At the beginning of October I started following International Babywearing Week on Instagram. I just love that there’s a whole entire week dedicated to baby wearing! Their website says that the week is dedicated for the “opportunity to celebrate, promote, advocate for, and focus media attention on the many benefits of babywearing.” How cool is that?! My reality as a mom is that neither one if my kids ever wanted to be put down, no matter how awesome, soft, comfortable, or relaxing our baby seats were. They just wanted to be held. All. The. Time. I remember bawling to my own mother, through stinging, salty tears, “he’ll be sleeping so perfectly in my arms, and the second I lay him in his cradle he wakes up and starts crying!” And my mother would reply back, “well can you blame him?!” And when I stopped and really thought about it, I couldn’t.
So little by little, I began to accept the fact that I was going to be carrying my kids around A LOT. As they grew, this became exhausting! I’d have grand plans to go to yoga or take a run at the end of the day when my husband would get home, but after having a baby strapped to me for much of the day, I’d frankly just be too tired to exercise. This bummed me out because I felt like days and weeks were passing by without me really getting a “workout.”
Then it hit me. I was exercising. All day, every day. Just not in the form that I was used to. I was familiar with having a set time to do my workout and then go about the other parts of my day. But as a new mom, I was getting a hard lesson in multi-tasking which I wasn’t even aware of until I was in the midst of it all. Our laundry is in the basement. Our bedrooms are on the second floor. And babies, for whatever reason (ok, reasons like spit up and pee and poop) create a TON of laundry. So that meant many trips down and up the basement stairs, then up and down our main stairs. With a baby in the carrier. Hauling laundry. That’s a lot of “stair master” … with weights!
As mothers, we can be so hard on ourselves. Whether the house isn’t clean enough or the dinner isn’t homemade or the workout didn’t happen, we’re capable of being our own worst critics. But I think it’s important that we acknowledge that although we may not have time for the same things in the capacity as we did pre-kids, that doesn’t make us any worse, and it certainly doesn’t make us un-fit moms. People describe (and I agree!) that having children is life-changing. If something is so life-changing, then we can’t expect our normal routines, like pre-kids exercise, not to be changed either.
I’ll tell you, once I started acknowledging that mothering is hard work physically, I got pretty pumped about how much exercise I was technically getting! Everything from lifting babies to pushing strollers to doing chores with a baby strapped in the carrier counted as exercise.
Coming from someone who loves a good sweat, I now appreciate that so many aspects of motherhood really are workouts. Just going about my day makes me feel quite accomplished! Celebrate and give credit for what you do. And the stuff that you don’t do? Don’t sweat it.