Put your oxygen mask on first
Write what you know… Or at least in my case, write what you’re going through.
I’m not claiming to be an expert in motherhood; I’m just a new mom navigating returning to work, maintaining my identity, surviving sleep deprivation, and staying balanced. As a health provider, I educate and encourage the importance of self-care. As an over-tired momma, I understand how prioritizing personal care is not easy. My pregnancy and birth experience were both pretty easy and uneventful (other than the huge event of having a baby!). Physically, however, I ended up with diastasis recti (abdominal tissue split), a gnarly cesarean scar, knee pain, and general deconditioning. With returning to work, chasing sleep, preventing total house disaster and loving on a sweet baby, finding time to rehabilitate is difficult. Although it feels selfish at times, I have to make the conscious decision to put my health and fitness first. I find I am a better mother, wife, PTA and person when I’ve prioritized myself. Here’s how I put my oxygen mask on first before “adulting”….
1. Morning me time: Set an alarm for an hour before approximate baby wake up time to shower, get ready for work, drink water, and have a little breakfast. Then the morning doesn’t start with pure panic or immediate coffee jitters. Even with a bad night’s sleep, it makes me feel better to have a quiet and un-rushed start.
2. Fitness: I try to fit this in anywhere I can. For strengthening, I like lunges, squats, bicep curls, and chest presses while using the baby as additional weight/resistance. He loves it! Uphill walks with baby strapped on or in the stroller is a wonderful calorie burner. I plan walking dates with friends. My husband and I also switch off baby duty or plan for childcare, so we can get a sweat session in without interruption. My mental health thanks me every time I get my heart pumping.
3. Mom brain: There’s no cure for this… however, I do like to watch job related videos while stretching or on the elliptical. That helps get my fuzzy brain focused on work and patient care.
4. Meal planning: On the weekends we plan for at least 3 healthy, home-cooked meals for the upcoming week. I get home late on workdays, so the least amount of prep or cook time the better. Easy crockpot, Instapot, and pre-cooked meals all work great and don’t require too much effort. We set ourselves up for success by having healthy pre-planned meals at-the-ready rather than making bad decisions when “hangry”; a common occurrence in my household. We also consider a baby-free “date night” part of meal planning. Putting ourselves, our relationship and our palettes first helps us be happier individuals.
5. Reset button: I am grateful for my life, job and amazing family. But there are times when everything feels overwhelming and I’m scrambling. Taking a 2 minute break, going somewhere quiet and taking 10 deep breaths helps reduce my momentary anxiety and gives me a quick chance to reset.
I’ll continue to add tips and tricks for strengthening, stretching and general maintenance of the mom-bod and mind. Look for more Mom Life blog posts!
My emotional well-being relies heavily on my physical health, so I’m trying to make that my priority. I don’t have time for pain or trouble with movement. If you’re anything like me and your musculoskeletal system is concerning you, we can help with pain reduction, addressing mobility, improving fitness endurance, etc. Please reach out to us at Northwest Wellness, Physical Therapy, if there’s anything we can help you with.
34730 Pacific Highway South
Federal Way, WA 98003
Phone: 253 927-0660