The adage, “No one’s happy, unless Momma’s happy” takes on new meaning now that I’m pregnant, managing a coaching business, teaching Zumba, raising our son, taking care of my husband, and running a household. Now well into my second trimester people are suddenly noticing that my belly has popped, and there is another little being asking for my attention. Perfecting the art of balance became a priority with the birth of our last child, and I’m happy to report the second time around being pregnant this time has me at my peak.
Mommyhood is an all-consuming job. It is easy sometimes to lose the essence of who you are as you stare into the depths of your child’s eyes, inhale their sweet innocence, and stop whatever you’re doing to listen to them talk or cuddle away a hurt boo-boo. Read below for lessons learned from my first pregnancy and the life changes that really make us think twice about what balance really means in a growing family.
The To-Do List
Most women will agree with me that the to-do list is never ending. Unless we write it down, it can wake us up suddenly at night. “I need more diaper cream!” I also make it a point to re-prioritize each day what my top 3-5 actions items are to complete, and which ones I’d like to get to, but I’m okay with pushing to another day.
During my first pregnancy I found myself writing down what I ate to make sure I was taking my prenatal vitamins, eating enough green veggies, protein, whole grains, and fruit. Then as soon as my son was born, I logged his eating, activity time, sleep patterns, and me-time. Otherwise I’d forget in my sleep deprived brain fog, especially when my husband was deployed to Iraq, and my son was relying just on me. “Did I shower today or not?”
This time around running my own business and learning new choreography for Zumba, it has been critical so I don’t forget important school events for my son or my husband’s schedule.
For me writing it down is my saving grace. It allows me to dump it out of my head so I can sleep when the opportunity presents itself. On the really crazy days when I’ve been side tracked more than I’ve been able to check of my pre-prioritized to-do list, I will make a “Have Done” list at the end of the day so I can see why I was so busy. It allows me to let things go, and re-focus on what is really important to me and my family: taking care of each other.
I heard over and over again from moms during the first pregnancy to make sure I took care of myself. That’s a no-brainer to most when we’re pregnant, and are focused on healthy eating, exercising, and sleeping for two. It is more critical as soon as the baby is born.
Taking 30 minutes for a hot bath, sitting in a coffee shop to read a few chapters of a good book, and allowing your spouse or family to watch the baby so you can go do a quick work-out in-between breast-feeding is pivotal to regaining your equilibrium post pregnancy. As the mom of a toddler and being pregnant the second time one of my non-negotiable priorities is doing Zumba or yoga, six days a week. If I do not do this, then I am not in touch with whom I really am, my body feels like an alien has taken over it, and I’m a grouch. Taking me time allows me to be a better wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend, instructor, and coach.
Connecting With Others
It started with my midwife’s natural mom’s group and La Leche League breastfeeding group the first time. It evolved into 5-6 days a week of doing Zumba with other men and women there to shimmy, shake, and lift each other up as we pursue fitness and healthy spirits. Stress melts away, and our problems don’t seem so insurmountable when we have friends to help carry the load or make us laugh.
The biggest disservice you can do for yourself is to put your passions, your dreams, and your life purpose on hold once children come along. It affects the strength of your marriage, your self-identity, and your mental health. It is just as important as carving me-time out and connecting with other people to reduce stress. Pursue something you’re passionate about, stay involved in causes, and pick up hobbies that allow you to tap into your creative side. Do something that makes you feel a part of something bigger than just your nuclear family. Our kids will grow up. Losing ourselves in our children’s and husband’s lives and schedules does not complete us as women. We also have to focus energy on our growth and development as well.
Enjoying the Moment
Each of these “ah-hah” truths bring me to my favorite of them all: “enjoying the moment.” Life goes by so fast. If we are focusing on the past or the future, we miss what is right in front of us. Making routines, keeping schedules, checking off to-do lists, pursuing our dreams on a daily basis, connecting with others and things that are important to us are the actions that keep us in the present moment. If you’re doing too much, then cut things back until you feel relaxed and not rushed. This
At the end of the day I know my family is happy and is achieving balance, because our focus every day is on what is important to pursuing our goals. I have so many moments of pure joy each day, because I’m paying attention to what is good. There is an indescribable surge of satisfaction every time I get off Skype or the phone with a client, and I’ve been privy to their latest success checking off their actions on their 90 Day Plans. When I’m dancing and doing Zumba with a class, and we nail a difficult flamenco step or we make eye contact as we yell out, “ole!” or “Zumba!” As my husband and I cuddle next to our son and his hands are on both my husband and I as he murmurs, “I love you” in his sleep. And, when my husband and I look at each other across the dinner table as we talk about our day with the baby kicking happily away inside, our dog at our feet, and our son prattling on about his new buddy at school…It is there that ever-elusive balance. We’ve kept all the balls in the air as we juggle our life. And, I know we’ve made it, because momma’s happy.
Lyndsay Katauskas, MEd
Mars Venus Coaching
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