Finding Balance

I’m not going to lie here… I’m having trouble finding balance as I’ve gone back to school (work).  I feel like this is something many can relate to – finding balance during a new life stage.  And I’m not just talking about mommas today – maybe you’re going to school or graduating from school, starting a new job or switching jobs, having a baby, getting married, or maybe just trying to incorporate more healthy choices in your daily life.  Whatever it may be, usually change takes some time to find that balance, get adjusted, and determine a routine that works for you.

william 4 months

I’m your routine, Momma!

After having William, I definitely went through that for the first month or so (roughly speaking).  Eventually, I found what worked for me.  I was able to take almost daily walks which counted as my fitness; not to mention all the benefits of mental health when I was out in the sunshine.  I even went swimming a few times.  When I was able to get out and about with William, I would grocery shop, and even cook here and there when he slept.  I never really napped, but I felt like I had down time since we were pretty much home all day.

Now that I’m back at work, itz all changed.  My fitness consists of running around my house in the morning trying to get myself and William together along with everything we need for the day.  Healthy eating and cooking?  Ha!  I’ve eaten cereal for lunch more times than I care to admit, and our fridge is bare the majority of the time (with the exception of when my parents, in-laws, or grandparents so kindly provide us with leftovers!).

I only have time for so much, and I know during new life stages, priorities must shift.  I’m still getting the laundry done, and our house is as clean as it usually is (which isn’t really lol but clean enough!).  Priorities include taking care of William, taking care of myself, and the house.  When William is sleeping, I feel like I have to get something done, so when do I ever have down time as a working mom?  I suppose my down time is the time I give myself to blog, and I don’t really want to give that up because I do enjoy it so much.  So what do I do when I feel like I literally have no extra time?  Hmmm.

william 4months6

As long as you have time for me, nothing else matters.

I consider healthy living to be made up of five parts: fitness, nutrition, sleep, social, and emotional.  Here’s what’s working and where I’m struggling with each:

Fitness

I was lucky to the loose the baby weight quickly and pretty much effortlessly (thank you nursing and good genes!).  But “baby weight” is funny as itz a number on the scale and I think the scale is stupid.  Sure, my number has gone down, but I’m soft and squishy and I would like to regain some strength and level of fitness.  Problem: TIME!  Before, I was taking daily walks, but now with working, I’m only finding time on the weekends.  Morning walks are out of the question due to time constraints, and in the evening, I would rather play with William than just walk.  He goes to bed between 7:30 – 8:30, so evenings won’t work either (further explained in the sleep portion).  I may try and sneak in a super quick workout in the morning or the afternoon, depending on how both are going.  And by super quick, I mean like ten minutes.  Literally.

polar

You’re stopping our walk to take a picture of your watch?  C’mon, Mom, let’s go! Move it!

Side note: I’m reviewing the Polar FT60 through FitFluential and wore it on my walk last weekend.  I can’t wait to really play with all itz functions!

Nutrition:

I mean…. I’m eating, and that’s all that really counts, right?  In terms of healthy eating, that’s another story.  I’m doing really well with water; I’m drinking a ton as I’m often thirsty and staying hydrated is crucial for breastfeeding.  I’m finding it very difficult to find time to cook healthy meals.  I like the crockpot, but even that takes time to prepare!  I know a common suggestion is to meal prep for a couple hours on the weekend to make life easier during the week.  Honestly, I feel like I don’t even have a couple hours on the weekend.  William naps for less than an hour at a time, so unless I have someone come over and watch him, I don’t know what to do.  (And I don’t want anyone to watch him on the weekend since he gets watched all week.)

I’ve eaten a ton of sweets and those packaged convenience foods have become way too convenient.  Breakfasts and snacks are good.  I can prep overnight oats in two minutes or cook a couple eggs while I’m getting ready.  Snacks are simple in terms of bars, yogurt, fruit, or nuts.  Lunch has literally been cereal or a pb&j.  And I’m not sure what I’ve been putting together for dinners, but Jonny and I have been eating, rest assured.

