The contributors over at OKC Moms Blog have a private Facebook group in which we discuss extremely important blogging-related topics like ta-ta towels and cookie butter oreos. A few weeks ago, I asked this group of new and seasoned moms from all walks of life if I would EVER not be tired again? (I’m eight months into this mom gig.) Although these moms were full of support and encouragement as always, no one came back with a resounding “YES! On this day. In this amount of time. You will have all your energy back.” Not exactly the reassurance I was hoping for, but it did inspire me to reflect on what I can do to get through this season of life in one piece.
Lack of sleep is part of mom life, but being a mombie doesn’t have to be! Here are my best tips to combat exhaustion:
I know, I know, I know. You don’t have time to workout. I’m not asking you for two hours at the gym every day. I’m talking about just 20-30 minutes of walking, lifting weights, swimming, something you enjoy. You’re too tired to work out. As Elle Woods reminds us, “Exercise makes you happy, and happy people just don’t kill their husbands.” Exercising helps get you into a good cycle – it provides you with happy hormones and energy for your day and helps you fall asleep faster and get better quality sleep at night, resulting in having more energy the next day!
- Avoid caffeine.
I know, I know, I know. You can’t mom without coffee. I’m not asking you to give up lattes forever. Try giving up caffeine for 3 weeks, and you may find that you really don’t need it. Much of our beloved caffeine addiction is just a comforting habit – try switching to decaf or half-caff and keep it all before noon.
- Stay hydrated.
Mild dehydration contributes to fatigue and headaches. Be sure you’re getting plenty of high quality, filtered water.
- Focus on nutrition.
Exhaustion makes us crave the quick fix energy that comes from sugar & processed carbs – think donuts, bagels, & cheese fries. These foods may taste great in the moment, but they send our bodies into a vicious cycle of crashing and cravings. For your best energy, focus on anti-inflammatory foods and get plenty of protein and healthy fats.
- Practice meditation.
Meditation is not only super relaxing, it helps you develop the skills to turn your mind down before bed each night. We spend so much time teaching our babies how to fall asleep, yet we often rely on television or cell phones to help us fall asleep! Mediation is a game changer for sure. When I was very early postpartum and had tons of heavy anxiety, I would use the Headspace app to help me fall asleep for naps during the day.
- Go outside… and take your babies with you.
Not only does Vitamin D help ward off depression, the natural rhythms of the sun help our bodies develop a good circadian rhythm. Taking kiddos outside at dusk helps them get mentally prepared for bed time!
- Turn off those screens!
You’ve probably heard this before, but maybe you’re not convinced. Let me be the one hundredth person to tell you that taking your cell phone to bed is a bad idea. The National Sleep Foundation warns that the blue light from screens suppresses melatonin, the hormone that helps us fall asleep and recommends 30 minutes of screen free time to unwind before bed.
What is your favorite restful ritual?
I went to my first ever yin yoga class this week. If you’re not familiar with yin yoga, it is essentially a 90 minute meditation practice where you do a few simple poses for long lengths of time. Toward the end of the class, we were in our second side of pigeon pose and as they often do, tears started to fall from my eyes; from my heart. Yoga helps you to soften. In that practice, the tears weren’t of sadness. They were of conviction.
In our practice, Darci often asks us to choose one thing we want to invite in and in that moment I knew: kindness. It is the trait I admire most of my mother and grandmother. I believe it is the secret sauce to the ever-elusive happiness. I need to invite kindness. I need to learn kindness. I need to cultivate kindness. I need to be kindness.
The opposite of kindness is not pure evil. It is impatience. It is rudeness. It is ungratefulness. It is brattiness. It is pettiness. It is shame. It is anger. It is apathy. It is passive aggression. It is too tired. It is distracted.
I am embarking on a kindness adventure. I’m not sure what valleys and mountains I will cross, but I am going.
Featured Photo Credit: Jeanye Mercer
This April, my son and I completed the Hike It Baby 30 Challenge! Hike It Baby is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping families get outside and get moving! There are local groups all over the country! The challenge consisted of logging 30 miles within the month of April. Before having a baby, 30 miles could have easily been logged over the course of 3-4 days. This April, I barely scraped by, hitting 30.17 miles on the last day, but I loved the challenge and I’m looking forward to the next one in September!
