Before we had our baby girl, Brinkley, my husband and I had a selfish and inconsistent schedule. We’d each come home from work, lounge around, watch TV, check emails, answer fitness questions online, take a nap….then later, at about 8:00pm, we’d go to the gym and work out.
We did what we wanted and when we wanted. It was nice but we had been married six years and felt like we wanted more. After one of my bikini competitions, we decided it was time to have a family. 10 weeks later we were pregnant! I thought it might take a year or two to get pregnant….but God had other plans! I feel blessed that little miss Brinkley came along so quickly.
Once sweet Brinkley was born, I took six weeks off from the gym as recommended by my doctor. But even when I was cleared to go work out, I felt the “mom guilt” coming on. Have you ever experienced this?
It’s those thoughts of guilt that creep into your head when you think about doing something for yourself.
Sometime between getting pregnant and giving birth, my priorities had changed from “me, me, me” to giving top priority to caring for this new, amazing little angel.
I was lucky enough to work from home so I was able to be with Brinkley and watch her grow. What a blessing! I never missed a beat. So why did I feel guilty about going to the gym at night when my husband got home from work? After all, I was bringing in an income for our family, cleaning the house and taking care of our baby. What was the deal?
I even made up an entire Fit Body After Baby workout plan (it’s free) to do from home so I could get back in shape….and it was working…but I still longed for quiet “me” time at the gym. I had to have a serious talk with myself about my fitness and personal goals.
Here are a few things I have put into place in my life that might help ease your mind, kick the “mom guilt,” and be the best version of you. Trust me, I’m no super mom, but I do know what has worked for me and keeps me pushing forward. And yes, I finally ditched the mom guilt.
1. It Does your Mind (and Sanity) Good to Get Out of the House
I remember the first time I left the house after Brinkley was born. Kent stayed home with her and encouraged me to take a little break. It must have been a week or two after her birth date. I felt like I was going on vacation and all I did was go to Target! Haha! It’s funny how your life changes when a baby comes along.
There were even days as a new parent when I couldn’t recall if I had showered. It does you good to take a break and clear your brain, even if it’s just 30-60 minutes out of the house. Go for a walk, take a drive, go get a coffee, go somewhere quiet and read your favorite book.
Those moments and activities can do a world of good for you. It’s those moments where you can really re-focus on gratitude and what you are most thankful for. For me, it made me happy to go home to my sweet husband and beautiful baby for family time versus thinking about how tired I was or getting too overwhelmed with responsibilities. Take the time to hit “reset” on your thoughts.
2. Go to the Gym
Even if you do find a great workout routine for the house, a gym workout can do you good. It gives you the opportunity to meet other moms and socialize (other than baby talk). In my opinion, when I see fit people at the gym, it really motivates me to push harder with my workouts.
Another great option is to take an exercise class to break you out of your routine and shock your body. This can help you break through plateaus, for example, if your body is not responding to proper nutrition and exercise. Some gyms even have great child care so your kiddo can interact, which is a plus!
Another thing, it doesn’t take hours in the gym to rebuild your body after having a baby. Short and intense 30 minute workouts work so well! Your nutrition determines 80% of your results anyway, so put your focus there first. You gotta eat, right?
3. Having Personal Goals is Not Selfish
For the new mom in me (months back) and the brand new moms reading this, it is NOT selfish to have personal goals. Yes, taking care of your family is super important and they do need you, but you are at your absolute best when you’re HAPPY. What is a personal goal you have been saving in the back of your mind?
It’s that thing you think about and say, “if only I had more time.”
I encourage you to start time-blocking and set aside time for it every day. It doesn’t mean you will spend hours working on it, but you will certainly chip away at your goal a little at a time.
For example, my main personal goal after having Brinkley was to finish my MBA. I took one semester off from school to have her and took my last class the fall after she was born. It worked out perfectly because my husband was willing to help me out so I could make a mad push to finish my degree.
It was tough while working and staying home with Brinkley, but we made it work and I’m so thankful we did. Afterward, I felt happy and accomplished. More importantly, I wanted to show Brinkley how to follow through with a goal.
Other great personal goals could include: getting fit, starting a new business, become a personal trainer, write a book, pay off debt, plus more! Whatever that goal is for you, start taking baby action steps every day to move toward that goal.
4. Run Your Day or the Day Runs You
During my first few months as a mom, I decided I felt way more productive when I woke up before our baby. Once she got on a decent schedule and slept through the night, I was able to get good sleep at night and wake up early. On the mornings I slept in and she woke me up, I found I felt frazzled throughout the day and played “catch up.”
When I get up just a little earlier and have a chance to have breakfast, coffee and gather my thoughts, I am just in a better place to approach my day. If you find your baby doesn’t keep a regular schedule, maybe opt for a healthy meal replacement shake for your breakfast so you don’t skip out on nourishing your body. After all, you need fuel, busy mama!
5. Don’t Let Anyone Discourage You
I have overheard people telling women in my life, “you’re a mother now, you don’t have time to do ______. You need to take care of your kids.” Don’t take that crap. Seriously!
Their opinions don’t pay your bills. If there is something you want to do that’s going to better you as a person and improve your family’s life, go for it! Sometimes we don’t all have support or someone pushing us, but if it’s in the back of your mind, it’s there for a reason. What is that quote? “If you can’t go a day without thinking about it, don’t stop working for it.” On that note, I am heading to the gym!
All the best with your goals.