There was a part of me that had lay dormant my whole life until the moment my son Sky was born. An unconditional love was born, stronger than any other love I have ever felt for anything or anyone. I wanted to be super-mom. I wanted to do everything right for this little human.
It’s funny how life works. You can plan perfection, but nothing is ever like you expect it to be.
In focusing so much on doing everything perfectly for Sky, I had slightly forgotten about myself. I wasn’t eating when I should have been because I was busy making my own baby food and feeding him. I took 3 second showers because I didn’t want to be away from him for too long. I didn’t leave any room for my yoga practice because I was so busy tending to him and napping during his nap times.
Motherhood. It is the most beautiful time, the most rewarding time, and the toughest time. It is an adjustment period and you get tested daily, yet for me, seeing that face made everything better and my restless nights were instantly forgotten. Our bodies can do wonderful things, especially as women, and I was amazed at the strength and endurance I had to get through these times.
After a while, my lifestyle started to get to me. I was more tired, I lost a ton of weight beyond what felt healthy, my body was achy and stiff, and I just felt like I didn’t have any time for myself.
How do we make time for ourselves amongst this huge change in our lives?
The simple answer is practice. We just have to be conscious of it, find ways that adapt to our new lifestyle, and make it a routine.
I had to remind myself that as much as I love being Sky’s mom, I knew I needed to take care of myself too. The better I took care of myself, the better I could care for him. After all, I had to set a good example for him.
I started with my diet. If I could take the time to cook healthy meals for Sky, I could sure take the time to make them for myself too. It doesn’t make sense to take time to cook healthy food for your baby and then eat unhealthy yourself just to quickly get a meal in. I started planning and cooking meals that we could both have, even if I had to change a thing or two to make it easier for him to eat, I was still cooking one meal. Meal prepping for the next day or two was really a time saver. Juicing in the morning or making a healthy smoothie for both of us was a great way to start the day off with getting nutrients into our system. I even got a vegetarian cookbook for creative meals for kids to get some inspiration on fun ways to include veggies in the diet (forest feast for kids).
Once I started work again and Sky started preschool, I’d plan our week’s menu, do groceries once a week that are based on that menu (saves time and money because you are not buying unnecessary things), and motivate myself to cook, even on those days when I feel lazy and tired. Your dinner leftovers can easily turn into your lunch for the next day, so cooking a little extra doesn’t have to be a waste. Find creative ways to utilize your leftovers! There are great references (like The School Year Survival Cookbook by Laura Keogh and Ceri Marsh) that can help guide you with healthy meal prep and creative and simple recipes. There’s also nothing wrong with having an off night and ordering in! You gotta have balance.
As much as you want to be supermom, know that all your efforts and love definitely make you super, but you are also human.
Making time for exercising, for me, personally was tough. You get tired, and that is all part of it. However, I knew it needed to be done. Once I got back into the routine, it made me feel amazing and more energized. All my aches and pains from carrying Sky all the time were soothed.
Make it fun for both of you! Do a mommy and me yoga or dance class. Form a practice at home with one of the many online class memberships available these days while baby naps. It’s even fun if you do it together! Make baby's playtime yoga or exercise time for you. Sign up for a class when you know you have a a free hour or two in your weekly schedule. I had to remind myself that it’s just 30-40 minutes of my day, and it IS possible.
I learned that I don’t have to do everything by myself. I love having my son with me all the time, but asking family members to help watch him actually gives me a chance to recharge, take a long shower, do groceries, clean, meal prep, practice yoga, and even get to see friends and socialize.
As much as planning things out can be a pain, it actually really helps. Balance is key, but so is routine. Children need routine, and I’ve found that it really makes life easier for me too.
It is true, when you have children, your whole life changes. Your focus changes. You begin to put them first, and I believe that is an important mentality to have. However, YOUR life doesn't end when theirs begins. So, don’t forget about yourself. You are strong, you’re their support system, and their backbone. You're their mama bear. They need you to be healthy and well. Take charge of your life. Take charge of your health. Care for yourself. Take a yoga class, go to the gym. Take an extra minute to make yourself feel pretty. Put on some lipstick and get your nails done. You deserve it. At the same time, ENJOY your kids, have fun, cherish all of your moments, and do it in a healthy and vibrant way. Come full circle and connect back to yourself.