Mums need the opportunity to train too...
Exercise was a really important part of my life before becoming a Mum and I wanted to make sure that it stayed a part of my life post Jaycob. Is it easy to balance Mummy life, the house, the cooking, shopping, cleaning, working part time, raising a child whilst trying to have some time to myself to... exercise? No way. I can barely go to the toilet these days on my own. Was going to the gym, for a walk or run on top of my priority list when I did get a bit of that “alone time”? Probably not, but please don’t tell my PT husband that ;)
In my spare time I dreamt of sleeping, relaxing, reading or watching TV. Nothing that involved any energy as I didn’t feel I had much of this in the early weeks or months with night feeding, a baby who had reflux and endless sleepless nights. Being a first time Mum was daunting and I had a lot to learn. I wasn’t used to being home so there were days Jaycob and I would suffer from “cabin fever” and we would need to get out of the house. Scott suggested I go for a walk or run but in the first few weeks and months this seemed impossible. To me the thought of going for a walk was like running a marathon. Most of the time we just went to a local coffee shop where I drank a ‘decaf’ coffee, not even a real coffee with caffeine as I was breastfeeding. In theory I knew the fresh air and the walk would do me good, but getting myself and Jaycob ready, the pram assembled whilst remembering to lock the door behind me was just all too overwhelming.
Scott encouraged me to do some PT sessions with him and I joined the gym about 2 months after Jaycob was born. It was a huge effort getting us both ready and out of the house and to the gym on time. Yes, the crèche ladies must have known that I would be late every week but still they never judged me. Do you know what? Joining the gym and doing my PT sessions was the best part of my week. It gave me some time to myself. Jaycob was being looked after in the crèche and I had time to focus on myself, something that didn’t really happen much with a newborn. I eased back into training and for a while we just focused on stretching and strengthening my core muscles. It was the best thing for me both mentally and physically. I was able to strengthen my pelvic floor muscles and ladies if you have had a natural birth, you know exactly how important this is. There were days where I had little sleep or days I was so exhausted all I wanted to do in my session was cry but instead I focused on my stretches and I always felt much better afterwards.
Was it easy leaving Jaycob in the crèche? No way. He cried a lot. I still feel sorry for the poor crèche staff who have to deal with him. He is a bit over 2 and he still gets upset when I leave. Do I suffer from the mummy guilt’s? Of course I do, but I know that if I have some time out to myself I am going to be a happier and healthier person and that is important for my own wellbeing.
I then joined Scott’s small group training on a Thursday morning and loved it even more than my PT sessions. Why? Because it was a small group of amazing women, all mothers, some now grandmothers who would like a good chat but would work hard at the same time. The support from other women was fantastic; we could talk about our kids and anything else we wanted (if Scott let us ). The other Mums would report back on how Jaycob was doing in the crèche as he was always sobbing when I left him.
It was always good to know that 10 minutes later he was walking around like he owned the place. Small group training has given me a goal and focus with my training. I can now dead lift and am working my way towards a chin up. I can do a negative chin up! Something I would never have dreamed of doing on my own at the start. The group has been a source of achievement, self confidence and it’s something I look forward to doing every week.
The next step in my training routine was to add another day of gym work into my week. Scott suggested that I go to the gym close to home while he watched Jaycob on a Friday morning so I could do my own thing. It felt a bit strange at first going into the gym on my own, doing my own workout but now I quite enjoy it. I usually do some stretches and then follow the routine from my small group class and if I have time some running on the treadmill. Sometimes I can only fit in 30-45 minutes but hey it’s better than nothing.
Scott has always supported my training so when he offered to watch Jaycob so I could return to boxing for fitness classes on a Saturday morning I was super excited. Prior to having Jaycob this was my favourite form of training. I loved boxing; it was my stress release and a social catch up with those who came along. When I had to stop boxing, I really missed it. I remember the first boxing session I went to and how pumped I felt after. I pushed myself pretty hard because it wasn’t just something I could do whenever I wanted, I had an opportunity once a week to go and give it my all. Again, I was sleep deprived and tired but that workout was enough to put me on a natural high all day. As I had not been boxing for about 12 months it took me a while to get my strength and cardio fitness back but I really cherished my training as it was my time to take off my Mum hat for an hour and put on my fitness hat. It also gave Scott a chance to spend time with Jaycob and I had some time to myself.
Mummies, my message for you is to make sure that you get the opportunity to train, make the time for yourself to focus on your own health and wellbeing. We spend so much time looking after our kids and ensuring their every need is met so why would we neglect our own health? If you are a happy and healthy person then you are going to be the best parent and role model for your children. Ask your partner/friends/family to watch your child or children so you can come out and train or join the gym and utilise the crèche so you can have some time out and your little one will have fun playing and socialising with others, it’s a win-win situation!
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