Hello, fourth trimester.
You're running on about 2 hours of sleep at a time, the house is a disaster (let's face it.. so are you), your flab is REALLY getting to you, baby is crying and when she's not, it's feeding time or changing time.. ..did you forget to defrost tonight's dinner again? Of course you did... so how on Earth does a mama get her groove back? Great question! When you find out please get back to me.
JK y'all, I'm here to save the day (months...years..) YAY! So I've broken it down to the three main parts of my life that were the hardest to get back to: Health & Fitness, Organization and Mental Sanity. The last one might never be the same again, but we're striving for it.
Health & Fitness Groove
- Have an active and healthy pregnancy. This is the first and most important step. It's much easier to continue your habits throughout pregnancy than falling off completely and having to restart afterwards. Now, I'm not saying you won't have times when a 2 month break is acceptable, because if you've ever experienced a first trimester then you know what's up, but remember to stay consistent. Always find a way to hold on to those habits.
- Accept the changes and that this will take time. Your hips are wider, your belly stayed behind at 5 months pregnant (it will gradually shrink back to normal I promise), you have stretch marks and cellulite where you never had before, and if you had any muscle definition before pregnancy...well, that's gone. Now to the good parts You're still beautiful, if not more than before mama, and you have a tiny little human that you get to keep forever! Doesn't that pretty much cancel everything else out? Seriously though, it took you about 9 months to get to this point so cut yourself some slack. You will not see results right away, but with consistency and patience, you will get there. Once you've accepted this, you're ready to move on to the next step.
- Slow and steady wins the race. Having said all of that, don't expect to jump back into everything all at once without having a mental breakdown. CHILL. One step at a time. While you're waiting for you postpartum checkup to be cleared for physical activity, see what other things you can start with in the meantime. This is what worked best for me. During the weeks leading up to my postpartum checkup, I began eating healthy again (or trying). I replaced unhealthy snacks first, a week later I focused on healthier main meals, and eventually I was back in my rhythm, with the occasional fun stuff of course. A small goal of mine has always been to incorporate a serving of fruits or veggies into each main meal. Sure, it took me about 3 weeks but here I am, still going strong. Use the same method for easing back into exercising. Once cleared by my doctor, I started with one workout a week....then I took 2 weeks off, jumped into 3 workouts, then 5, now I'm at 3 again. Is my routine perfect? No. Same every week? Not at all. Consistent? Yes.
- You rock, mom. Give yourself some credit. Mom life is far from easy, and you pretty much just added like 378 new chores to your list. SO, any progress is still progress. Be proud of yourself, be confident, and KEEP GOING.
- Acceptance, yet again. Accept that your home will not always be in the best condition. Accept that those photos you see on Instagram of trendy moms in their super cute homes have been staged, and more often than not, there's a pile of junk right where the picture ends .... or something burning in the kitchen. RE-LAX woman. There will be days when you really do not have the time to put everything away so go ahead, let it pile on that chair and wait for cleaning day (or days).
-Small goals for the win. For me, it's easier to tackle one task at a time. Cleaning my room alone takes me 3 days. I tackle floors and nightstands one day, bookshelf and laundry another, then a third for bathroom. Is it ideal? NAY. Does it work? Yes. Peace of mind? You got it. Also, don't be afraid to ask your boo for help. Yes, he's working full time but aren't you? It's okay to take on more responsibility at home since you're there all the time, but a little help goes a long way. Give him an easy task to help you with and you've gained an extra day to yourself! (Kind of).
Mental Sanity Groove
- BREATHE. When you feel like you want to give up, remember that you can't.. LOL. Forreal though, that's not really an option so just tough it out girl. Sleep deprivation is real as **** and it's absolutely THE worst. I'm being honest here. Take as many naps as you can. When baby sleeps, you sleep... have you heard that one before? Well let me tell you, that doesn't work unless you can sleep on demand. I definitely cannot. Take advantage of any help that is offered and squeeze in some rest for a few hours. I chose to exclusively breastfeed, but once Soph was ready for a bottle, I would pump and get one ready so boo thang could do a night feeding. That way, I was able to get a whole 4 hours of sleep!! Yes, you'll get really excited over that too one day.
- New week, new you. Every week, or every other week, I make mama time a priority. I escape to wonderland on dad's day off and treat myself to a manicure, massage, or facial (still planning this one). Sometimes, even just a few hours to browse through amazon without interruptions will do. Go workout, buy those shoes you've been wanting, apply some self tanner, have a glass of wine (or 5), wash your hair..please, wax your lady parts and feel brand new. YOU DESERVE IT.
- "Ohana" means family. Squeezing in some family time is crucial as well. Take baby for a stroll around the park, museum, or Panera Bread (Yes, you will also get really excited over this one day). Get back to me when you're finally able to make your first trip to the grocery store... ecstatic does not even begin to describe the feels.
- Put your oxygen mask on before helping others. Bottom line: It is nearly impossible to be the best mother you can be without self care. Mental sanity is the hardest to achieve, but so necessary to care for your little one. Babies feel your energy, from womb days to now. Your negativity will rub off, so make sure you're happy and at peace with your current situation. If you're feeling majorly sad, resentful, or the big "d" word, reach out and ask for help. You are not alone and you have the power to change it. Happy mama = happy baby.
With that being said, it's little Soph's bath time and I have to finish making dinner... oh and shower too. It's also 9:40 pm. Balance, right?
See ya'll next week!