Here’s what I learned hiking 30 miles with my newborn:
1. Babies LOVE to be outdoors!! My son is happiest outside. This is a huge motivator for me to get outside every day, even in the rain.
2. Every mile counts. Some days, I would just strap him on and walk to the stop sign and back, logging just under a mile. I rarely was able to log more than 2 miles in one day. This was good though, because it required me to be consistent and get outside every single day.
3. The right carrier matters! I wish I had done more research about baby carriers before I had my little guy. I probably would have purchased a LilleBaby All Seasons carrier, but my Boba 4G worked out just fine and I’m looking forward to using my Onya Pure when he gets a bit bigger.
4. Motherhood doesn’t mean the end to your hobbies and adventures. Sure, it’s a little harder to squeeze in a hike and I worry much more about the heat and I have to pack three bags just to go to the local park for an hour, but it’s worth it to share the outdoors with my son. I hope he continues to love it as he grows older!
You guys, I am bad at cooking. I burn everything, mainly because that’s the way I like it. I also have an unusual disdain for trying anything new. I’ve been ordering the same meal at the Cheesecake Factory (and every other restaurant we frequent) for 10 years. My usual weekday meals consist of eggs for breakfast and taco meat for lunch with a side of potatoes and avocado. Seriously. Every day. I really don’t mind repeating meals over and over throughout the week – it cuts down on cooking/cleaning time, wasted food, and decisions.
Honestly, I think my dislike of cooking is more of a lack of confidence, so I jumped on google and found some recipes that I thought I could try out. I found this recipe from Paleo Hacks and knew I could work with it. I am so excited to share, because it was delicious, free (we had ALL the ingredients on hand), and fun to make!
1 filet mahi mahi (I pan-fried mine)
1 can salmon
-Mix each of these with a dollop of paleo mayo
1 large avocado
1 cup cooked white rice
Makes 4 Sushi Towers
Layer a measuring cup with chopped cucumber, mashed avocado, the fish of your choice, and fill to the top with rice! Put a plate on top, flip it over, tap the measuring cup, and you have a super fancy meal!
Whether it is your first or your thirtieth round of Whole30, having a newborn throws a kink in the best laid plans for success. There are a number of reasons new mamas might want to complete a Whole30. My main reasons were more energy and less anxiety.
If you’re ready to jump in to the Whole30, here are my best tips for doing it with your mini-me in tow.
- Find recipes that you enjoy cold.
Not only will you have to eat on-the-go, but even when you’re at home, reheating food is a luxury with a newborn. Leftover steak is delicious straight from the fridge. Believe me.
- Get a handy lunch carrier.
You will be out and about with your little one, and we know everything takes longer than you think it will. Do yourself a favor and pack a mini-meal any time you’re leaving the house for more than an hour!
- Eat breakfast. No. Matter. What.
It doesn’t matter if it’s not “breakfast food” – just eat a meal that follows the meal template.
- Keep a “treat” on hand.
Without breaking the SWYPO rule, keep something on hand that you can reach for in the difficult moments. A favorite treat of mine is grapefruit La Croix in a wine glass.
- Plan around growth spurts.
This is the BEST advice I have for you. Basically ALL of the newborn stage is a growth spurt, and the first three leaps come at 5, 8, and 12 weeks. Do your best to have extra food on hand, especially if you are breastfeeding your little one.
- Don’t be afraid to quit.
Consider your goals and whether or not a Whole30 is right for you! Do you simply need to be more mindful of your eating habits? Do you need to become more comfortable with your postpartum body? It doesn’t have to be all or nothing, and we don’t need one more reason as mamas to be hard on ourselves. Maybe commit to just giving up sugar and dairy and not worrying about grains. Maybe work really hard toward 80/20.
Whatever you decide to do, get plenty of support from your partner and and the rest of your tribe and know that with each healthy choice you make, you and your baby are reaping the endless benefits found in choosing to eat real food!
Have you Whole30d postpartum? How did it go? What tips would you share?