The Best NapTime Workouts for BabyMamas

So….

Memorial Day Weekend….

a dreaded weekend for most females with little babies/toddlers/kids(?)

Especially me, especially this Memorial Weekend.

Why?

Because alllllll winter I convinced myself that I would workout, eat like a bunny, and be all zen like so that I could look like this by the summer.

UNSPECIFIED - JULY 27:  Medium shot of Bo Derek as Jenny, wearing bathing suit, running on beach.  (Photo by Warner Bros./Getty Images)

So that didn’t happen.

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OK, OK, a bit dramatic. I’m all about girl power loving your body, look what I grew and made sh@$. But Ladies, you know what I’m sayin- the struggle is real. We gotta stick together.

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Here’s the thing. I love working out!….at a gym. Plugging in my tunes, the infiltration of endorphins, not having my kids around, being miles from the unfinished laundry, or piles of dishes- it’s a glorious. Historically, it has been my most successful way to get in shape post baby.

But with baby’s more demanding nap schedule and the endless pick up and drop off times,  I just can’t swing it.  I’ve recently (as in last week) turned to the good ole’worldwideweb. Surprisingly, for this non-runner, it’s been a really helpful tool to workout and re-motivate.

A friend recently told me about a series called ‘Bikini Body Mommy‘ (I know, I know… don’t judge my the name) it’s actually a really great way to jumpstart any kind of fitness/weight loss journey. Briana, the BBM, is personable, real, and is right there with you sweating it out, and modifying positions and exercises when she’s tired. It’s free and quick, all of the workouts are about 15-20 minutes.

I have also been doing additional workouts when I have the time (and energy). The workouts below are SUPER quick and can be done with no props.  I use water bottles for weights, or increase the reps if there is a resistance band needed. Do 1 or ALL! They may be short, but you will FEEL IT.

NapTime Workouts

First and foremost, a celebration that you have a few minutes of freedom. GET IT GUUURRRLLL!! 😉

WHOLE BODY

CORE

ARMS

BOOTY

Best of luck ladies, best of luck.

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Done with pregnancy? Bring on the sideburns.

You think you’ve experienced it all.

The months of morning sickness, the weight gain, the exhaustion, the complete metamorphis of your body , childbirth, recovery from childbirth, breastfeeding… WOW, you are amazing! Go you!

And then a few months later, when you’re juuuussssttt starting to get your groove back. You notice something. 

You’re in one of your famous 2 minute showers washing your hair when you realize there’s a big clump of hair in your hand. If this is your first  you think, WTF is this?! And/or, like me, if you’ve been down this road before, you curse  yourself for not remembering this part; you curse your parents for bad pregnancy genes, and then you cry for that little ounce of self confidence you have left; for the end of your pregnancy mega-hair… this  part, the final chapter of your pregnancy experience, is happening. There’s no turning back.

For me, it’s always the same. I lose the mega-awesome-thickness and a whole bunch’a hair right around my face line, ear to ear. No hiding it.

  

Oh yea….my hairstylist LOVED the challenge of highlighting a semi-balding emotional wreck of a woman. 

But why?!?! 

In a nutshell ( or so I tell myself)

You have mega-awesome pregnancy hair when you’re pregnant because your body is clinging to every nutrient it has. When baby is evicted, your body gives all nutrients to baby through your breast milk and since you haven’t lost any hair in months, it makes up for it in the months after. In case you were curious, weightloss just make it worse…sigh… 

It’s like a big laughable mother lovin metaphor. You give it it all. Really. ALL. 

Hairspray and hats help, I guess.  I wish I could tell you a quick fix… Sorry, there aren’t any. Just time…and f’ing patience. 

Someday we’ll laugh about this.

Ha.

Ha.

Ha.

Over and out.

Love,

Sideburns

and then there was you

It’s 10 o’clock the night before your 6th birthday. It’s taking every ounce of self restraint not to walk upstairs and cuddle you like a baby and tell you everything. Your story, our story, is epic. And someday, when you’re older, I will tell you everything. But not now, not tonight.

Every year, for the past 5 year, in the days before your Birthday I think about those crazy 9 months and how that one day, the day you came, changed my life.

I look back now and think about how unready I was, how unprepared… how I should have been more scared. And there were many (many) moments, when I was. But there was something about you from the very first time we thought about you. We knew that we already loved and wanted you.

anna prego
Pregnancy is not kind to me. With you I had preclampsia, gained 90 (yes, NINETY) pounds, had swollen hands and feet for 80% of the pregnancy, and was throwing up DAILY. It was brutal.

