Sunday, September 19, 2010

Thoughts on motherhood and exercise

Soooo...I thought I was back...until I wasn't! Life is happening so fast these days, and adjusting to life with a third child has been both easier and harder than life with two! Easier because the older two can play together, easier because I've done this before, easier because my little jelly bean is such a good baby, but harder because life must go on! I've heard that it only gets busier, but I'm feeling pretty busy these days driving to and from preschool 3 times a week, going on field trips, grocery shopping with 3, feeding 3, getting 3 kids in bed at the end of the day, trying to spend time with my cute hard-working husband, and occasionally finding time for myself.

When my 2nd was born, getting back into the work-out routine was SO MUCH EASIER! Or I was more motivated. Or perhaps I was a little bit scared that if I DIDN'T start working out, it would NEVER happen.

I've had a few awesome work-out weeks since my (almost 3-month old) baby was born, but I have to admit that my work-outs have been sporadic at best! I've always thought that working out was essential for my emotional well-being. I still think it is. BUT I actually feel better emotionally this time around because I haven't been so worried about working out! I remember running on the treadmill after baby #2, while telling my 21-month old toddler to talk to his screaming newborn baby sister so I could finish the last 2 minutes of my run. Why didn't I figure out that those 2 minutes of running to the sound of a newborn screaming were much harder on me than just stopping the treadmill to soothe my baby? I would probably bet money that a mother's blood pressure goes up when she listens to her newborn baby cry. Running at the same time is probably counterproductive, don't you think?

I feel like I've enjoyed the infancy of my 3rd baby so much more, because I haven't worried about ME so much! There really is a time and season for everything. It just hasn't been the season for consistent workouts this time around...and I feel much more sane! I have NOTHING to stomach is still flabby, I've only lost a single pound in the last month, and I eat lots of chocolate when the kids are in bed! But I've also spent more time enjoying my kids, without stressing about finishing a workout if the baby is screaming! The time that I get to hold my sweet little one on my chest while she sleeps is so short...I'm holding on to it for dear life!

However, when my husband is actually around (he's working long hours these days), I still love my ME time! (And ME-time for me usually means working out!) Soon after my baby was born, my sister encouraged me to sign up for a Zumba instructor certification class. So Me, being the perfect little sister, signed up. I stressed for two months about this ONE day that I would have to leave my new baby. A few hours away are great, but a whole day?!?!? I tried every day for a month to give her a bottle with no success. I pictured my husband spending the entire day with 3 kids in the parking lot so I could run out at every break to nurse my screaming baby. So on our first break, I frantically called my husband. She was asleep. At lunch, I raced out of the room to meet him in the parking lot. I called my husband. She had taken a bottle! She was asleep! He'd done the dishes! He'd even cleaned the carpets! My 2-year old was napping! So I stopped worrying, and got to enjoy an entire stress-free day to MYSELF. It was fabulous! But I'm not ready to leave my baby for 9 hours again anytime soon!

So now my mornings are spent practicing Zumba with my 4- and 2-year olds while my baby naps. They love it, I love it, and for now it works. But the "4th trimester" is almost over, and perhaps the season of consistent away-from-home-early-morning-workouts will begin, but for now I'll take what I can get!

