I believe that motherhood has got to be one of the most levelling experiences that you’ll ever go through –
“Am I a bad Mum because I feel so resentful this child gets me up 4 times a night!”And so on.Any mother who is reading this right now would probably be thinking, “uh huh”.
Of course, you may not get this time if your bub is projectile vomiting every five minutes, but it’s a good option if it’s available. Of course it depends on the child – one of my girls was happy to be left in creche, but I had to stop visiting the gym for about six months with my second daughter, because dealing with the separation anxiety far outweighed the benefits of the gym.
If you want to encourage a mother to become fitter, there are a few rules that should be followed:
+ Never ask when the baby is due, especially if the baby is with its mother. I got asked this once when my second daughter was 2 weeks old. I had to say in my nicest voice, “G is two weeks old, do the math”.
+ Never give unsolicited fitness advice about how to get back into shape, especially if you’re sporting a six pack and have never had a baby. This is the equivalent of an invite to be quartered up by a blunt blade and having your innards Instagrammed.
+ Never suggest that having kids should not be an excuse to get out of shape (especially if you haven’t had children yourself) This pertains especially to a new mother. My rule of thumb is that it takes nine months to get stretched out of shape so given the stresses of sleepless nights etc it’s probably going to take nine months and then some to even feel like you’re getting back to normal.
The bottom line is that some babies make it easier for a comeback into the fitness arena and that some pregnancies are more difficult than others and some labours are tougher than others.
Sometimes all a mother wants to do after a sleepless night with a projectile vomitter is sit down with a cuppa and the paper and take a nap, not go and work out. And when you have children, you have to realize that you’re no longer number one. Yes, it’s very important to try and eke out some time for yourself in there, no question – but in these early years, little ones take up your full attention. I’ve had health coaching clients on the phone in tears with mother-stress.
My words are always, “sometimes you’ve got to plan for the day you will have no plan despite your best efforts”
When I was frustrated that my workouts got so interrupted, my mother used to say to me, “time passes”. Of course, I wasn’t terribly impressed with such sage words; but it’s true. Now those little ones come riding, running and swimming with me – and I’ve been able to branch out into things that I thought would never be possible, like teaching early morning classes and riding my bike.
In the meantime what can we do to support our mothers? It’s the things like offering to watch the kids for an hour whilst she ducks off to Pilates class. Or having the older sibling over for a play date so she can take the little one for a walk in the pram.However, I would like to take a leaf out of my beautiful Earth Mother type gynaecologist and say – “Enjoy that baby – that’s your main priority. Doesn’t matter if everything else takes a back seat for a while”. How true.