First off, let me tell you what this post IS NOT. This post is NOT a diet and exercise plan to get rid of the pooch where your baby resided for the longest 9 months ever. In my opinion, that pooch is a badge of honor (at least mine is).
In fact, this post has NOTHING TO DO with how you LOOK.
This post has everything to do with the mom bod I found myself in when my daughter was a year old: exhausted, run down, and unhealthy. Spiritually, physically, and emotionally bankrupt. I hated writing this post. I’ve been meaning to for a long time, but avoiding it. It’s hard as moms to admit that sometimes giving your all to other people is difficult. That sometimes meaning the kids get to school on time, or fed, means you don’t get a shower. That your lunches mostly consist of left over cold chicken nuggets your kid didn’t eat.
I think moms are important. I KNOW moms are important. But sometimes we as moms forget that. And it’s hard to lay our pride down in a society of mom-shaming and comparisons with people’s staged best life on social media. So. I’m telling you what I’ve learned through hardship. I’m using an image I hate: the world’s most unflattering no makeup, no filter, greasy hair, bad migraine picture my daughter took of me and said “you so beautiful mama.”. So, without further ado……
How to Avoid a Mom Bod
In retrospect I see a LOT of red flags and warning signs that led up to dear ol’ Delilah (the name I gave the migraine and chronic pain that have been my constant companion for 22 months). But we all know that saying about hindsight’s a beach. Or did I get that mixed up?
Now, almost two years in to a chronic illness battle and anticipating my daughters fourth birthday, I am kinda in a weird spot. I have learned to take care of my body, mind, and nurture my relationship with God in profound ways. But my body still doesn’t work right and I am still a mama 24/7.
That’s a picture of motherhood, isn’t it? Nothing stops for it. And the fact that you are not in control of a dang thing has a sneaky way of jumping out at you from dark corners. Here are some things I have put into practice to get myself out of survival mode all the time:
Start your day off right:
When your kid wakes up at 4 in the morning and won’t go back to sleep, do what you can mama. That’s full on survival mode. And I have been there far more than I should’ve been (hello stubborn sleeper). BUT. I started waking up before my daughter when she started to “sleep in” until 6:30. I go in my closet and do yoga because my pain is at its worst in the morning, so I have a tendency to feel defeated and full of despair first thing. One whole wall in my closet has notecards taped to it with scripture. I pray and read scripture and my day is so much better. And waking up at the same time every day has helped my exhaustion.
Don’t ignore your body:
My migraine days came more and more often when my daughter slowed down on nursing and I was working and getting no sleep. I did what I have always done and ignored them. Powered through.
Mama, pay attention to what your body is telling you. Find a good doctor. Do what you need to do to take care of yourself. The hardest thing I have ever experienced in my life was not being able to take care of my daughter because I was too sick. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
Take some me time:
This is coming from someone who has only had a non-family member watch her daughter one time so I could go to a doctors appt. So excuse me while I talk to myself: “Go for a walk by yourself. Go to the store by yourself. Do anything. BY YOURSELF. REGULARLY.”
My husband has blessedly pushed me to do this more regularly. He takes my daughter on “daddy dates” and I do something that makes me feel like Karissa for a minute, not just Caroline’s mom.
Take Care of yourself:
Don’t eat your exhaustion or emotions (again with the talking to myself). Eat healthy. Eat enough. Eat your own food, not the leftovers from your kids plate. Take vitamins. Find a way to get your body moving that you enjoy or tolerate.
Eating well and exercising are some of the biggest things you can do for yourself and consequently your family. I think this is the main reason my migraine is manageable now, like a “normal migraine” instead of a can’t walk can’t talk pass out migraine. It helps depression and anxiety, fatigue, and is a good example to your family. And a great way to teach your kids to count (reps baby) and respect mommy time.
Have mommy friends:
I struggle with this, to be honest. Introvert and migraine sensitive to light and sound and smell and dizzy all the time is not an awesome combo. So I prayed. I prayed for more friends, and for Godly influences. I have several close friends who speak truth and are amazing examples to me. Some are mamas, some are in completely different stages of life. And I need that, even when I think I don’t. Mommin’ ain’t easy, and we need a tribe to lift us up when we need it.
Pray without ceasing:
Don’t stop. Pray for everything and everyone and in every circumstance. God is near. He has you where you are. He has equipped you for this task. Call out to him constantly. He will give you what you need.