Sleep:

This is the one area where I feel like I have absolutely no control because of William.  I do a good job of going to bed shortly after he does, but I can’t go to bed right when he does because I have to pump. Usually I pump at nine, bag the milk, clean the pump, and hit the hay.  I can’t pump earlier otherwise I will explode at night.  Funny enough, I haven’t been overly tired, and I’ve actually surprised myself with how not tired I am considering the lack of sleep and broken sleep I do get.  But I know minimal sleep definitely affects how I eat and my cravings.  The less I sleep, the more junk food I want. Not good.

Social:

We have continued to get together with friends, itz just on slightly different terms than before (read: no bars or drinks).  We’ve made new friends with babies, and our old friends understand that we need to plan around the babe.

Emotional:

I feel good.  There are times where I feel overwhelmed or totally bummed that I have to leave William during the week, but in general I feel good.  And there’s nothing better for me than being a mom; I love every minute!  I’m just working on that balance thing…

william backyard

So the two areas I really want to improve on are fitness and healthy eating.  How do I make that happen?  Suggestions welcome!

How do you find balance during new life stages and changes?

35 thoughts on “Finding Balance

  1. It’s so hard to find balance at new stages in your life! You are so impressive in your abilities as a mama and now going back to continue teaching. I’m sure it’s difficult but with the help of your hubs and your family, you’ll be able to make it work!

  2. oh girl… I feel you. Now, I only work 2 days a week, but those 2 days are ROUGH. This too is a season. Pretty soon William will be sleeping for 10-12 hours at night and taking 2 good 1.5-2 hour naps. It will change your life. It sounds to me like you have everything under control the best you can right now. Something I do to help us during the week is prepare 2 meals that give us leftovers. So, while John David is playing with the babe I’ll stick something in the crockpot and make something else. This gives us 4 meals for the week!
    Just an idea…

  3. It’s the hardest thing to find balance when you work! When I was working my day job I think I went to the gym twice at 4am. I had to be back by 6 before Josh left then it was madness trying to get ready for work and the kids ready for school. William will start regularly sleeping later as he gets older and it will get easier to do things in the mornings. My advice is skip the gym and try a DVD in the mornings.

  4. “I will explode at night”–this made me giggle. Cause I totally feel ya.
    Honestly, I can’t imagine balancing being a teacher full time with a baby and it sounds like you are doing the best you can. Over time I’m sure it will get easier, like Brittany said, when that sleep stabilizes it’s life changing and I’m even amazed how independently Layla plays right now, even more so than two weeks ago. I recycle a lot of food…leftover taco soup add a few things it becomes chili which becomes topping for baked potato and salad bar night.

  5. This is obviously something I’ll be relating to in a very short time from now, and honestly, it scares me to even think about it. How will we get it all done?! This question keeps running in my head, but I guess you just figure it all out and; although, it’ll be difficult, I feel like it will all be worth it.

  6. i don’t have kids yet, so i don’t have any unique suggestions but i agree with the commenter above who suggested getting your husband to take care of the baby while you work out or thrown things in the crock pot. also, give yourself a break — it sounds like you are managing wonderfully in this new season 🙂

  7. I could have written this post myself except sub teacher for a corporate job. It’s sucks. I can’t find balance. All I want to do when I get home is play with my daughter. I finally just started Jillian Michael’s 90 day body revolution which are 30 min DVDs that I usually do right after she goes to sleep. Not ideal but better than nothing.

  8. You’re incredible! And so honest–one of my fave things about ya! It is apparent you’re doing an amazing job with the time you have been given. And trust me, all of us new mamas have had our fair share of cookies for dinner and no actual dinner made. It’s all good!

    I did find that for us it’s helpful for me to make a crockpot meal that can last a few nights & be made into something somewhat ‘new’ –usually I make a salsa chicken base with a bunch of beans & turn it into enchiladas or tacos or something. So it keeps it fresh & a bit ‘new’.

