Looking back I am baffled at my ability to work out four or five days a week through my 38th week of pregnancy. How the hell did I have the energy for spin, sculpt and all the other insane classes I put myself through in the dead heat of summer?
But boy am I glad I stuck with it because my best gym week since Rylan’s arrival is four days, and it took until last week to get there.
I scoffed at the idea it would take a full six weeks to feel up to my normal class routine. Oh how stupid I was! Recovery from childbirth is no joke, even if you are in good shape. The thought of a spin bike seat sent chills down my spine and round-the-clock feedings left me 100 percent spent. The gym was the very last thing on my mind. Then, once I was medically cleared to resume my routine, the challenge became finding classes that fell between feeds AND at times Mike could be home to watch the little man. That left me just two or three options in any given week, and that was before I even returned to work. Finally, I never thought I would feel guilty about leaving the baby for an hour to go workout. But then Rylan arrived and “sprout” became my son, and suddenly choosing to be gone during a precious wake time session took on a whole new meaning. I knew the hour at the gym would make me a more happy and present mama, but leaving was an unexpected struggle.
So, where am I at today? While on maternity leave I took a few Stroller Strides classes, went for walks and did some living room workouts by streaming Qi Unlimited classes on my computer. But as a full-time working mom, 9:30 a.m. Stroller Strides classes with Rylan are sadly not an option. Organized coordination with Mike (and my mom while she is here) and getting over the guilt of missing Rylan are now the two things that help me keep fitness in my life. After a lot of discussion and some trial and error here is how I am back at it as a new mom.
- One 7 a.m. class: wake up at 5:45 a.m. to pump and leave by 6:40 a.m. Mike wakes up Rylan by 7 a.m. for his first bottle. I have every single thing I need for the day packed and laid out the night before by the front door. I shower and get ready at work after the class. If I can’t take something out at night (i.e., my lunch) I use a Post-It note to remind myself to grab it before I walk out of the door.
- One class after work around 5:15 p.m. or 6 p.m. Mike relieves my mom and gives the last feed, and a bath if needed.
- Saturday mornings at 8:30 a.m. I nurse and pump off and am home in time for his 10 a.m. nursing session.
I would like to get up to four solid workouts each week but will likely choose to run on the treadmill at work or workout at home for that fourth session instead of a class, otherwise it is another night or morning where I miss Rylan entirely. I am so lucky to have Mike’s support. Without it these classes, that I love so much, would not be an option. He and I started talking about my gym plan months before Rylan ever arrived.
For all of my new mom and soon-to-be mom friends, make your special time (whether it is working out, an art class, mani/pedi weekly) happen. Talk with your partner NOW about how to coordinate schedules and stick to it. I promise you will be a happier and more present mom when you get “you” time at least once or twice a week–and working full-time out of the house doesn’t count.
Oh yeah, don’t forget that this means your partner gets special time too. For Mike, that’s band practice weekly and a round of golf when the weather is nice. It has to be a two-way street!