Baby weight, lack of sleep, no free time -- this is the typical rhetoric for busy parents. But I've got news, it doesn't have to be this way. We don't have to rely on triple shot venti frappucinos with 50g of sugar just to get through the day. The common thread most people associate with having children is that your health must suffer. For women, it's long been associated that once you have kids you automatically lose the body you once had, and you better be okay with that. No doubt, things will change, but they don't have to change for the worse.
1. You are now a superhero
All you had to do was bring a little human into the world. No freaky spider bites or laboratory mishaps necessary. But seriously, even if all you do is sit on the couch and mow potato chips, your kids will still think your a God. This is how little brains work, to them, you are the bees knees, the cats pyjamas, you brought them into the world and you keep them alive. Since they are watching your every move, it is of paramount importance that we teach them well through example. Being active and getting outside sets a good example to our kids that activity and fresh air is important
2. Learn how to be a kid again
Embracing our inner child sounds like pseudo spiritual advice but can actually make us way healthier. Because what do children do? They play. They aren't focused on running a set number of miles or stressing about not getting enough exercise. Playfulness is drilled out of us at such a young age and it is so unfortunate. If we find activities that we can enjoy, being active doesn't feel like a chore. Remember playing tag for hours at a time. Or swinging on the monkey bars like you were an actual monkey. Our kids will love us all the more if we join in the fun and games and learn how to play again.
3. Embrace foods that encourage growth
I know when I cook for my little guy I'm thinking about what's best for him. You are what you eat, so feeding our babes the best stuff will ensure they grow into the best version of themselves. In turn, we'll probably end up eating what we make for our little ones which will make us healthier as well. Gone are the days of twinkies for breakfast and KD for lunch. If we want our kids to eat vegetables, we have to eat them. If we want them to have an open mind about trying different foods, we have to as well. Prioritizing healthy food for ourselves and our little ones helps everyone to have more energy and better mood. Until they go to bed of course and then.... wine is healthy too right?
4. Find your rhythm and stride
Routine. It used to be a dirty word in my vocabulary but since becoming a mom I'm learning to embrace it. It's actually nice to have a rhythm. To know when to wake up, change bums, make food, drink coffee, play, sleep and repeat. It's oddly soothing to know what comes next and of course it's important for our kids development. That said, its nice to change it up and be spontaneous too. But having a habitual daily course of action makes life a lot easier and we simply don't have to play a guessing game about what comes next.
5. Learn how to cope better with stress
Is there any greater stress than being responsible for the life of another human? I don't care if you're a nuclear physicist in charge of exploding the death star coming towards Earth, it's still probably not as intense as being a parent. In the early days it's like every little bump and tumble baby takes gives you a panic attack. But it gets easier, you adapt and get used to your child falling off the kitchen chair or running into the near by lake to chase the geese. You learn to breathe and laugh it off because, well, you haven't got a choice.
6. Sing, laugh and dance
Never did I think I'd be the parent that sings baby beluga even when my child isn't around. Alas, here we are, and Raffi is actually pretty rad. There's no greater joy than making your little one laugh whole heartedly. We play a little game where I give my son a drum and when he plays it I dance, and when he stops, I stop. He thinks its absolutely hilarious. Being silly is one of the best parts of being a parent. You don't have to worry if you sound like an angry goat instead of Whitney Houston, your baby just wants to see you smile.
7. Self love and all of the above
Okay so bringing another human into the realm is a pretty epic accomplishment. Seeing our kids learn new things is amazing and you know you had a large part to play in their growth. This is the stuff that breeds real self love, not the phoney fake kind but the kind where you actually feel proud of yourself. Nobody's perfect, but when you fully adore your kids you know you'll always do your best for them. And all anyone can do is their best in health, in life and beyond.