Hello mommas and welcome to Mommy Tell All Monday, a place where we share all things motherhood. Today I get to introduce you to another new MTFM contributor! My dear friend Sara is going to be sharing about mommy fitness and health once a month. Sara is a writer, mother, physical trainer, and fitness gym owner with her husband. I’m really looking forward to her monthly posts, as I could use some great tips and fresh perspective. Today she’s talking about motivation.
Fitness is such a tricky topic to cover no matter the genre you are writing for. Mom fitness? Well, that is a whole other ball game entirely.
I am not an expert on working out. I am not an expert on eating clean. I am just a mom that just so happens to be passionate about fitness and nutrition. I am just a mom treading through the uncertain ‘Post-Baby Body’ waters. The same waters many of you might currently find yourselves in.
If that is the case, let me first say CONGRATULATIONS on your new baby. Also, WELCOME to your ‘post-baby body’ life and to your biggest challenge: getting back to the ‘you’ you want to be.
I am a first-time mom to a 6 month-old baby girl. The last six months have been the most stressful, wonderful, exhausting, beautiful, eye-opening, and best experience. Ever. During my pregnancy, I read all the books and filled my brain with (too much) information. I knew what to expect while pregnant and during labor, but do you know what those books forgot to mention? The after. The adjusting; not the adjusting to life with baby, but the adjusting to life with a body after it has been through labor (any type of labor).
I will wholeheartedly admit I thought for sure I would be ‘ready’ to work out, go hog wild, drop all my baby weight within a few months (I mean, I have these super-powered breastfeeding hormones working in my favor, right?!) and be the superstar mom.
What I was not expecting was to be told by my doctor she was not going to release me for physical activity for another three weeks because I was not fully recovered yet.
Mentally I was thinking: Wait, what? You want me NOT to work off this extra fluff for another four weeks? Okay, I can do that because (if I am being honest here) working out just really does not work for me right now as I am pretty much obsessed with my kid and have ZERO desire to even enter the gym…. Or stop eating my waffles…. Or drinking my hot chocolate…. Or leave my kid any longer than it took me to shower.
You see, what I was not prepared for (not even in the slightest) was the complete and total lack of motivation I would have to return to my post-baby body. Sure, I loathed the scale entirely, I would look longingly at my closet full of fun clothes that were many sizes too small, I would think about working out (and would actually miss working out), I would read mom blogs about fitness post-baby, I would stand in front of the mirror in total shock of my changed body, and I would pin the heck out of ‘motivational’ things on Pinterest, but nothing seemed to really give me that kick in the behind I needed to jump-start my weight loss journey. My motivation just seemed, gone.
Motivation is defined by Merriam-Webster as a force or influence that causes someone to do something.
Motivation. A noun. A thing. A thing that can often times be the equivalent of that pot ‘o gold at the end of a rainbow.
Where does it come from? How can I get me some? Oh, and how can I keep it once I find it?
For me, my ‘oh-my-goodness-I’m-finally-ready-to-work-out’ moment came when my daughter was 12 weeks old. (2 weeks after being released from the doctor. So much for going hog wild, right?) She was entering the stage where she enjoyed playing on her activity mat, but only if I was playing with her. Down there. On the floor.
I found myself getting up and down and up and down (and up and down) so many times throughout the day it was ridiculous. By the end of the night, my back would be killing me, my knees and ankles aching, my arms exhausted, and do not even get me started on how my legs felt.
I remember saying to my husband on many occasions, ‘gosh, I am exhausted from playing with the baby’ or ‘lifting the stroller is just too much work for me can you please put it in the car’ or ‘can you just help with the baby because I am so sore.’
Hold the phone.
Was that really ME saying those things?
Was that the same me who used to work out six times per week before getting pregnant?
The same me who would lift heavy objects just because I wanted to and I liked to? The
same me who loved being able to do things I was previously physically unable to do?
Answer: Yup. It was.
Truth: I felt like a wimp.