I keep looking at the clock, reliving the hours before your birth. 10:30pm at the hospital getting checked in to our room for induction. I had pre-clampsia when I was pregnant with you and that day I had gone to my 37week appointment, Daddy was there. The Doctor came in and told me that the protein count in my urine had tripled and that we should plan on checking into the hospital that day. It was a big shock! I was rushing around trying to get everything ready when I noticed Daddy sitting at his computer. “Cris, we don’t have time for this, we have to get everything packed!” He looked at me with fear in his eyes and said, “I have to order a filling cabinet, we have nothing to put her birth certificate in!” Everyone deals with fear differently 🙂

After a dramatic pregnancy, labor and delivery- you were here.

eliza infant

YOU.

My first. My baby. My girl.

When you were born, my world, my entire being was transformed. I could never have imagined that it was ever possible to love someone so much.

eliza baby nyc

The first year of your life, we roamed the city. We would explore every inch of Manhattan. We would meander around Central Park for hours. I made my first group of “Mommy Friends” and experienced another level of friendship that was (is!) so essential and meaningful. Although we are no longer in NY, those NY Mamas will ALWAYS hold a place in my heart and are still some of my dearest friends.

We had a lotta fun little girl and I knew early on that you were special.

eliza mama beach

Eliza, you are amazing.

Being your Mama is an honor.

You are strong, clever, beautiful, and kind.

Eliza 2 1:2 Eliza 2

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I am so proud of who you are and who I see you becoming.

I will do my best to be there for you, to listen, to love, to let you explore, to encourage, to cherish the wild, to challenge when needed, and to help you stay true to who you really are.

Happy 6th Birthday my love.

eliza boat

We love you to infinity and beyond!

Eliza at wedding

Dear Young Person

It took turning 30 for me to turn into an Grown-Up.

Not marriage, or paying bills, or living on my own, working, or even having kids. 30. Something clicked at 30.

As you can probably tell by my post ‘Here’s Where I’m At‘ this year seems to me the year of self reflection and contemplation. Sometimes, the process of self reflection and contemplation can be tough; getting loss in the abyss of should haves… the self pity… we’ve all been there. For years I’ve struggled between allowing myself to grieve for the injustices of my past vs the ‘everything happens for a reason’ and the ‘it made me who I am’ justifications. In this moment, right now, I am happy with who I am..regardless of my past. HOWEVER, I do wish I could have said some things to my younger self.

Dear Young Person,

Love Will Find You

You don’t need to take matters into your own hands and actively seek out your lifelong partner…. At least, not yet.  This is so important. You will save yourself a lot of heartache and the ripple effect (and there are many many ripples) of bad decisions.

Be a Good Friend

..and surround yourself with people who bring out the best in you. On that note,

Find the Nerds

I could write a book about the advantages that aligning with, or being, a nerd provides. There is less pressure on superfluous social things, which will inevitably lead to less bad decisions (with less bad decision ripples…)  and more pressure on academics and personal enrichment which will probably create a path of positive ripple opportunities (overboard with the ripples?) Just know, dear Young Person, that the nerds are the smart, funny, and nice kids who then grow up to be the successful, (still) funny,  more interesting adults.

Spend Time with Elders

Don’t dismiss old people. They have so much to offer. Listen to stories, ask questions, and take notes. You don’t know everything… but they probably do.

Play Play PLAY

Never stop. It’s much better than movies, or going to the mall, I promise.

snow play

Wear Sunscreen

I vividly remember seeing a poster in the old lifeguard station that read, “The most sun damage happens before age 18.” I was 17 at the time with years of baby oil suntanning behind me… I told myself, as I did all those summers before, “I’m (1/2) latina… and I live in Vermont, it’s like a month a year of hot sun. I’m ok.” For the record, it doesn’t matter how light or dark your skin is, everyone should wear sunscreen…even if you live in Vermont. There are hundreds of creams, sprays, etc that can make you look like surfer barbie without the sun damage, skin cancer, sun spot, and wrinkles.  You will thank me when you’re older.

Wear Wild Outfits

Wear wild and fun outfits and wear them for you.

Be Kind 

Being a kid can be tough, being a teenager can be REALLY tough. The onset of social media and numerous ways to instantly communicate with one another have presumably made the complicated lands of teenage angst even more tumultuous. Don’t try and navigate it gracefully. Navigate it gracefully. Learn this.Live this.

