Mommy life is very busy and it’s easy for us moms to forget to take care of ourselves. I definitely spend most of my day helping my kids, cleaning up after them and training them to behave. My husband asked me why I can’t go downstairs until I’m fully ready for the day and I told him that once I’m in the kitchen, it’s very hard to get back upstairs for several hours. My 3 kids need assistance with virtually every task they do and I’m usually happy to help and clean up as we go. But sometimes the chaos of mommy life means I don’t prioritize taking care of myself.
I put myself in a pretty big hole healthwise this winter, between not eating well and not getting enough sleep. Our day starts off with a bang and it can be hard for me to eat a full breakfast. Grab a granola bar and go, right? Wrong. When I’m making lunch, if I don’t prepare a full meal for myself before I feed the kids, my meal gets interrupted and I end up eating the kids’ leftovers, or coming back and finishing my lunch 2 hours later. After several months of not eating intentional meals, I lost a lot of weight and lost my appetite with it, so it was actually hard for me to eat. I realized I need to make some intentional changes to eat consistent healthy meals so I can better care for my family.
Eat Well Rounded Meals
Well rounded meals can include a little bit of everything. Protein-rich meats, fresh greens and fruit, wholegrain breads, rice and dairy products are all helpful to include in a balanced diet. I love smoothies because I can sneak in carrots and spinach alongside bananas and berries and the kids are none the wiser. I also need to make sure to eat enough myself. Some days I was eating a can of Organic lentil soup as a quick option for lunches, but then I realized they were only 110 calories per serving. A healthy meal may consist of several food choices which add up to an adequate calorie intake.
Banana Berry Smoothie
My kids love this easy smoothie combination which is a great add-on to any lunch. Mix together these fresh ingredients until well blended and smooth. Smoothies are an easy snack that makes it much easier for kids (and moms) to enjoy fresh greens and veggies that are blended in. You can also mix in a tsp. of probiotic powder as an added boost.
1/2 cup fresh or frozen berries
3 to 4 carrot sticks
Handful of spinach or kale leaves
Splash of orange juice
Scoop of yogurt
Spoonful of honey
1 cup ice
Get Enough Sleep
After I had my 3rd child my sleep routine began to decline. After a busy day of family life, it is tempting for me to accomplish a variety of tasks after the kids are asleep, leading to late nights and long to-do lists. For several months I was staying up until 1 or 2 AM and getting up at 8 AM. Less than 8 hours of sleep per night really began to wear on my body over time. Some of my sleep deprived symptoms included anxiety, fatigue, random dizziness, trouble sleeping, and overall energy loss and lack of motivation. I decided to mostly cut out caffeine so I wasn’t artificially propping up my energy levels and I purposed to get more sleep on a regular basis. Decaf coffee is an amazing thing!
Exercise Several Times a Week
I’ve learned that it’s important for everyone to exercise, regardless of weight, body type or overall health. Exercising strengthens the heart and helps improve circulation. I feel like I’m regularly running after my kids but I rarely plan for regular exercise. We recently bought an elliptical and I actually feel more energized after a 30 minute cardio session. I’m planning on doing cardio, basic stretching and a few sets of sit-ups several times a week. Regular exercise also goes a long way towards getting rid of extra baby weight and improving quality of sleep at night!
Skinny Does Not Equal Glamorous
For my personal health situation, I had to take some proactive steps towards getting back into a healthy lifestyle. I lost too much weight from not making healthy eating choices and having a high metabolism. My body weight got so low that I began to experience physical and physiological effects.
I have been creating better meals for myself and eating lunch with the kids, which just requires some organization on my part. My nutritionist also recommended I intentionally try to put on some weight, so I’ve been drinking calorie shakes which consist of fruit & weigh powder, a banana, scoop of almond butter and whole milk.
I’m also trying to get more sleep by putting those to-do lists aside and going to bed earlier, and even scheduling some naps during the day. Combined with regular exercise, I’m excited to make progress towards feeling more energized with a healthy eating plan, restful sleep schedule and more intentional lifestyle.
Check Nutrient Levels After Pregnancy
Because I became so nutritionally imbalanced I found it helpful to get a health screening, check my nutrient levels and get blood work done to check my thyroid levels. I had my 2 youngest kids 14 months apart which put a lot of wear on my body, even though I didn’t feel the effects for several years. I’m encouraged to have a plan to get back on track to make healthy eating and lifestyle choices. You can easily schedule a basic health screening by calling your family doctor.
Notice I didn’t mention any supplements? This is because I believe I need to resolve the source of my problems; healthy eating, adequate sleep and regular exercise, before slapping on supplements as a quick fix. Other than the fruit weigh power to gain weight, my prenatal multi-vitamin and a daily probiotic capsule (or a generous serving of sauerkraut), I believe I need to take steps to make better choices. In my opinion, taking supplements that promise quick results could cause me to ignore the root issues, leading to further health decline and minimal change in personal lifestyle choices.
How do you balance mommy life and taking care of yourself? I’ve learned the best way I can take care of my family is to also take care of myself!
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