A big fat wimp. Fact: I did not like feeling like a wimp.
And there it was. There was my source of motivation. I did not want to feel like a wimp anymore.
I knew that the older my daughter got the more active she would become and the wimpier (is that even a word?)I would get. That was simply not going to work. Nope, not at all. So, Monday morning I told my husband I was going to the gym. I nervously got dressed (in the one random workout outfit I could fit into), cried (a lot), worried about how she would do without me (but, really, I was worried how I would without her), got in the car, and drove to the gym. By myself.
That was 13 weeks ago and I can say it was the best decision I ever made. I feel better, I have so much more energy, I can actually play with my daughter (yup, down on the floor) for hours and still be able to function properly, and…. I am happy. Really happy.
Oh, and my feelings of ‘wimpiness’ = GONE! I finally feel like a strong woman and mom that can slay dragons or climb mountains for my daughter. (Or, you know, put the car seat in the backseat without completely throwing my back out.)
My motivation to get back into shape was all about me. I found my pot o’ gold. And I am still carrying it on my back whilst doing lunges back to my side of the rainbow.
Motivation comes in many variations. I asked several moms what their source of motivation was to get back (and keep) a healthy and active body. Maybe their answers are just the sort of motivation you need.
“I would say my number one motivator is that it is my obligation to set a positive example for my kids. I used to be a fat mom and now I am a fit mom. My son always checks ingredients before eating something new, we work out as a family. I hope to raise them in a lifestyle they will choose to live with their children and so on. Number 2 motivator, my sanity. Sometimes, when I am out for a 15 minute run or I go to yoga that is literally the only time that day I will get to myself. I cherish that time.” Michelle, mother 3.
“Exercise is something I want to do for me. It is nice to have a goal to work towards to break up the monotony of work/kids/sleep. I also love having my son ‘workout’ with me and I want it to become a routine for me so that my kids do not see it as me just trying to lose weight again (and have them develop insecurities about weight or body issues), but as something that is normal and something you do to stay healthy.” Cristina, mother of 2.
“A ton of my motivation is wanting to feel sexy for my husband! I realize that the pounds do not come off fast and I respect that my body needs nutrition while I am nursing, so I give myself a little grace and do my best to get back into the gym at that six week mark. The truth is, as I feel healthier, I feel sexier, and when our intimate life is active this momma is a lot happier during the day!” Sara, mother of 5.
“WELL, other than being able to fit in my clothes because I do not want to spend hundreds on a new wardrobe, I want my son to have an example of what it is to be healthy. He will be bombarded with unrealistic expectations of health. I am his first role model. I want him to know exercising is a way of life, not a chore.” Jayme, mother of 1.
“For me, as a new mom I put all my energy towards taking care of my daughter and neglected myself. She was seven months old and I still looked six months pregnant. We talked about growing our family and I realized I could not enter into another pregnancy without first losing the baby weight. After a month of working out to videos at home and eating right, I had lost the baby weight. It was hard to put myself first, but I realized that I could not be the best mom for her if I was not healthy.” Joanna, soon to be mother of 2.
“My main motivation has to be the ‘been there, done that’ factor. I knew from my first child that if I did not get up and get moving ASAP I would regret it. I knew from having my second child that if I ate well, hydrated, and walked our sweet precious babe around like I had with my previous baby, the weight would start to melt away. I had learned. Another main motivation was myself. I had gotten there before and I would again. In my own time.” Breanna, mother of 3.
“Okay, one of my biggest guilty motivators is knowing that other moms can work out and are working out. It helps me tell myself that there is no reason I cannot workout as well. Reading about and hearing other mom’s success stories, seeing their pictures, or watching them working out, it gets me moving.” Crista, mother of 3.
If you’ve just begun your search for motivation or maybe you have been searching for a while, but still have not found it, do not fear. You will find it. Most likely, however it will find you.
Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow.
One day, it will come flying out of nowhere, slap you in the face and drag you back to ‘you’. The ‘you’ you want to be.
Light and Love,