂 In fact, staging our own mini-games is one of our favorite ways to get everyone up and moving in between quarters during Sunday football, and I promise we all sleep better that night.

To wear: From impromptu games of tag to running through our favorite trails, these kids' Nike Air Zoom Speed running shoes are made to cover ground all season long.

5. Create an indoor obstacle course.

Pretending the floor is lava was just the beginning. See how elaborate your personal course can get, from jumping on the couch to rolling under the coffee table to hopping down the hallway on one foot.

To wear: These ready-for-any-activity Dri-FIT Tempo Shorts are perfect for crawling, hopping and racing—and cuddling up when it's time to rest.

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

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