Motherhood is one of the most heart expanding, exhausting and important experiences of my life.
As a mother of three girls who are all under five years old, sleep is a rare treat in our house. Our days (and nights!) are chaotic, noisy and filled with love. When our first daughter was born my husband and I were amazed not by the radical change to our lives but how different we suddenly felt as parents.
When your first child is born your heart and identity are forever changed in a manner that feels almost instantaneous. No amount of reading or talking with family or friends prepared me for parenthood. My husband and I were suddenly swept into the club of parenting and it felt as if we had always been there. Once we became “Mom” and “Dad” our entire life perspective shifted from “us” to “her” and two short years later to “the girls” with the birth of our second daughter. With the recent birth of our third daughter our hearts are even more full, and so are the demands of everyday life!
As modern Moms we have been told we can have and do it all. While this concept can feel overwhelming, I love the thought behind it and the rejection of limitations that women have been bound to for so many years. Though of course in real life it’s more complicated than that! What “all” means to me is completely different than what it means to you and even for myself I find that my definition of “all” constantly shifts and changes. There is a price for everything and from my experience what I tend to think of as “having it all at once” takes more time than I can ever manage to find, particularly if I want to get even the smallest amount of sleep. I struggle to find enough time for each child, family member and friend and that’s before even thinking about adding in work!
So where does this leave us as Moms desperately needing that extra time to take care of ourselves? And how do we approach “having it all” without losing ourselves and our sanity in the process? I’m finding the two main keys here are: flexibility and shifting my own perspective.
Having it all is absolutely possible; the trick is a question of our priorities and time. Flexibility is central because you have to be willing to try different things to make it work! Trying to force your pre-parent life into this new paradigm is a sure course to great unhappiness. Instead look for creative ways to make “you” time a semi-shared activity like doing a quick core or leg series when the kids are watching a movie, or the baby is having tummy time on the mat. Try breaking up a full one-hour workout into shorter 15 or even 5-minute pieces to fit your fitness in each day. Our streaming videos and Custom Workout Subscription are tailor made with this flexibility in mind. Add on an outdoor activity like a walk to the park with the kids when possible and try a family Swan Arms Challenge for fun!
I also try to find other ways to save time on myself to free up more time for my own workouts and work. Two of my short cuts include doing face masks at home instead of facials or more time-consuming beauty treatments, and sleeping with wet hair in braids to add curl without ever having to touch a curling iron. And while the kids are young, I love the way that training remotely saves me time on my commute so I have more to give all around.
Finally, as Moms it is so important to be able to ask for help and support when we need it (as our little family grows this is central for me now!) and to surround ourselves with people that make our lives happier and healthier all around. Removing negative people and influences from our lives frees up an incredible amount of emotional space and time. To me this is one of the most empowering aspects of modern motherhood – shutting down the negative while using our voices to create a space that is positive and empowering for ourselves and our kids. Stay strong, Mamas, I’m with you!
xoxo – Mary Helen