Let’s keep it real: Nothing about your body is the same after pregnancy. The postpartum hair loss struggle is real, you can’t do jumping jacks without feeling a little worried and your belly button may or may not have stretched a bit—gross. But, all in all, after a lot of work, I was able get my pre-pregnancy body back—almost. Read on to learn easy ways to get back in shape and feel more energized when dealing with a baby.
So what’s the big secret? It may sound like an obvious choice, but by far the most effective thing that I did to get back in shape—and also retain my sanity—was carving 30 minutes a day 3-4 times a week to work out. Before you go and think, duh, everyone should work out, let me give you a little insight as to how I was feeling before I started doing this. My little guy was around 15 months old and into EVERYTHING. Frankly, I felt like I was living with a teeny tiny man who was constantly bossing me around all day. I fell into a little bit of funk, which I think most stay-at-home mamas fall into, because, even though I was busy all day long, I felt like I wasn’t getting ANYTHING done. I wasn’t working out, I could barely maintain a cleaning routine and I was working from home but was never on a consistent schedule. When I started taking 15-30 minutes to work out in my garage (my hubby built an at-home gym so we could stop wasting money on gym memberships), I felt amazing. I had 30 minutes to myself where I was on my own, no toddler demanding my attention with my only goal being to complete the day’s workout. I cannot emphasize how much happier and more energized I felt after doing this. I wasn’t doing some crazy workout, but I was challenging myself and moving my body, releasing those feel-good endorphins, which, in turn, improved my physique.
So how did I maintain a workout routine and deal with a baby? The first thing I did after waking up was change into my workout clothes, then I would wake up my son, feed him breakfast, sing a couple songs and play with him as I get him dressed. Then, I put him in his playpen, turned on his favorite sing-along on YouTube (“Baby Shark,” anyone?) and snuck out to the garage, leaving him within view. Then, I completed my work out, blasting my music and totally enjoying my alone time, while checking in on my little guy after every set. It’s amazing. For once in my life, I was actually looking forward to my workouts and I felt so much more energized and productive after completing them. My hard work has definitely paid off—though I am still a work-in-progress, I can see way more definition and tone than I’ve had in the past two years.
Now, if you’re unable to work out in another part of the house and still see/hear your child like I am, then this is when you either A) Enlist the help of your partner and or a friend/family member or B) Wake up early. I know sleep is so valuable as a new mom, but I promise you, you will feel—and look—a million times better after carving out 30 minutes a couple of times a week to get your body moving.
I also want to stress that the only way this works is if you are consistent. Get out a planner and write down all the days you want to work out, then schedule the rest of your day around it.
And, as for those mamas who think they’re depriving their little one—I promise you, they’ll be fine. Kids shouldn’t need to be entertained by someone else 24 hours a day. They do need to learn to play on their own for a few minutes at a time. That being said, I now work out with my son next to me because he refuses to stay in one place for very long. And, though it’s not ideal, I still get my work out done on a regular basis.
The bottom line: You have to take care of yourself before you can ever expect to take care of anyone else.
Setting an easy-to-follow workout plan and making a commitment to myself not only has changed the way I look and feel, it has also made me a better, more present and more appreciative mom.