Wednesday, August 13, 2014

How Does She Do It?! (Muscular Atrophy Post)

"How does she do it?!" is what no one at all has said about me lately. Seriously, friends. I don't understand this whole life-work balance people speak of so frequently. There have been times in the past where I've really aced it - working out regularly either early morning (kill me now) or after work, riding my bike to yoga on the weekends, cooking dinner, etc. I've never been much of a housekeeper so I won't pretend my house used to be clean. (Hilarious side note: I often tell Henry that prior to his arrival, the apartment was spotless and that we held frequent, lavish dinner parties. He's going to feel soooooo bad when he actually comprehends.) My spurts of activity were typically followed by periods of a switch to a more sedentary lifestyle brought on by the disruption of a cold, vacation, or general sloth. I have been a lump basically since my first trimester. I kept thinking I'd get back into yoga on maternity leave. Fail. My free time at work is not free at all as I'm hooked into a hospital grade breastmilk pump. No lunch-time walks or quick trips to the grocery store.

Since H was born, I've kept up on reading. It feels like a necessary escape. 15-20 minutes each night before bed does the trick. This week I picked up knitting again. I'm working on a Christmas stocking for my niece. After H goes to sleep and after dinner, I knit for about an hour while I watch tv. Dishes and bottles can wait. It feels great to do something crafty and creative again. Cleaning the house happens in small bursts between J and me. I'm not terribly stressed about it and can accept the inevitable clutter for the time being. Instacart is serving my grocery needs. But after 13 months or so (that was painful to type), I am jumping out of my skin to get back to yoga. Really anything physical but ideally yoga. I miss my teachers, the way it makes my head and body feel and, yes, the way it makes me look. I'm so vain, I probably think this song is about me. 

Please, friends, help me fit it in. Here's what my weekdays look like:
• Between 5:30 and 6 Henry wakes up and I try to force him back to sleep by sticking a boob in it. Justified as breakfast. 37 certified sleep trainers just jumped out a window.
• 6:30 - Drag sorry ass out of bed, drink coffee while getting ready. J or I talk to Henry as he plays in his bouncy chair and we scramble around the apt. Dogs are walked, bottles and frozen milk ready for daycare.
• 7:30 - Either leave for work or bring H to daycare, then work.
• 10 - Pump. Contemplate formula.
• 1 - Pump. Contemplate formula.
• 4 - Pump. Contemplate formula.
• Between 5 and 5:30 - Home or daycare pickup.
• 6 - 7 - Play with Henry.
• 7 - 8 - Bath and bedtime.
• 8 - Eat pasta/takeout/leftovers/cereal.
I know this is a normal schedule for a working mom but I'm not used to it yet. It makes me feel all panicky and exhausted. There is not enough time. Not enough time. Not enough time. To think that I used to complain about my busy days while sipping a glass of wine, petting the dogs, painting my toes, etc.

So. Physical fitness. I don't want to give up my 2 evening hours with Henry. I do have the weekends. I could work with that. But what's the weekday solution? Maybe there isn't one right now. Maybe I just enjoy my little guy and embrace the fact that sweater season will soon be here. Another point to consider: Oprah has arm flaps so why can't I? J is encouraging me to go to my old favorite yoga class on Wednesday evenings. I would get home at 7:30 just in time to feed him before bed. (Yup, nursing right before bed. 16 more certified sleep trainers just leaped to their deaths.) I could give it a whirl and see how it feels. Blah. Someone give me money and let me work part time. Thank you.

P.S. I am whining about problems that I would  have killed for a year ago. Slap me.


  1. Working out sucks!! A is 11 weeks old and every morning we go for a run/walk (I run over 2 miles and then walk the same back on this trail by my house). On the weekends I go to barre3 while my hubs watches the baby. With all of this calorie burning and muscle building, you must think I'm so fit and skinny and fantastic looking, right? Totally totally 100% wrong. Beyond my initial drop 7 days postpartum, I haven't even lost an ounce. Today I hopped on the scale and it says I went up a pound. My two cents is this: enjoy the 2 hours you have with Henry every night and thank your lucky stars it's almost sweater season (I know I am!) :)

    1. Your run sounds lovely except my knees would fall off if I did the same thing. But occasional morning walks by the lake? I could do that.
      But you're right - my 2 precious Henry hours are the most important. He is not going to be a squishable baby forever. Gotta lap it up. And I asked and he likes my mushy belly and thighs.

  2. Oh and PS: while I did give up on the nursing thing, we give A a bottle before bed. That's how she falls asleep. Have tons of friends that do the same thing so whatever to the sleep trainers! If it works, it works!!!

  3. Screw sleep trainers! Paloma is on the same sleep/nursing schedule as Henry and the three of us are happy. Isn't that all that matters? I say following your instincts is the most natural way to parent.

    I am Canadian, so I work out at home during the day after I've had my yerba mate. If she's awake, I sit her in her chair to watch me. By the time I go back to work, Paloma won't be nursing anymore and I'll work out on my lunch break. If I were in your shoes I'd wait until Henry wasn't nursing anymore to start really working out. You can't stretch yourself too thin trying to be Super Mom!

  4. I think ANY working mother should be applauded, and not expected to do much more than that. You're right... there aren't enough hours in the day, anyone can see that. Just think of a few extra pounds as a nice, soft spot for Henry to sleep comfortably. Who wants to snuggle up on bones? Not me!

    That said, I know "they" stress the importance of taking time to reclaim your identity, and it sounds like yoga class would do that for you. Happy mama = happy baby. Of course I'm just talking out my ass because personally I haven't experienced any of this yet. I remember feeling busy and stressed before Molly came along. Ha. Ha. Ha.

  5. Couple of ideas:
    1) Incorporate Henry in your workout! Maybe take evening walks during your 6-7 playtime. You could wear him in a carrier to give you some extra bonding plus some extra workout points for you. Or you could workout to a dvd while he swings in his swing, or just dance around the living room with him.
    2) See if there are any mommy and baby yoga classes. I know my local studio has a combined prenatal and postnatal yoga class where the moms can bring the babes.
    3) I agree with your husband. Start with just one night a week at the yoga class you love. It is only one night! Don't think about it like a workout to get you skinny, just think about it as an essential to your sanity the same as knitting/reading.
    4) Work out on the weekend.

    Also know you are not alone! My LO is 5 months, and while I have all this fabulous advice for you, I haven't been able to incorporate it in my life yet either. The balance is hard to attain, and right now I'm focusing on my family and my career, and just accepting my weight. I try not to be super unhealthy, but I'm just not ready to sacrifice anything in my life for workouts yet.