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If you are a new mom like me, you are probably sitting there thinking, “Wow, this amazing bundle of joy literally just flipped my world upside down and I’m not really sure which way is up and which way is down.” I remembered being so excited and “ready” to be a mom. I mean, I had everything decorated, washed, laid out and had all plans figured out by week 20 of my pregnancy. I was ready to meet this little boy and for my life to begin. Fast forward 19 weeks and 36 hours of intense inconsistent labor and my sweet baby boy was in my arms. My husband and I were overjoyed and exhausted; thus, our lives would never be the same.
Bringing home our son was a magical time. He slept great in the hospital and we were figuring out the whole parenting thing at home when colic set in. My sweet baby boy became a crying, screaming mess from 3-10 p.m. every day! My husband and I tried everything and sought help from specialists to your everyday parents with no solution in sight. There were many long nights and days where the world just blurred together. However, with each passing day he eventually grew out of his colicky ways and life became more normal; well, a new kind of normal.
And with this sweet baby boy, a hardworking husband and a dog, I embarked on a journey called “being mommy” and re-developed my life for what it was. But first things first, I had to:
1. Let go. In order for me to find “normal” as a mom, I needed to let go of what my life used to be, how my routine used to go, and accept my life for all that it still can be with a few extra pieces of luggage.
2. Create a NEW routine. After I let go and began to accept the changes my life had experienced, I decided to create a new routine for everything. A new routine for making dinner involves prepping during nap time and baby wearing (as safety allows). A new routine means scheduling playdates instead of business meetings. A new routine also meant a lot of creativity and time management.
3. Give myself extra time. There’s nothing like knowing how long it’ll take you to complete all tasks when planning your day. Example: Getting ready in the morning used to take me 45 minutes from start to finish. Now getting ready involves planning it between feedings and a fussy baby. Thus, a new routine for getting ready: give myself extra time. A new routine for leaving the house: give myself extra time. A new routine for cleaning the house: give myself extra time. A new routine for grocery shopping: give myself extra time. You get the idea; extra time is key to actually getting stuff done.
4. Make time for my spouse. I can’t stress this enough. Having a child takes every minute of your free time, but make an effort to spend a few minutes each day talking to your spouse about anything other than your child. It’ll go a long way!
5. Make time for my hobby. Remember that craft you used to love: running, reading, writing, scrapbooking, bicycling, etc.? Find time once a week to put your spouse on dad duty and devote some time only to your hobby! I realized this a little too late and my family got my wrath! It doesn’t help anyone when you are stretched so thin with taking care of everyone else that you forget to take care of yourself.
6. Exercise. Exercising is beneficial to your physical health, but did you know it’s also beneficial to your emotional health? I worked out when I had time before having my son. It wasn’t much but the weekends became a time that my husband and I spent the morning at the gym. We loved it for “us time” together. Now, as parents, we have integrated working out into a family affair. We know that our son will see us living a healthy lifestyle through physical fitness, which makes him more likely to do the same as he gets older. Children follow by example and we want to lead by example! Plus, it helped me lose those extra pregnancy pounds, tone up my tummy and other areas, and gave me more energy to get through my days.
>> Watch: Body After Baby: HIIT 1 [VIDEO]
7. Find a new passion. After having my son, I lost my title as a working professional. I was always labeled as a teacher and that defined me. However, after he was born I chose to stay home and that definition was taken away from me. For me, I needed a challenge and motivator that was all ME. I needed to be defined by something other than a mommy and wife, so I took up running. Running challenged me physically, mentally and emotionally! It has become something that is just me. I determine my success or my failure.
>> Read more: Running: A Quest for Control in Child-Rearing Chaos