I Became a Better Mom When I Went Back to Work.

It feels like yesterday that my daughter was just born. Now she is almost one-year-old.

It also just feels like yesterday, when we found out we were expecting a third baby, shock and emotion took over us. We were so surprised.

It feels like yesterday when I would wake up angry and frustrated every single morning, as I was home with three kids trying to balance this thing we call motherhood.  Looking back now, I can definitely see that I was dealing with some postpartum depression. I thought I was okay, but, really I was slowly sinking.

Every single morning, I woke up angry and I went to bed angrier. Nothing seemed to help. I sometimes envied my husband who could at least “flee” to work for some hours and did not have to be home all day with the kids and do all the other household chores that come with being a homemaker.

I was so angry. On the outside, I appeared to be fine but on the inside I was mad at the world. I did not want to admit it, though. What would people think of me? That I am ungrateful. Here I am, blessed to be home with my kids, and yet, I’m complaining while some other moms are forced to go back to work?

One thing I learned so far in my journey of being a mom is that, whether you are a working mom or a stay-at-home-mom, they are both challenging paths! You may not realize how tough the other role is until you spend at least a week in their shoes.

I love my children with all my heart, but I was exhausted.

20180612_093029Then I decided to wean my daughter earlier than planned–at 7 months. I am an advocate for breastfeeding and nursed both of my boys until they were 12 months old, but this third time around, it was different. It wore me out emotionally and physically, and the fact that I was not completely stable mentally, it was best to stop. That did wonders. Shortly after she started sleeping through the night, and I was able to get more sleep at night.

In all honesty, the thing that helped me heal from postpartum stress the most was working.  Right as I weaned baby girl at 7 months, a recruiter reached out to me for a remote position at Amazon. It seemed like a great opportunity and I happened not to be teaching anymore at the time. I figured “what the heck?” Actually, I was thrilled. My husband supported my decision and we found a mother’s helper/nanny to help me with the kids here at home while I worked upstairs in the office. I was still here at home with the kids and could stop in to check on them anytime.  With working, I made new acquaintances and felt like I gained a sense of “me” again.

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I was not just mommy.

Eventually, I realized that all my money was going towards the nanny and it did not make sense for me to keep working there, but I enjoyed my time there. Two months later, I had regained my normal state of mind.

A break from the kids allowed me to heal emotionally, physically, and mentally.

I became a better mom. Crazy but so true.

Anyway, the point of this post is that postpartum depression is real. If you are struggling with negative thoughts and emotions, anger, and resentment, talk to someone. Start with your significant other or a friend, but start somewhere.

Take a break from the kids–if possible, take a day to yourself or a few hours even, on a weekly basis. As for me, I realized that when I am working, I am a better mom and wife because I have that time to myself where I am pursuing my interests and utilizing my skills, writing + teaching. I am currently only working part-time, and it has definitely helped with my state of mind.

Moms, let’s stop being judgmental of other mom’s choices. Let’s be supportive. You don’t know what that person may be going through. Instead of judging their decision to work or not, try to be a helping hand or a shoulder to lean on. We all need that support system.

 

 

Why Is It So Darn Hard For Women To Lose That Baby Weight?

Okay. Confession: I used to be one of those girls. You know… the super-fit gal with perfect abs and perfect legs judging those moms who were “not so fit” anymore after they had their baby.

It’s not so much that I judged how they looked. But I judged  their “slacking behavior ” for not getting back in shape. At least that’s what I thought.

If I only knew.

For those who know me, you know I used to be a dancer so I have always been  physically active. “Once a dancer, always a dancer”, they say. But  I haven’t been as active as in my dancing days.

It’s easier to judge others when you are not walking in their shoes.

Looking back now, oh,  how foolish I was.

It’s easy to pass judgment on others. I must have thought I would never ever gain weight or something. Ha. Silly. I know. But little did I know that those women, those hard working moms I used to judge, they were not slacking.

The truth is, never would I have imagined that I would ever have child bearing  hips, or let alone, thighs!!!  But when they came, it happened so fast that I’m still trying to figure out how that happened in the first place. Ha.

I was never curvy. I was skinny for as long as I can remember. Now that I am more curvy, I’m  still learning to love and accept this new me and  to love my body the way it is today. This can be very difficult sometimes, but it is something that a lot of moms are also facing. We are all envious  of our pre-baby bodies.

People are so easy to say comments such as, “Time to lose that baby weight.”  They have no filter. They have no idea how difficult it is for some women to lose weight. Do you think we like feeling “overweight”? Do you think we like that extra pouch?

Certainly not.

Losing weight is easier for some, harder  for others. We are not all the same, so we shouldn’t  compare and contrast our  progress to others. What we should be doing is encouraging each other because we all need that boost. Just remember that it took you nine months to put on the weight so it may take you  just as long , if not more, to lose it.

