The world wind emotions of being super excited pregnant, anxious about delivery, utterly in love when the baby has arrived has all died down. Baby blues are a real thing. It’s been a couple of crazy months and I love mommy life, but it is exhausting. You have to be on every minute of every hour. Everyday consists of deciding if I’m going to eat, take a shower, clean, take a nap, or workout during her one short morning nap of the day. I get to pick one or two things most days and that’s it. Now this is tough because I feel like I need to do all that and more just to feel even remotely productive. If you are like me and have no relatives that live close by to help with child care, even for a quick hour, you tend to get a little crazy.
I know a lot of moms, especially in the fitness world, almost feel like they have lost their purpose in life other than being mother. Motherhood is truly the best, but without some things that made happy before baby you may slip into a postpartum funk. It’s approaching Arabella’s fifth month of being on this earth and I have yet to feel kind of like my old self. Yes, I’ll take long walks with some friends and the baby, or get in a workout with her in the front pack but it’s hardly close to the feeling of being like the old me. Now, I’m excited because the new me obviously includes getting to raise a beautiful little girl, but my type A personality is hardly getting fulfilled. Before becoming a mom, I would fill my day with training as many clients as possible (because I loved it), lifting, cardio and having the time to make sure I get balanced healthy food in every meal. Now I know in the past, I would overdo it when it came to cramming every second of the day with an activity to get me to my goal of being one of the top fitness models of the world. I would have to say my goals are much different now, but I know I don’t feel at all like me. Ever since I was five or so, I was in a sport and at eleven I was figure skating competitively. In high school and college, it was figure skating, lacrosse, and soccer. It’s just in my blood to have fitness/sports in my life. Its like I need a goal (long term and short term) to make me feel happy inside. With all this being said, I wouldn’t give up any second of the time I spent with Arabella. I’m sure this resonates with a lot of new moms out there that are trying to find a part of themselves that went missing during the transition of becoming a mom.
1. Decide What You Love
The first step to getting through this funk is figuring out what things (besides being an awesome mom) you love and want for your life. As much as it is hard to accomplish things that take time out of your day, it’s important to make them a priority. Whether it be working out, reading a novel, brunch with the girls, or all of the above, it is not impossible with planning. Then WRITE it down, everything, even if it’s just a wish list of all the things you want to accomplish. Take a look and figure out if your goals are in true alignment with your values. If they are not, it might be hard to continue past a couple weeks without feeling kind of empty and unfulfilled. Prioritize the most important goals.
2. Ask for Help
Second, you need to be willing to ask for help to accomplish your goals. Sometimes it takes a team to get stuff done. For example, I just asked a trusted friend and neighbor if they would be willing to come over to “watch” Arabella 2-3 days a week, while she takes her one (somewhat) predicable nap of the day, so I can head to the closest gym for a quick, intense workout. Will it be hard for me to leave the house when in the back of my head I think she’s going to wake up early and cry for me or want to breastfeed? HECK yes it will. However, I want to accomplish certain goals with my physique so I can get back into what I love to do and feeling good every day. I also feel getting that confidence back internally will help with all aspects of my life including competition posing and presentation, nutrition seminars, personal training, parenting, friending, and “wife-ing!”
3. Hire a Professional
Third, if fitness is one of the things that make you feel like you again, are you willing to hire the appropriate expert to help you with your goals? Sometimes just hiring someone will make you more accountable to you own goals. This way you are less likely to forgo training when things come up, because things will come up. Money is a great motivator, when you pay for something you are definitely more likely to keep the commitment. With the appropriate help, you can chart a course that will get you where you want to be.
4. Prepare for Detours
Fourth, detours will happen, so be prepared to get back on track many times. To be successful with anything you do, you have to have the mindset of the pioneer. Things will go wrong and test you, be prepared for this and what you will do when it happens so it doesn’t take you off guard. Most importantly, getting back on the course is all that matters. The mindset that it’s okay to get off the path a little will help you accomplish what you need to do for you to feel like you again in the long run. Getting discouraged will only disserve you.
5. Set Short-Term Goals
Lastly, making small short term goals are going to be more attainable then feeling overwhelmed by all the things you want to become or achieve. For example, making sure you have child care for a yoga class on Mondays and Tuesdays if that is what makes you feel like you have a sense of you again. Let’s say you have a trip coming up in 2 months. Instead of dreading it make a short-term plan to feel more confident in your bathing suit. Put into action what you need to do in the next 8 weeks or so to get to your goal. You can use body measurements or the scale to make assessments. Feel great for the small achievements.
Parenting is a huge sacrifice, but ultimately you don’t have to sacrifice yourself to be a great mom or dad. Visualize your goals, set plans in motion, and take things one small step at time. Celebrate the small victories. I can’t stress enough how important it is to visualize yourself being the person you want to be every day. Small steps back into who you once were, are key. Trying to do a complete 180 back into the lifestyle you once had will not only frustrate but will be impossible while raising a child. Before you know it, not only will you have maintained your great mom status, but you will be feeling like your old self again.