The Golden Rule

There are 18 different religions and spiritual followings that each have numerous versions of the ‘Golden Rule’? That’s pretty impressive. It must mean it’s worth knowing…know it.

The Golden Rule(s) YOU, young person, need to know-

(The In a Nutshell Version) Treat others how you would want to be treated

(The Tech Version)  Never type/text anything that you wouldn’t want said about you

See the Beauty in Your Backyard 

You will never see the true beauty in the world unless you can find and appreciate the beauty in your own backyard.

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Get Outside

Everything you need can be found outside in nature. You will be your best and strongest self when you are in the wilderness, soak it up as much and as often as you can.

grand canyon

You’ll be OK. You are stronger than you think. Xoxo

So, she just had a baby…now what?

**Disclaimer**

When the author of this post (ahem, me) wrote this first draft she was hormonal, sleep deprived, un-showered.

and….well,

proceed with caution.

and please don’t be offended.

*                     *                    *

Pregnancy for me is every synonym of terrible. 10 months of bloated, nauseous, uncomfortable, exhausted, grossness, wherein I inevitably gain about 60-90lbs. Oh yea, a real sight.

But then, on or around the 6th (or 100th) time that you are convinced that you could not get any bigger or uncomfortable…. There’s a baby. Poof! Snap of a finger! Baby!

(Hardly, but we’ll save THAT experience(s) for another time)

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Whether it is by pushing, c-section, or adoption- Having a baby is an unparalleled experience. 6 Million years of procreating has led us to an experience of utter devotion and awe of babies. I am deeply blessed to have three beautiful, healthy babies. Everyday I am thankful for their health and existence.

This post was first written in a dark place in the mama lowlands….about 6 weeks in, when the adrenaline has receded. I felt exhausted, fat, and isolated from friends and the general population of people who didn’t have a newborn gnawing on their poor poor nipp….OK OK OK, happy place, happy place, I’m not there anymore.

No, for realz. This post is intended to give ‘the new Mamas’ a voice. To share with you, a very summarized version of what it’s like in those first few weeks and, hopefully, how you can best be there for that new mama in your orb.

God speed.

It is overwhelming having a newborn.

In those first few days/weeks the most important thing for Mama to do is to recover from childbirth, which is not a comfortable experience. Mama can hardly walk, is crampy (worst with each pregnancy!) bloody, exhausted, hormonal, and feels like a deflated balloon. She stands in the mirror and wonders if she will ever have a belly button again…

Mama and baby are enamored and mystified with each other. All they want to do is bond and get to know each other in a calm, safe, and quiet environment.

They are trying to figure out breastfeeding, which is emotionally and physically draining and more often than not, pretty tricky. The BEST way for Mama and Baby to figure out the labyrinth of breastfeeding is to have skin to skin contact all day. No joke. No shirts, nakey baby… all. day.

Mama and Baby are both going through a lot and rest is so important.

These things are hard to do even with the simplest of basic human needs like eating and  going to the bathroom. Of course if there are other dependents to think about, it is even more complicated. The onset of visitors makes these things near impossible.

I get it, everyone wants to meet the baby, it’s exciting and new, and it’s pretty freaking awesome seeing such a new little human. But take it from me, Mama needs some time.

But how, Anna?! HOW do I help my dear Wife, BabyMama, Daughter, Sister, Friend get through this and know I love her and I’m here for her!

Fear not friend, read on.

Your FRIEND just had a baby

Drop off food: Keep it simple.

Meals that won’t require her to do much/anything and put them in containers that she can throw away or keep. Whole Meals- pesto pasta with vegetables, enchiladas, soup with yummy bread. If she has other kids, make sure you consider the picky eaters…i.e. simple is best. I had a friend who brought me pesto orzo loaded with veggies and feta and then a ziplock bag full of noodles and butter for my older babes (GENIUS)

If meals aren’t possible (or needed) treats like banana bread, oatmeal cookies, muffins, bagels, and good beer are great options.

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I love the idea of a Taco Box
Be a friend: Mommy-mush-brain is real and she may not be her usual sharp and witty self, cut her some slack and catch her up on the preschool gossip while handing her some trashy magazines and a 6-pack of good beer.

Take care of her other dependents: If she has other kids, take them to the park, offer a play date at your house, or give them a ride(s) to/from school. If no other kids, but a first-child-dog, you guessed it, take that damn dog for a walk.

