The Mama who could have bounced…. but didn’t 

Motherhood almost instantly readjusts your priorities, at least it did for me. From the second Monkey was born Michael and I were making critical life or death decisions and focused solely on what was best for Monkey. This was a huge mind shift for me that affected my life in ways I didn’t expect. 

Growing up I was that girls that danced 4 hours a day 7 days a week and never felt thin or fit enough, I was but I always strived for more. Thankfully I found myself in a therapists office before I could do too much damage but I was always the type to push my body to its limits at least for period of time. 

Solveg – Academy of Classical Ballet 2000

When my dance life ended and I went off to University I took up running and the gym. This was a slow burn relationship with lots of ups and downs that I still struggle with but in the end I still managed to keep my weigh and dress size within MY acceptable range. It would be nothing for me to decided to chase the bikini body mid summer and decided that two classes a day was completely doable along with a “I only eat food that looks like it did coming out of the ground” diet… because if I am anything I am dedicated and goal driven. And I would achieve that goal… every… single… time….sometimes with a little time to spare.

So with all this type A personality engrained in my DNA and 14 years of ballet school discipline woven into my lifestyle “bouncing back” after pregnancy should have been a piece of cake right? And really it probably would have been if I had tried, but this post is not about how you can get your pre-pregnancy body back quickly if you just try hard enough. It’s about how that doesn’t actually matter.

When Monkey first came home I went to the gym a lot… to shower. Michael was workings away a lot, we were room sharing  and the sound of the shower would wake Monkey up. So I was there about 3 times a week to put Monkey in the day care, so I could take a quick walk on the treadmill to justify showering in the locker room. I am pretty sure I was in the shower longer than on any of the machines. I assumed that this would eventually become my routine and I would be there daily and rockin’ my ore wedding jeans before Christmas. That was not the case.

Once Monkey started to sleep in his own bedroom and showering at the gym was no longer required; that drive into town became less frequent, because I wanted to spend time with my son. Newborns are up basically 4 hours a day and I didn’t want to spend a significant portion of that time away from him while he was in the gym day care. It was so much more important that I spent my time at mommy and me and  practicing tummy time than pushing the calorie count on the step mill. 

At that moment my priorities had shifted from about how I look in that dress to how I looked in his eyes. I want to be the mom who will share some ice cream with her son and not worry about the consequences. I don’t want sit on the side of the pool because I am worried about the tummy rolls and cellulite that lets be serious no one sees but you. I want to have a relationship with myself that promotes memories with my son not one that makes him call the day care workers Mama. 

This however does not mean that thinking about my health is out the window, but that the focus has shifted. I will continue to love working out, but when it comes between the bench press and the park bench, you will find me at the park every time. I want to do what I can to make sure that I am around the share those memories for a long time to come and able to make more as we all grow older, but it won’t be at the expense of this precious and all too fleeting time.

How did your perspective change when you became Mama (or Dada)? Let me know in the comments below!

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The 10 things I learned my first week back at work

I am one week closer to retirement, a lottery winning or another matternity leave, and I have to say I AM EXHAUSTED!!! But I have learned a few things this week that will hopefully make my life a little easier next week. 

1. EBTs are your best friend…. 5:45am arrives way too soon when you stay up past 9:30pm especially when Monday has immunizations and we had a bit of a rough night… Let’s just say I was a little less made up and a lot less sharp on Tuesday.


2. Practice family table. This was something we really tried to do as often as possible when I was home but sometimes it’s just easier to feed Monkey, do his routine and then relax with my dinner for the evening. But now that he is an independent feeder for the most part and we have such little time together now this is a great time to play and have some bonding time. 

3. Crock pots, freezer meals and husbands who make guacamole are your key to success. A few weeks back I made some yummy easy to prep freezer meals that a toddler would eat and planned to have crock pot dinners on nights that life lets me prepare ahead. I was also luck that Michael is off this week so he manned the kitchen and took a huge load off my shoulders. 

4. Shower at night. No one has time for morning showers anymore, trust me… even on mat leave I was lucky to get a shower before 2 so with changing to evening showers I am much closer to keeping my regular schedule than if I switched it back to mornings. And make sure to dry your hair at night, this just leaves curling or straightening in the am and that means an extra 15 minutes of sleep in for Mama!!

5. Pack your diaper bad for the week. That’s right on Sunday night put everything you know you need (diapers, wipes, bibs, changes of clothes, toothbrush) in the diaper bag.  That way you only have to add in the few extras like outside clothes that is weather dependent and outdoor shoes in the mornings. 

6. Do the same for your gym bag… even if you don’t make it there. I knew this week would be way to difficult to actually go to the gym on lunch but now that I have a rhythm I will be implement that into my routine again. If I pack it all on Sunday and it goes in my car Monday morning I think it will help me get a little closer to my goals and not getting to work and having forgot something really helps with keeping goals set.

7. Leave your heels at the office. No one wants to try and walk with diaper bag, lunch kits, purse, gym bag and work bag in heels when it’s been probably 18 months since you have worn them. Trust me just throw on your mom Toms and slide into your heels when you get to your desk.