And to finish up this rambling post, here are a few things I've learned:
  • Zumba really is an awesome workout! I probably don't burn as many calories as I do in a Spin class, but I have a smile on my face the whole time, and don't look at the clock once! Plus, intermittent training is amazing for the body (more on that later). These days, I'm all about feeling rejuvenated after a workout instead of drained. Zumba works wonders for an emotional mom!
  • You can push yourself harder than you think you can! I met up with my visiting-from-out-of-town sister-in-law for an early morning run a few weeks ago. We planned on running about 5 miles around a lake, took a wrong turn on the way back to the car, freaked out when we heard thunder and lightning as it started pouring rain, considered swimming across the lake to get to the car then decided that being in a lake while it's raining probably wasn't the best idea, so we ran as fast as our bodies would take us to get back to the car. We ended up running 8 miles instead of 5, and the most I'd done before that morning (post-baby) was 3! Our bodies are amazing...and an occasional adrenaline rush doesn't hurt!
  • There really is a God up in heaven watching over us! My 2-year old almost got hit by a car in a parking lot recently, but another car turned into the parking lot at just the right moment, honked as they saw what was about to happen, and stopped the car from driving those last few feet towards my daughter. Miracle! Before the Zumba training, I honestly prayed for a month that my baby would be okay that day so I could go. She took a bottle for the first time that day. In my little mommy world, that was another miracle! It's so comforting to know that someone really is watching over me and my seemingly insignificant little family!
  • Working out is important, but it's not the MOST important thing. I want my kids to know that taking care of our bodies is important. I want them to know that their mama tries really hard to be healthy. But I also want them to know that I love them more than I love my running shoes! I look forward to the day that my little buddies are also my workout partners! Well...they think they already are...but someday, we'll all PUT ON OUR OWN running shoes, and head out the door together as friends!
  • As much as I love blogging, it's on the backburner these days. Like I said, (as did someone else...) "to everything there is a season; and a time to every purpose under heaven." When I'm back on some sort of a regular routine (hopefully sooner than later), I'll post more than once every two months! But for now, I hope you don't mind my sporadic ramblings!
  • If you want to lose weight, eating the right stuff may just be more important than exercise! There, I said it. And I truly believe it! Lose weight by eating right. Change how your body looks by exercise. Eat right AND exercise for optimal health AND fitness! Duh?!?!?

I'll be back...


Bonnie Wayne said...


Thats awesome - Zumba cert! you go girl! And I will just chime in - by the time I had my 3rd, I felt like I really enjoyed the "newborn state" much more than I did with my first two. Its so short and so sweet.

Good luck with the 4th trimester! And I TOTALLY agree with the nutrition over exercise - at least I know thats the way my body works. I do nutrition for weight loss, and fitness for toning :) Anyway - good luck!!!!!

Kendall and Norda said...

What a great post! I just had my third baby this past March (wow, has it already been 6 months?) and I totally agree with the thought that exercising isn't THE most important thing. I've really struggled with finding time and energy to exercise with this baby, when I do get it done I feel great, but I'm not nearly where I was with my other babies at 6 months out. I have really savored her babyhood though. More so than the two before.

Also, I'm nursing exclusively, and I understand what a miracle it is when they do take a bottle! My husband planned an overnighter when she was 4 months old, and I freaked out about her not taking a bottle, but everything went just swimmingly. Thankfully she was sleeping through the night by then.

I do have a question for you. How do you balance working out and keeping up your milk supply? I always struggle with throwing in the towel with nursing and working out as hard and often as I want to. For me, with my other babies, it felt like I had to choose between the two. I guess I've got to learn to redefine "working out". If I can't finish a P90x video sometimes I get discouraged at how out of shape I am.

Michael said...

That was a great post, Robby Dobby. Don't give up blogging, you're just now starting to find your voice!

Robyn said...


I've exclusively nursed all three of my babies while working out for close to a year. Don't throw in the towel with nursing!!!! Just drink a lot of water, and eat healthy without cutting calories. Include "good fats" in your diet (avocados, nuts, etc.) Ask your doctor for advice, but that's what's always worked for me. I'm probably eating healthier this time around than I was with my other kids, and I'm definitely not losing my milk!

Good luck! You don't have to choose between nursing and exercise!!! You can have the best of both worlds!

Annakaisa said...

A) God truly IS watching over us, and especially over our little ones.

B)I think too that watching what you eat is more important than exercising if one wants to lose weight.

C) Zumba is great, but the Latino dude on the video irritates me. Maybe I should try a class.

D)And blogging is not that important. It's fun, but I'm glad to hear that you have a life, and therefore can't blog all of the time.

Jer + Lu said...

First of all, I truly think you're amazing. You've got your priorities straight + as such you seem to have it ALL. You lay it all out there so eloquently too. Keep it up. You're a great inspiration!!