You’d think working out after pregnancy on a regular basis would be pretentiously easy because… Well gym-life, right?
I wanted to be just like those Crossfit-moms on Facebook, fitting an active lifestyle into “momlife”. In a perfect world (or in a “Facebook world) this would not have been a problem at all.
When you become a mom, your world changes.
1. Your baby doesn’t care about your workout.
Not only do you change, but so does your baby. In fact, your baby changes every day and your plans change accordingly. He/she may be sick, sleepless, in a bad mood… you never know.
All the responsibilities and things to do can clutter up our day, and in no time it’s already 9pm, we’re tired, we have a headache, we’ve got nothing done yet and we need to get some sleep as soon as possible.
2. Putting yourself first will be hard.
Being a mom I can definitely see how easy it is to stray away from good habits and lose yourself in the day-to-day life of taking care of your child. And people will even support that: “Isn’t she a great mom, she’s so dedicated and always puts her kids first.”
And then there’s this crowd: “She put her child in day-care three times a week when he was just 8 months old so she could have time to work out, that’s so self-centred.”
Have you ever wondered why on commercial airplanes they tell you to put your oxygen mask on first, before you help your child? Yeah, exactly!
3. Everyone will be an expert on your health, and your life in general.
There’s no other area of life where people would feel a greater need to comment and dissect a woman’s choice on how to live her own “motherhood” life. It seems that once you become a mother, you also automatically become a public figure (whether you post pictures of working out on Facebook or not).
This results in a load of controversial recommendations and “life/fitness rules” made by self-proclaimed experts (on your life and health, mind you) who think their view on health and motherhood is universally applicable to everyone else. Trust me, I know what I am talking about.
4. You will hear controversial opinions which may lead to insecurity and feelings of guilt.
When you work out and take care of yourself in general, it goes like this:
“How does she do it?”
“She’s back in shape after 3 months? She must have body image issues.”
“She really shouldn’t be doing pull ups, it can’t be good.”
“Her poor husband works all day and when he gets home he has to watch the kids so she can enjoy a Crossfit class?”
“Why does she have children if she doesn’t have time?”
Or, if you are a stay-at-home mom and you don’t find the time to work out right away, it goes like this:
“How can she be so lazy?”
“Is being a mom all she does all day?”
“Her children are going to grow up being fat, too.”
“Everyone can set aside 30 minutes a day to work out.”
“Wow, and her husband doesn’t even take the time to watch the Kids two nights a week?”
5. You will have to practice staying true to yourself.
While 50 years ago, a woman had to be strong and fierce to get her needs met, today she needs to master the calmness of a Buddhist monk in order to be left alone and remain self-determined. Because whichever way she choose, somebody else thinks they know better.
There are two bottom lines here: Whatever is good for you, is good for your child. Exercise releases stress and will give you the energy you can then extend to your little one.
Secondly, only you know what’s good for you. If it feels good to do pull ups and your coach agrees, then for god’s sake do pull ups.
Stop listening to people who don’t know enough about you or your body (or anything related to anatomy and training, for that matter).
6. Let the games begin!
Alright so you got a gym membership and you’re totally motivated. However, motivation can come and go depending on your level of stress. So, no matter how much time your daily schedule offers, you won’t “find the time” to work out if you don’t actively make the time. It’s as simple as that.
How? You need to pro-actively go out there and set up a game plan for yourself:
– talk to your spouse, family and friends and ask them for support
– get a babysitter
– put working out into your calendar like a “real” appointment (because it is)
– remain flexible when it doesn’t happen because your baby has other priorities (which will occur more than once, so plan for it)
– set a date for the next time and be diligent throughout the process.
7. Haters gonna hate!
You might feel inclined to post a workout or post a picture of yourself that shows how you kicked ass today. You’re proud and you want to share it with everyone else and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Not everyone is like this and some people may even reject you stating “She’s putting pressure on other moms’ to get back in shape after giving birth” or “Who does she think she is to be such a show off?” Actually, who are you not to be?
Just know that you if you are treating your body responsibly, showing this off on Facebook will do only good: because you might motivate that mom who hasn’t found her motivation yet.
Anyone who feels intimidated or personally attacked by this needs to ask themselves why and stop projecting their own fears and self-loathing on you. Point, blank.
8. The only bad workout is the one that didn’t happen.
That said, one day without a workout won’t kill your training gains. Throwing the whole week over-board because you missed one day, however will. The point is, when you have kids, you have to let go of the previous ways you were able to handle your free time. Those 60-90 minute workout sessions may not be happening. You might have to break them up into 2 x 30 minutes. But so what? It’s still better than not working out at all.
9. Know your “why you want to work out”!
Even if you have the time or opportunity to work out, you won’t use your chances if you don’t know why you want to work out. What is the emotional connection to getting back in shape? For example, your reason could be that you want to set a good example for your child. By taking care of yourself, you’ll teach him or her that self-care is important. By putting yourself first, you will be a better Mom, trust me.
He or she will form good habits that last a lifetime, isn’t that what you want?