For me, it has definitely been harder after baby #2. I’m  working full time, jugggling motherhood, and trying to keep a home together. Now that my baby is a little bit older, I’m finally settling into a schedule and have been able to go for walks/jogging (I hate running) in the mornings.  I find that time to be very relaxing. If I’m not doing it with a workout buddy, I usually listen to a 45 minute podcast (Go Tim Ross of Embasy City!)  and will walk (with the stroller) until the end of the podcast. It makes it more fun and I’m  feeding my soul at the same time. Mind, body, and soul workout. The best kind.

I used to mainly work out to YouTube videos, but I am sick of them. I work from home so I am mostly home all day with the baby . I was in desperate need of a change  in my new exercise routine. I still do Pilates  as well.

So, why is it so darn hard for women to lose that baby weight?

1. Your body is different.

After having a baby your body is simply not the same. Things that you were once able to do will now take more energy and dedication. Not everyone is like this, but many moms have mentioned this to me.

2. No Time

We simply do not have time, especially when the babies are still infants or when you’re  dealing with more than one child. Finding the time can be difficult. Having said that, sometimes you are not able to exercise at the same time everyday. I recommend starting out with the little time you have. A few months ago, all I could squeeze in was 15 minutes because my baby was a bit complicated.  I would do a quick workout during nap time if he allowed or when hubby got home. But it was never consistent. Good thing, now my baby enjoys those walks and usually naps the whole time. I find that getting it done first thing in the morning after we take older brother to school  is more effective.  If you’re a working mom, perhaps an evening  workout might be best!

3. Motivation

This is where a workout  buddy comes in place. Moms make the best workout partners. It’s  easier to stick to your goals when someone is holding you accountable.  Plus, it’s more fun.

Think about what motivates you. What is your goal? Do you want to tone up? Lose body fat? Have a flat stomach?  We all have different  goals.

Whatever your goals are, choose a workout best for you and take your time. Remember, it’s  not about being skinny. It’s all about being healthy! I don’t  necessarily want to go back to Skinny Debbie, but I just want to tone up and be fit again!

There are so many different ways nowadays. The old days of going to the gym are simply old days. If you cannot get out the house to go to the gym  or go for a walk, there  is YouTube for you. Zumba. Pilates. Yoga. Dance. The list goes on. Whatever it is, it’s there.

So which ever category  you fall under, think of ways to overcome your obstacle. Find time. Find a buddy. Go for a walk. Find a gym.  Whatever you choose, the most important thing is that you stick to it.

 Getting started is easy, but sticking to it is the hard part!

Leave My Body Alone…Curves and All

It can be very difficult for some women to get back in shape after baby. We all have different body types, so for some it may happen in a month and others it may take a year or even longer.

I’m still not cleared to exercise, so today I started with some light stretching, as my muscles were feeling tight. My baby slept peacefully in the solly wrap against mommy’s chest.

My advice to women postpartum is, I believe that when you are ready, take your time and do the exercises that feel right to you and your body. There are many ways to get back in shape, but wait until your body is ready and do not feel pressured by anyone to lose the weight so quickly.

It is so easy for people to talk and say, “Wow, you’ve gained so much weight.” or “You look like a mom now.”  (What does that even mean?!?!)

….But don’t let comments like that get to you. Many people literally have no filter, and they don’t realize how much those words can affect a woman who is already dealing with a newborn and now the stress of trying to look like “herself” again.

I struggled with this after my first baby. The pressure to look myself again. I’d always been the “slender type” and now that I was a bit thicker, I was very uncomfortable and not confident in myself anymore. No matter how many times my husband told me I was beautiful.

It all starts with you. You have to love yourself. You have to love the new you. And you cannot let anyone else define you.

This time around with my second child, now 4 weeks postpartum, I am back to my pre-pregnancy weight or maybe even smaller due to exclusively breastfeeding since day 1. With my first I did not breastfeed exclusively until he was 6 weeks old so the weight took longer to come off.

Anyway, I do feel a lot stronger, lighter, and confident now. And even if I had not lost the weight so quickly, I told myself that this time around, I would not let those words get to me.

“Be careful now with that weight. If you wait too long, you may not be able to lose it anymore.”

Who says stuff like that?

You’ll be surprised. Some people do not consider the feelings of others. As if you are purposely trying to get fat. People do not realize the struggles and pressure, we, women, face concerning our body image.

It is easy to compare your progress to someone else’s and start to envy, but when you find yourself doing that, stop, breathe, and accept the way you are.

With time, hard work, and dedication, you can get back to the body you once had. But for now, enjoy the journey of motherhood–curves and all.

 

Exercising with Baby in Stroller

Like every other new mom, I’ve been worried about getting back in shape even though I’ve lost most of my pregnancy weight.  Exercising is almost impossible with a small baby,  but there are ways to do so.

I’ve made the decision to stop slacking off. Now that the fall has hit Arizona and the weather is cooling down, it is the perfect time to exercise outdoors. So I put my baby K in his stroller, and we went on a long one hour walk today.

It was a beautiful day. I look forward to walking with him everyday.

One hour can seem long so make sure you have some music to entertain yourself.

(My baby faces me in his stroller, so I can see if he was crying or anything.)
He was awake for 30, then fell asleeep.

Not bad for day 1. I plan on walking for close to an hour at least 4 days a week.