The Bouncing Back Myth: Tips for Creating the NEW You
I am so tired of hearing about getting my body, life, relationship, or abs BACK after having a baby. I hope that you all join me in finally releasing the pressure we all put on ourselves and acknowledge that it is a false premise that we ever get anything ‘back’ after we have a baby. We never get our body back, our lives back, or relationships back.
If you really think about it, beyond the short fantasies of relaxing Saturday mornings, the ridiculous metabolism you had in your teens, or sleep…do you really want the old you back if it means giving up all the new you have now?
We hold on to this fantasy ideal of getting something back to when we thought it was perfect. Maybe an idea of our twenties when we were so free, stylish, and uninhibited. However if we’re really honest with ourselves – or if I’m really honest with MYSELF, my early twenties were very messy. I am way healthier and happier now. And I wasn’t stylish or uninhibited…but I digress.
I know that as a new mom I DO need to find my juju and figure out who this new person is, the mom me. I need to own and create my new identity, body, and life. It’s hard to do because I’m tired, I don’t have umph and feel quite frumpy. I’m still in new baby survival mode – 1-year later! I’m grazing on whatever because I don’t take time to make real food for myself, I’m not working out, not making time to see my friends, not spending QT with my hubbie, and still putting 150% into my little man when he’s probably ok to have a little space here and there.
I decided it’s time to take action and put myself as a priority. I wouldn’t say ‘first’ BUT I haven’t been making myself a priority at all. I recently had a health scare and it made me realize how important my health was. If I were to really get sick because I didn’t take care of myself, it would hurt more than just me!
Lucky for me my sister is a certified health coach (www.brilliancewellness.com). We had sessions to talk about why I wasn’t putting my health as a priority (feels like just one more thing, no time, no inspiration, no money, tiny bit of a martyr complex thrown in). This has helped me put strategies in place to make sure I’m creating my new balance, new normal, and new me – and recover that lost juju.
Here’s what I’ve been doing to get my juju going:
1) Meal plan for ME.
We were already meal planning for dinners and my son, but I would always forget myself. So now I plan out breakfast, lunch and easy snacks. The key is finding things that I can prepare ahead of time easily or things that I can just grab and eat. Ideas for breakfasts are oatmeal with nut butter and berries, eggs, and fruit. Lunch is usually having a big box of organic spinach or mixed greens ready to go and adding avocados, lunch meat or leftover chicken, sliced apples, and some cherry tomatoes. Very quick to throw together! Snacks are trail mix (without candy), carrots and hummus, date bars, fruit, or dinner leftovers.
I go to barre3 which I LOVE. I’ve been going since I needed to get in shape for my wedding 6 years ago, went all through my pregnancy, and as soon as I was cleared to workout again. They also have online workouts that are great. I love that I can modify and do my own thing, so some days I go all out, and some days I really just focus on breathing and moving but don’t push myself.
3) Get outside.
Fresh air helps me so much. If I’m grumpy (or my son is), nothing clears it up right away like a good walk around the neighborhood. I live in Seattle so the weather isn’t always welcoming, but I have everything ready so if there’s a good window I bundle up my son and we go.
I can easily spend all my time fixated on my son and his eating, sleeping, playing or whatever I’m learning about/worrying about/studying at the moment. I’ve found it really helps to have a book or podcast or music that is totally unrelated to babies. It keeps my brain stimulated and learning.
5) Mom friends.
I’ve found a handful of other moms with kids the same age that we keep in touch about our current happenings. We share ideas, strategies and get our babies together to ‘play.’ Others without kids don’t seem to be as fascinated by which foods are most appealing to my son, or what I’m trying to keep him entertained. So it’s nice to have a mom pack that really understand what you’re going through and have genuinely helpful ideas and feedback.
It’s so easy to fall into just being partners with your hubbie. Once the baby is in bed all I want to do is be quiet, have a glass of wine, go to bed and read without touching anyone. However an intimate relationship does not work that way! I make an effort to do what I need to do to feel sexy, because it has been the farthest thing from what I’ve felt, and that makes it hard to keep any spark alive!
In order to make room for the new, I've had to let go of the past. I will never get my body back, but I can be way stronger and sexier than I ever was! I can be more confident and fulfilled. I can create and embrace the new me. I have the power to turn my new life into whatever I choose. It can be one where I am a tired, frumpy martyr or one where I’m a vibrant, inspired, loving, hot-mama – it’s a choice I make every day.
How have you embraced your new life as a mom? Have you struggled with wanting parts of the old you back? How have you gotten out of survival into figuring out the new normal? Love to hear from you, mamas!