    As for the fitness thing, 10 minutes is awesome! You can get in a really tough, intense workout in just that time, so that’s perfect!
    <3 hugs to ya!

  9. Could you put him on a play mat or somethjng next to you while you do a fitness video? If he needs extra attention you could always pause…

    Elliot only takes 30 min naps so I’ll usually start one while he is sleeping and then pause it if I need to… I do the fitness blender ones that are free!

    Hopefully when he starts sleeping more it’ll be easier. And girl… I feel you! Elliot is almost 4 months… Takes 30 minute naps and gets up 2-3 times a night still! Bah. #tootiredtorun

  10. ok…where to start. First, I want to tell you that you are amazing and I hear your heart through this post SO much. I love you for sharing.
    My sister has just started back to work and I know that she relates 110% to every word you wrote. Where can I find time????? I’m trying to help her with the fitness part – I’m starting to train a group of teachers in my basement three times a week. They’ll come right after school before they go home and sweat for 30-45 minutes. Then go home and cook/play with kids/tend to hubby. Can you take 30 minutes right after school ends?

  11. You will get there mama! I remember feeling that way when Kenzer was younger. (And I’ll be feeling that way again when this little one is born in March). It’s a balance– and a tough one! Do what you can, when you can. This sounds silly (and looks even sillier!) but what about doing squats and leg lifts while you bag your milk? 🙂 Or make it a game and “bench press” William on the floor. Kenzer used to love that. And her giggles made my day.

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  13. I can’t even imagine how hard it is to find balance after having a baby and getting back in the swing of things with a career. I’m trying to find balance without kids! haha I think we all just do the best we can. I know I say this every time but ahh William is so cute!

  14. I totally feel you – my baby is a week younger than William and it is tough being a working momma (and just a momma in general). As someone who worked out through pregnancy, I am trying my best to get back into the swing of things. Sometimes I just tell myself that a thirty or forty minute run is good for me – which in essence is good for my baby – but it is tough when you are gone all day. Maybe you and your husband can walk together with William and you can throw in some running while he walks with the babe? Or fitness DVDs – that is my plan for late fall/winter.

  15. Funny I was thinking about this just this morning. I am a new mom too and I have found myself looking at other moms and wondering how they fit everything in. I see them at the park, or the gym, or visit their clean houses. It is easy to feel bad for having a messy house or not spending more time with my little girl. How do they do everything?? Then I realized they don’t!! I just have to pick and choose what I want to do everyday 🙂 sounds like you are already doing a good job of this – keep it up!

  16. It sounds like you’re doing an amazing job! I do not have kids at this point in my life, but I am balancing grad school, volunteer work, three part time jobs (including my blog) and my health (most important!), so I understand when you say working out seems like the LAST thing you can do. Then I remember how I feel when I consistently move…and I mean legit 15-20 minutes some days! Luckily, living in NYC I get to walk a lot, but it’s not the same. I started doing squats while I brush my teeth, take a break at work to walk or stretch, and even wake up 10 minutes earlier to do a quick routine — squats, crunches, jumping jacks (maybe you can do this while William is still sleeping??). I’m sure it will get easier!!!! Keep up your amazing attitude!!

  17. It seems like you’re doing an amazing job… and that you’re prioritizing the best you can 🙂 I’m a soon-to-be mama, so I have no actual experience yet, but I know that exercise makes me feel so good and gives me energy, which will translate into being a better, happier mom for my girl. And even an hour of Sunday food prep (boil eggs, chop a few veggies for roasting, make one huge casserole/crockpot meal) does a lot for nutritious mid-week eats. And finally, if exercise isn’t that important to you right now, that’s okay!! Not forever, but for now 🙂

  18. One thing that happens when the little ones are around is prioritizing. I remember that we hardly watched TV in those first few months. The priority shifted to cleaning the house, or getting ready for the next day, the next feeding. Social took a hit because it was more important to to us to spend time with the baby. Look at it this way: You have X hours in a day. X is spent doing this, that leaves X to do that and you might only have X hours of free time — what is a priority during that time. That’s you day.

