You can follow along with Heidi’s journey at her blog, Life in Pink…
How I balance Mama-time and Me-time
Seven weeks ago, I became a mama. It seems so long ago, and yet not long at all. Time flies when you live your life in 3 hour blocks between feedings.
Before my husband and I found out we were expecting our son, Ethan, I was a running rockstar. I was putting in 30 miles or so each week, setting PR after PR and training for my first triathlon. Not only that, my husband and I were partners, running and biking together. It was a happy-go- lucky summer of fitness last year. And guess what? I completed the triathlon. But at the time I didn’t know I was five weeks pregnant.
Now, as a new mom, I’m balancing a strong desire to get back in shape after a seven month hiatus due to SI Joint issues, plus a severe lack of sleep. When I got the go ahead to workout again, I went to a hot yoga class the next day, and it was a lot harder than I had anticipated.
Those chatarungas? Yowza! But it felt really good at the end of class to know that I had gotten out there. And while I was sore and tired, it felt amazing to be drenched in sweat for the first time in too many months.
You see, with drive and commitment, you can overtake any obstacles or setbacks in your life. But you still need to be flexible. Not that I consider Ethan a setback, but finding time for myself is a bit more of a challenge than it was a year ago – a challenge I welcome.
So to set myself up for success, I set goals for myself. I want stay healthy and find that sliver of me-time to maintain not just my physical health, but mental health as well.
Here’s how I fit in time to be healthy and active, while still being the best mama I can be:
- Set goals. The first thing I did after getting the go ahead from my OB to run again was sign up for a race. A 10k might have seemed lofty for someone who hasn’t ran since September of last year, but the race itself is a favorite of mine, and I decided I would not run it for time. Setting goals is a good way to make sure you stay committed to yourself and keep healthy balances in all aspects of life.
- Eat healthy. I meal plan each week. I try to stick with it as best I can, but the desire to order out is often a strong one. Meal planning and grocery shopping as I did before baby ensures that I eat healthy and keep myself properly fueled even if I don’t have the energy to go out for a run.
- Be flexible. Listen, no one is going to yell at you if you miss a run or don’t go to the gym. You’re not on the high school track team anymore, and the only person you’re reporting to is yourself. I’ve been running on, at most, 5-6 hours of interrupted sleep, I’m not going to get myself down if I choose a 2 hour nap mid-afternoon over a 3 mile run. Being flexible means you don’t feel that you’ve failed when things don’t go according to training schedule.
- Find friends. Friends to help watch baby while you go to the gym for an hour. Friends to go for a long walk with. Friends to cry to when you feel overwhelmed and exhausted. (Bonus if they offer to watch baby while you nap). Don’t hold your emotions in. Talk with your partner, talk to your pals, talk to your family. Talk about your goals, and how important it is to stay healthy – not just for your own sanity, but also to be a positive influence on your child.
- Take it slow. I have to remind myself of this every day. My body went through some pretty massive changes. I had a C-section due to Ethan being in breech. I was sidelined by joint issues that are common during pregnancy and had 12 weeks of physical therapy. My body isn’t where it was last year, and it’s going to take time to get it back. Don’t feel bad when you walk for a few minutes during that run. Don’t feel bad when you can’t hold downward dog as long as you used to or if you need to modify plank pose. Your body will get back to all of those amazing things that you used to be able to do, it’ll just take time.
Being a mama is an amazing job but let’s be honest, it’s not all rainbows and sunshine when you’re getting up at 3 am to nurse, when all you want is ten more minutes of sleep at 6:30 am but baby doesn’t want to give it to you.
One thing I keep in mind at all times is that while baby is my first priority, if I completely let myself go, I’m worthless to him and myself.
How do you find balance between yourself and your family?