Being a full time mother or father is no easy task, add working part time or full time on top of that, then exercise, meal planning, taking products, the 4-4-12 and still trying to get 8 hours of sleep each night. With all these responsibilities and more it begs the question how is this even possible? The majority of the time one or more of these things are sacrificed (usually sleep, exercise or nutrition) because there is just not enough time or energy in a day. We interviewed a few of our full time mommas here at Unicity to get a glimpse into how they find balance between, parenting, work and a healthy lifestyle.
Q: What is the hardest part about being a mother and staying healthy? How do you overcome that challenge?
A: Coach Becky: The hardest part of living a healthy lifestyle as a mother is finding the time to do everything. It seems like there is always a million and one things to get done, and before I know it, the day is over. I make a list each night of everything I need to do, and then prioritize whatís most important. Sometimes Iím not able to get through the whole list, and other times I am. Exercising and preparing healthy meals for me and my family are always at the top of the list. I know that staying healthy is more important than cleaning the dishes, or finishing the laundry. Although they are also important and need to get done, they donít make me a better mother to my children, like staying healthy does.
A: Coach Whitney: Before becoming a mom, I worked full-time at the office, which made it very easy to follow the 4-4-12, etc. I still work full-time, but I work from home more and donít go into the office every day. For me personally, I think it has been being at home more that has been the most difficult part, not necessarily being a mom. When youíre at home more, itís easier to want to eat out of emotion (my trigger is often boredom). I have worked to overcome that challenge by planning out my meals ahead of time and sticking to my plan. I also try to stay busy by getting out to the park, the library, going to visit friends, running errands, etc. Staying busy and getting things done help me to avoid the boredom trigger.
Q: How do you find time to exercise?
A: Coach Becky: I found out very quickly that I have to make exercise a priority, and plan it into my schedule as best as I can. Babies schedules are pretty unpredictable, so itís hard to always have a time set aside to workout. When my baby was a newborn, I would change into my workout clothes in the morning, so as soon as she went down for her first nap, I can bust out a quick workout. Now that my baby is a little more alert and playful, she enjoys watching me exercise. I do push-ups and planks over her, while I kiss and play with her. I plan ahead of time how Iím going to work out, so I donít waste any valuable time thinking about what I should do. †It comes down to making it a priority, and not letting excuses get in the way.
A: Coach Whitney: Sometimes I exercise at home when my son is sleeping (which has been in the morning before he wakes up or during his nap); since having my son, I have done more exercise DVDís and YouTube workouts than before. I go work out at the gym when my husband can watch him. When the weather is nice, Iíll put my son in the jogging stroller and jog to the park with him. Itís a win-win because he loves walks and going to the park, and I enjoy getting the exercise. I havenít utilized this option much yet, but a lot of gyms have Child Watch programs that help parents to get their exercise in.
Q: What tips would you like to share with other mothers?
A: Coach Becky: Being a mother gives you the unique opportunity to take care of those around you. Because of that, you also have the opportunity to help those you love be healthy as well. Take a little bit of time to plan exercise, and good nutrition, into your daily life. It will not only positively impact your life, but those around.
A: Coach Whitney: I think in any situation in life, itís about doing the best you can. Your best is enough. When your children are sick, you might not be able to get all of your exercise in, and thatís okay; as soon as you can, you get back on schedule. For myself, I havenít had time to cook as much as I used to, which I definitely miss. I make sure to cook up some healthy recipes on the weekends that I can eat throughout the week.
Q: Has your idea of ďbeing healthyĒ changed since becoming a mother?
A: Coach Becky: ďBeing healthyĒ doesnít always mean killing a workout, or having perfectly prepped meals. Although I strive to have great workouts, and meals made ahead of time, sometimes that does not happen. ďBeing healthyĒ to me now means that Iím doing my best to fuel my body, and my familyís body, with nutritious food, and taking the time to exercise.
A: Coach Whitney: My idea of being healthy hasnít necessarily changed, but I do think that modeling a healthy lifestyle for our children is so important. As parents, we have so much influence in our childrenís lives as to whether theyíll like a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, how active theyíll be, etc. We can help them build the foundations of a healthy life by preparing a wide variety of vegetables in different ways; itís my opinion that most of the time, if you donít like a certain vegetable, you probably havenít had it prepared the right wayókeep trying different recipes until you or others find a recipe they enjoy. We should encourage our children to eat a variety of fruits. We should prepare our meals from scratch. As our kids get older, we should teach them to prepare healthy meals that they enjoy so they wonít rely on processed food/eating out when theyíre on their own. Itís so important to limit screen time and encourage our kids to be active, whether itís signing them up for dance or sports or just being very active as a familyóor both. Your influence will be a blessing to your kids as you model a healthy lifestyle and help them to have one too
Q: How do you find a balance between taking care of yourself and being a mother?
A: Coach Becky: I often find myself feeling guilty for working out when I have other things that need to get done. However, I know how important it is to take care of myself and do things that make me happy. I am a better mother when I take time for myself. Exercising is an outlet for me. It helps me deal with everything on my plate, it puts me in a better mood, I have more energy, and I am more productive when I take the time to do it. I also know that I am setting a good example for my daughter, and soon future children, as they see me take the time to look after myself and treat my body well.
A: Coach Whitney: Todayís society, especially social media and blogs, teaches that we can and should ďhave it all.Ē But I think most of us realize that thatís not true. Life is not as picture-perfect as a blog post, and there are a lot of demands pulling on all of us. Since becoming a working mom, some things I used to be able to do arenít always possible anymore. For example, my house isnít as clean as I would like it to be. I donít let it get filthy, but I just donít have the time to clean that I once did. When you have so much on your plate, not everything can fit, but I think itís so important to not let our health slide down on the priority list. I personally put nutritious meals, regular exercise, and even a good nightís restóall things that make me healthier and happieróbefore having a perfectly clean house. When I am healthier and happier, I am a better wife and mother. I canít have it all, but I can prioritize taking care of myself and my family and helping us to live a healthier lifestyleósomething I believe can affect not only my childrenís entire lives, but generations to come.
Q: How do you stay motivated when youíre tired/busy?
A: Coach Becky: I wouldnít say Iím motivated all the time to work out and eat healthy food. However, I am driven by my goals and what I ultimately want, which is what pushes me when Iím tired and busy. I donít think I will ever not feel tired or busy again, so I know I have to make a healthy lifestyle work no matter what. Just like we talk about in the Transformation, I write down my goals and have a very clear idea of what I want. When I feel like Iím ďtoo tiredĒ, or ďtoo busyĒ, I refer back to my goals, and remind myself of why taking care of my body is important.
A: Coach Whitney: I keep it simple by preparing large quantities of a few simple meals. I love the crock pot. Sometimes I freeze portions of our meals for future weeks. I accept that my best is good enough. My family and I are very busy right now, so we try not to take on much more than the basics. I personally do my best to not let myself get too tired; I know that proper sleep helps to balance my hormones (helping to prevent weight gain and/or encourage weight loss), that it reduces my risk for disease, that it strengthens my willpower, gives me more patience, and puts me in a better mood. With this understanding, I never feel guilty for getting a good nightís rest.
Coach Becky and Coach Whitney are Unicity Transformation coaches here at Unicity. Thanks for the interview ladies!