I’m extremely grateful that the high-waisted yoga pant thing became a trend after baby number three! I remember looking at my belly months after Adelaide and thinking, “Will things ever look normal again?” There were a few factors standing in the way of this:
Belly button hernia
Photography by: Abbie Rose
To be honest, I definitely did not feel as inspired to move my butt post baby three as I had before. I was suddenly so busy chasing these three little ones that the idea of setting aside time seemed overwhelming on most days. (That sentence in itself is a huge other blog post…) But for today I’m going to keep things light and simple and talk about a few things that really inspired me to move the body, get my abs back, and feel comfortable in my own skin again.
This is a word that, once again, requires a blog post, but we will just lightly touch on it today. I think that for some of us this word is so huge, and we don’t even know what to do with it. Maybe you grew up in a home where play was not celebrated, or maybe as an adult you have set up so much structure in your life that you have forgotten the love and inspiration behind this word.
Regardless of your reason or history, play may be one of the most important investments you make in your life. Play is the source of our creativity, our personal outlet where we find joy and allow ourselves to truly let go. Letting go of all the standards, expectations, and rules around movement is one of the best ways to get your body moving post baby. Often, if an activity isn’t associated with going to a gym or studio or doesn’t have the word “workout” attached to it, we write it off as being ineffective in our journey back to the post-baby jeans. In reality, however, when we allow ourselves to feel and experience the joy and pleasure of play, we are happier and more effective moms/wives and individuals. When we operate in this emotional space instead of in the space of rules, we make decisions that fuel our body in a healthier or more productive way. We start to view what we put into our bodies as fuel instead of using food as a coping mechanism, we chose healthier environments and relationships, and we learn to be careful about the language we use about ourselves. Play is currently a journey I’m on (future blog post) but the one thing I have realized so far in this journey is that as I have learned to laugh I have also learned to love the skin I’m in. This body can do some pretty cool things—I now have a much deeper respect for it and take far deeper joy in it. In short, I like myself more.
- Invest in new mom clothes.
I love fashion. I love the freedom it gives us to express ourselves and make the body an individual canvas, so for me finding time and space for shopping post baby is very important. I have become very choosy over the years about where and in who I invest my money in terms of fashion, so this has slowed my spending down a lot! But dressing my post-baby body in clothes that fit, flatter my new frame, and allow for effortless mom movement changes everything about my day. For me, self-love is about celebrating everything I have become along this journey of motherhood. When we celebrate the new skin we are in and shift our focus from what we are not to a stance of gratitude, it changes everything about our journey. Do I need clothes or material things to feel good about myself? No I don’t, but I also know that if I take a small portion of funds to invest in celebrating what my body has become instead of what it’s not, I will feel more confident in facing my workouts, mom dates, play dates, and meetings because I feel good about the investment I have made in myself.
I love that fitness wear is one of the most popular looks in fashion right now. Throwing on a good-fitting t-shirt with some yoga pants and a great pair of New Balance is my jam! Looking stylish while mommying it hard truly brightens up my day and helps this mom feel like she hasn’t completely lost it. I also feel better hitting the gym knowing I don’t look like I got hit by a train. (Okay, maybe I still look like that more moments then not!) But whatever!
Here’s the bottom line: When we feel good and celebrate what we are, we’re more open to saying yes to getting back to our gym workouts, time with friends, and moments that help us cope with mom life. Is a good outfit really that powerful? For me it is, and I want to celebrate every stage of the skin I’m in instead of waiting until I’m the perfect size, have the perfect belly, or have the perfect butt to I enjoy this canvas.
- Suck it up.
I’m going to give it to you tough here. Life is not easy, things are not always fun, and sometimes getting to where you are going requires some sweat. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk about your workout habits. I’ve heard tons of people say, “If it isn’t fun, don’t do it!” Although I believe in having fun and that your workouts ideally should be fun, the reality is that sometimes they are just regular workouts and you need to be okay with that and stop whining. Working through your weakness requires you to step outside of your comfort zone—working through moments that lack of excitement and embracing some sweat. I promise that you can handle 10 minutes of discomfort, and that’s all I’m asking of you, but for those 10 minutes you must choose what is going to challenge you the most. What’s going to leave your breathless, sweaty, and feeling great once it’s done? Because this isn’t just about burning calories! This is about proving to yourself that you can do it, that you are strong enough, and that no matter how hard things get, you can work through discomfort. As North Americans, we tend to run away from any type of discomfort, when in many cases it should be what we are running to. We are not meant to be soft, uninspired woman who quit easily. We are moms/wives and friends who daily face crazy struggles, so your workout is just training ground for what you emotionally and physically face on a daily basis. When things get tough, your brain and body are going to remind you that you don’t quit and you’re not easily distracted from achieving your goals. Girlfriend, pick up the sweat towel, fill your water bottle, and sweat! You are working towards way more than that perfect body!
Plus, the good news is that as you sweat, groan, and face those workout demons, you are also one step closer to your physical goal (whatever that may be).
What’s my workout goal, and why do I keep moving through the discomfort?
I want my children to see that I worked hard and didn’t give up when it got tough.
I want to be the mom who can support my kids when they need a workout partner when they are training for their own goals.
I want to finally take backpacking trips around the world when we are empty nesters and know my body is up for it.
I want my body to feel good when I stand naked in front of the mirror, not because it’s perfect but because I take the time to take care of what I have been given.