8. Put an entire outfit on ONE hanger. Yup that’s right! I stumbled on this by accident because I bought pieces from Old Navy, The Gap and Rickis to build my back to work wardrobe (capsule wardrobe post soon to come) and because some I bought in store and others I bought online I just started putting the pieces on one hanger so I knew everything arrived and I didn’t end up not wearing some of the pieces because they got lost in the closet. This made mornings really quick and easy.  I only need to decide on one item, pull the hanger and I’m ready for the day. It may take a little longer on laundry day but it is well worth it in the morning.

9. Evenings are for quality time. The first few days I really felt terrible for being at work instead of hanging out with my little Monkey, and then I noticed how goomy evenings were with him. How I wasn’t reaching for my phone during play times, and bath time wasn’t just for washing hair. Everything had so much more meaning to it because time is so limited. I really treasure my evenings now.

10. Know that next week will go a little smoother... or maybe it won’t but that’s ok because you are doing your very best! Plus you are one day closer to a vacation right?!?

What is your number 1 back to work tip for new moms? How did you survive your first week?

3 Month Check in

It has been a little over 3 months since my health scare and I am finally in a good routine with my self care… just in time for me to go back to work. I can say that it took the rest of January (after I was well enough to get out of bed) and February to figure out what I needed in self care and that in March I really put it into practice. My day looked a lot like this

6:30am – Monkey wakes up so we start our day

8:30am – Monkey goes down for his nap, I make breakfast and head back upstairs to bed where I open the curtains to let the sun in and watch YouTube while I eat my breakfast in bed. I get ready for the gym and relax until Monkey wakes up. 

10:30am – We head to the gym. This is a great outing for Monkey, he loved the train table in the day care and it gives him a chance to get out of the house and see new people. He is a “gregarious one” as my dad says so daily outings make everyone’s lives easier and at least this way I get a little extra self care in. 

12pm – We head home and have lunch

1pm – Monkey goes down for nap #2. Now I am able to do some quick chores, get cleaned up from the gym and do my FAVOURITE chore folding diapers, upstairs, on the bed watching the afternoons hustle on our quiet street. 

By the time Monkey wakes up from his afternoon nap chores are done, dinner is prepped I am rested, rejuvenated and ready to tackle the next play time. This routine has really worked for me and I really am going to miss now that I am back to work. But change is growth and growth is good right?!?

So how do I plan on keeping a baby/life/work balance now that I am split three ways instead of two? Well I am not completely sure… You see I am returning to work in a new role that is more team based, so before when I generally worked your traditional 9-5 there was a ton of flexibility so making time for the gym or yoga in my lunch breaks was easy, and I didn’t have a Monkey to pick up at day home so there were a lot of opportunities for self care. I was a typical gym after work, lunch break work outs when I needed to, massage every 3 weeks kind of gal back then.  Now everything will be different I will be learning my new role and working as a team so my 9-5 is not my own anymore and Monkey (or more likely Miss J) will be waiting for pick up promptly at 5:30 and somehow I will have to somehow manage 3-4 work outs a week and hopefully get better at booking my massages regularly again.

My initial back to work plan is to take it easy the first week. Make my lunch and our breakfasts at night so I don’t have to worry about that in the mornings and make sure they are very healthy. I don’t want to loose any of the traction I have gained since mid January. Then hopefully I will feel like I at least know where my office is next week and maybe I can work in a few work outs on my lunch hours or at least go for a few walks. 

What I learned when trying to find a routine for myself over the last few months was that it is much better and more successful when you take it slow. I didn’t loose all the baby weight more like maternity leave weight before going back to work but I did splurge on some new work clothes that I LOVE (capsule wardrobe coming soon), and I have a routine that I look forward to doing every day and give Monkey a much happier mama. 

How did you balance your baby/life/work balance when you finish maternity leave? How many time did you need to change it up to make it work? Let me know if the comments bellow!

 

Time to Shake Things Up a Bit

One of the sage pieces of wisdom you get when you are preparing for baby is “Don’t worry they will fall into a routine, but they will change it up as soon as you are comfortable” (insert laugh track here). And this for the most part is very true. For example Monkey was basically sleeping through the night 7p-7a from December when we sleep trained until mid February when he started cutting his top front teeth. Now he is up once or twice a night for a quick snuggle and sometimes a Tylenol top up. This is becoming our new routine until those babies actually break through the gums and he is more comfortable, and then he will hopefully give me a solid 12 hours again. And that sounds wonderful except that will probably be just in time for Mama to throw a huge wrench in the routine because it’s time to go back to work!

Nothing will disrupt a little ones routine who has spent every waking moment of the last 52 weeks with you like only being home with them 3 hours a day. So in order to soften the blow we decided that March would be a transition month, where he would go to his day home a few days this month in order to get to know Miss J, and for him to spend a little time away from me so he knows I am coming back when I leave him there in the morning. And so far so good!

Leaving for his first morning at day care

He goes the Miss J easily when I drop him off and he is always happy when I come back. But he has never done consecutive days… or full days for that matter. That will only start in April when I am back full time which could make for an interesting transition for both of us!

How did you handle your transition to day care and back to work? I would love to hear your stories of encouragement in the comments below!