  19. Girl you are doing amazing – I hope you realize that! Being a working new mom can’t be easy, I’m sure, and the fact that you’re doing it without going insane deserves a kudos! 🙂

    If you don’t have time to chop vegetables to have for snacks or with lunches, maybe now would be a good time to just buy the pre-cut ones (if that’s in the budget). Sometimes when you’re busy it’s worth it to pay for healthy convenience items like this! You can pack them with hummus, crackers, and a canned flavoured tuna for a really easy lunch. That’s what I did a lot of the time when I was busy with internship!

  20. I can relate to figuring out how to find that balance and feeling overwhelmed at times… I think us mamas all feel that way at one point or another.

    As for suggestions to help your fitness and healthy eating… I like Lindsay’s idea above about taking just 30 minutes right after school to get in a sweaty workout. Go for a short run or do some circuits at home. Then you have the rest of the day to be with your boys. I am all about meal prep to help with the healthy eating! Take an hour or so on the weekends and prepare healthy snacks and meals for the upcoming week. It doesn’t have to be anything complicated — just make sure the fridge and pantry are stocked. Also, Crock Pot meals are my go-to lifesaver dinners!

    Keep being amazing my friend! xoxo

  21. I think/hope every mom on this thread is telling you the same thing. You’re not alone and youre doing great. This is a HUGE adjustment and I decided a long time ago to take Balance out of my vocabulary. It doesn’t exist to me and i don’t strive to achieve it. I have priorities and those are pretty obvious.

    He’s adorable and you are a fabulous mama!

  22. Just hang in there! It seriously all changes so quickly. Before you know it he’ll be sleeping through the night and you might have more energy to get up even earlier to do a quick workout or meal prep. Trust me, I feel your pain. I fail miserably daily at juggling working from home and being a stay-at-home to my brood….but most importably we’re happy. Some days are better than others and before you know it you’ll be walking him into grade-school for the first time like I will do with my second oldest this week as she starts kindergarten and you will wonder where the time went. 🙁 You are doing great!

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  24. Oh, I could have written this!! I had to go back to work when Marlena was two weeks old, and now that she is 4 1/2 months, I’m still trying to find that balance. Like you, I cherish our weekend time because really that’s the only quality time we have together. I just wanted to say keep up the good work and know other moms go through this and support you!!!!

  25. we’re all just doing what we can to survive–right there with you!! I have to work really hard to get it all done and some weeks I do it better than other weeks! I will say freezer meals are a lifesaver and I wasn’t crazy about taking time away from B on a weekend to prep them but I’m so glad I did! It’s also getting easier as she’s getting older and can “play” in the kitchen while I prep dinner. Also, I wonder if your body will adjust to you pumping earlier once you do it for a week or so…my body produces milk like whoa but I’ve found it adjusts well when I change my schedule on it! Might be worth trying if you really want to get to bed earlier…if not, I wouldn’t worry about it!

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  28. Balance is such a lifelong and ever-changing goal. In terms of movement, every little bit counts! When I was teaching I would do a few reps of squats or arm strengtheners before my kids would come. When I picked kids up (I worked with little ones) I would do some reps with them as the weight. When we went to the playground, I would walk around both to keep an eye on them, and to get some movement. I would stretch a little after they kids left before getting to my paperwork. In terms of food, I suggest experimenting and trying different things until you find what works for you and your life. I’ve recommended to clients to start healthy snack/lunch clubs at work. Find a group of co-workers and rotate making healthy meals or snacks so the pressure isn’t all on you. You could even make it into a competition for who brings the tastiest (and healthiest) dish! But I think balance is the key, and over time, you will find it! So smart to reach out and get suggestions! You’ll get there, girl! 🙂

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