Oh the joys of new Motherhood—so much excitement and so much caretaking to do for the new child. And if the new baby is not the first baby in the family, the other little ones still need our complete attention, not to mention the spouse that needs our attention as well. Whether we work either in or out of our homes, juggling it all can be quite a challenge. How are we supposed to fit in all the things we need to do – including our own fitness?
There have been many times that I felt that I was choking on my own schedule (which I make myself!) and did not have even one free moment to myself. My family and clients all seemed to come before me. But when I finally realized that if I did not create some time to do the things in my life that I wanted/needed to do, whose life was I living? And what lessons was I teaching my daughter?
Everyone wants you to feel like a Mom who loves her body. One thing that is essential to keep ourselves feeling good is moving our bodies. One of the best ways to feel better about yourself physically is to move in a way that you did not think you could. The ability to learn naturally is there within you. Don’t let yourself be fooled by your critical, intellectual self that wants you to think otherwise. Step out of your own way so that your natural physicality and ability can shine. Even though it can be rough to get going, once we move, we feel better!
It is so empowering to have someone believe that you can do something, even when you are not sure that you can. Well, I believe that you are capable of fitting in a way to fitness in your busy schedule. Here are some tips to help get you started:
- Any old workout will do. Your workout does not have to be a specific class, exercise, level of intensity or duration – do what motivates you.
- Get some one else involved. Working out with a partner is reinforcing and usually fun. One mom recently told me that she runs in the morning with up to 4 other mothers – a loop in the park at 6:00 AM. Or make a date to go to a class with a friend.
- Use the excellent fitness facilities and yoga studios in the area. Choose somewhere that is nearby your home or office so that you can get there easily. Find a class that is appealing to you that fits into a break in your day.
- Take a private or semi-private session. If it is inconceivable to attend a class – call up and schedule a private session at a time that works for you. It doesn’t have to be weekly, but is might just be the kick start that could help you. Ask the teacher or trainer to lay out a workout that you can do on your own. Then if you enjoyed the work, meet up with them again after a month.
- Start a scheduled home yoga practice or an exercise routine. Many people don’t practice yoga at home because they feel that they don’t get the same intense workout as they would get in a class. A yoga practice doesn’t have to include a certain set number of sun salutes and standing poses. The possible choices of what to do are quite vast. Include some things that feel challenging to you as well as some things that you enjoy.
- Get a DVD or a video. If you are not clear about where to begin, get a DVD and follow along. There are so many different types of workout routines of all varying lengths and disciplines. Do a short segment before you go to work, while your kid naps or between laundry loads and other chores. Learn something new – ballroom dancing, salsa, Pilates, belly dancing, tap, fencing, self defense, yoga, spinning, biking, walking, ballet, boot camp.
- Alternate your workouts with your partner or another parent. I know one couple that trades off running – one runs on Saturday and one on Sunday.
- Attend a class WITH your child. At my studio we offer classes like “Sling Your Baby” and “Toss Your Toddler Dance” because we know that new Moms need a way to fit in fitness with the busy process of parenting. A dance class will develop your strength, balance, flexibility and coordination. Also, many neighborhood studios and gyms offer child care and/or classes that designed for you and your child.
- Enjoy some alone time. Early morning is a perfect time to connect our minds and bodies. It sets the tone for the day. Centering ourselves physically is directly linked to how we respond in situations from the center of our values. If early rising does not come easily to you (though I don’t think it is easy for anyone), make it a point to do it on only one morning a week. Then choose another time after your children are in bed during the week. Finally, pick one more time on the weekend – then, Boom! You’ve done three workouts in one week!
- Just do something. Don’t get stuck in thinking that it has to be the perfect thing.
Jennifer Brilliant is a Park Slope mother and the owner of the Jennifer Brilliant Yoga and Personal Training Studio in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Jennifer has nearly 20 years of experience guiding people in athletic, therapeutic and creative movement. She is a regular contributor for Hip Slope Mama. For more about Jennifer Brilliant and the classes she offers visit JenniferBrilliant.com