How as a mother of two, who are both under two, do I fit in exercise with a toddler and new baby? Here I share my own personal journey of motherhood, and what works for me and what doesn't.
The juggle is real. Like, really real. Especially when you are mid-way through changing your toddler's nappy and your baby wakes screaming for milk. Yep, that's when you know the juggle is real.
And those extra pairs of hands. The grandparents, a friend, your partner. They are gold. Absolute gold.
But when those extra hands aren't there. You just have to back yourself in.
You don’t turn into superwoman. There's no cape. No tight red outfit (thank goodness!). There’s just you. With your spewy clothes, frazzled hair and tired eyes.
Because it's the best.
Because along with the poo and the spew comes those smiles. Those little faces that just light up when you smile at them. And that look up to you because you are their entire world, and they love you just like you love them.
Those first few years do not last forever. In fact, they go so quick.
I took a photo of my toddler, Max, today to send to his Daddy at work. Gosh, Max has turned into a real little boy. So grown up and full on two-year-old (as of a few weeks ago!).
He understands most things I say and does help when I need him to get something whilst I'm stuck feeding his baby brother. He also very much knows the word 'NO' and how to use it.
So, you win some, you lose some.
I know a lot of Mother’s feel ‘touched out’ by the end of the day. I haven’t got to that point yet, but I’m sure it will happen.
Especially now that we are venturing into playgroups and swimming and catch ups and all of a sudden I have a toddler crawling over me saying ‘mummy’ when I’m feeding my newborn baby.
Because it helps me to feel better. It gives me the lift I need. It is my energy!
I don’t drink coffee, never have. I just don’t like it. But gosh, some days I wish I did. And in those moments, I know I need either down time, or to reset.
And it’s hard. But it’s doable. And it’s important.
If I do nothing for myself, I’m going to lose it. I’m going to feel lethargic and crabby. I’m going to resent my husband for being able to leave the house (even though it’s just to go to work!).
I’m going to be short with my kids. I’m not going to enjoy this special time at all.
So, I choose to prioritise me.
I do a five minute ‘PregActive at-home postpartum cardio session’ when my toddler is eating his breakfast and if my baby doesn’t need me in that moment.
I do stretching with my baby next to me when he’s playing so he can see me, but I don’t have to just sit with him.
Next, I do my 5 x 5 second lifts of my pelvic floor when I first get into bed.
I do some massage ball rolling out on my shoulders and upper back as I brush my teeth at night.
I let the kitchen and house be a mess until the end of the day and then just ONCE I go and tidy, rather than trying to do it continually.
And I drink water and set small goals to achieve 3 litres in a day.
I eat breakfast, lunch and dinner every day and snack with my toddler when he has morning and afternoon snacks. Because if I miss a meal, it’s not going to be fun for anyone #hangry
I find myself doing my ‘4 counts in, 6 counts out’ breath at random points throughout the day when I really need it. Because if you breathe out longer than you breathe in it helps you to calm down and settle your nervous system.
Because although these don’t look like much, they are the bite size ‘mindful moments’ that keep me in check with ME.
I suggest you start some of your own too. And make them consistent. Make them non-negotiable.
There’s going to be that voice in your head that says ‘it’s all too hard’ and I get that. I’ve been there. But on the days I don’t listen to that voice, on the days I back myself in, those are the better days.
So make the change you want to see.
Because, Mama, you matter too. Remember that.