Your DAUGHTER/DAUGHTER IN LAW just had a baby

(all of the previous, and…)

Help HER: If you are there, help HER. As much as you want to be there just for the baby (don’t deny it…)  Mama is the one who needs you. And what does she need you to do?

Pick 1 or ALL of the following- Clean, cook, wash the dishes, take out the trash (there will be lots of trash), tidy up, wash and fold the laundry, go grocery shopping, help with thank you notes, help with the other dependents, and…

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Moral Support: Mama is going to be moody and emotional. She is going to keep face for the outside world, but with you, her Mama, she will probably cry, a lot. Its a tricky mix of exhaustion and hormones. Try and recognize when she needs to just let it out and when she may need a little ‘break from baby’. Biology is amazing. As exhausted and overwhelmed as she is, she will not want to separate from baby, if only for 20 minutes! GENTLY offer up “It looks like baby is out for a bit, why don’t you take a shower and rest while I finish folding the laundry.”

Your WIFE/BABYMAMA/PARTNER just had a baby

(all of the previous, and…)

Be her Gladiator: Everyone is going to want to come and see the new baby. We have now learned that endless visitors are not the best thing for mama and baby. Be the gatekeeper! You be the one to tell friends, family, and neighbors when (and when NOT) to come by. When family is mad that they can’t come within an hour of getting home from the hospital, you deal with it…be her flippin gladiator.

Fake it till ya make it:  Even if you can’t understand what she has/is going through; even if you love baby but can’t quite bond with it just yet (totally normal in those first few weeks!) Just love both of them. Show her you love her, show her you love baby. Rub her back, listen to her, tell her you love her more than you ever have before. Be in awe of the process.

Show her: 2 words.

Push Prize.

No, no, no, don’t roll your eyes. Give her something.

It doesn’t have to be diamonds, or expensive.

Give her something that shows how much you value her experience. A letter or photo-book with memories from her pregnancy and new baby, jewelry, a book of poems, a piece of art, a journal. Give her something that she will be able to have always, to remember this wild and beautiful time.

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And Mamas, I promise, it gets easier….and then harder, and then easier again 🙂 Have faith in 6 million years of evolution. It works. Trust your intuitions and if you need help, ASK. Hell, even if you are a stubborn, I can do anything type a gal, ask for help.

As wonderful and hard as it is- feel, remember, be present and enjoy the ride of this fleeting time.

Max-a-maccah-moosey-man is FOUR

The morning of April 27th, 2011 I was waddling around a high-school track.

waddle waddle waddle waddle

down on all fours

Breath…..jusssstttttttt flipping breath

waddle waddle waddle waddle

down on all fours

Breath…..jusssstttttttt flipping breath

waddle waddle waddle waddle

down on all fours

Breath…..jusssstttttttt flipping breath

“Cristo, must be time… really we should go, I bet it’s time to go.”

—–

We’d been at this for about an hour. Contractions had begun around midnight, we went to the midwife around 8am, and to my shocked ears… I was still in early labor.

We went to the track to walk.

waddle waddle waddle waddle

down on all fours

Breath…..jusssstttttttt flipping breath

“Cristo, must be time… really we should go, I bet it’s time to go.”

We took the dog back home, because my wonderful, practical, babydaddy thought we should give the dog a walk while watching the pregnant lady barrel herself around the HS track in pain, you know, before things got really going.

Drove the 30 minutes to the Hospital/Midwife and walked in ready to meet our boy.

“Sorry, not yet. Come back in a couple hours.”

Oh

My

Mother

Lovin

Goddess.

Babydaddy mentioned that it was a weekday and he just happened to have to renew his license, we also had some time to spare… Off to the DMV we went.

I spend what felt like hours contracting in the car. Legs up, arms up, curled in one big ball of  angry pregnant woman. We drove, we walked, I think we ate something.

Finally, they had mercy on me and admitted me.

A few hours later, with the help of my wonderful midwife and some stellar nurses, I gave birth (while squatting) to a big beautiful baby boy.

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…and Eliza became a big sister.
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Max was the happiest, cutest chunk of baby boy I could have ever dreamed of.

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He continues to amaze us with his intelligence, resourcefulness, endearing love, and goofiness.

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I can’t wait to watch you grow, Max-a-maccah-moosey-man.

I love you to the moon and beyond!

sleep max