Posted from providence.org
As a mother, your priorities and schedules shift to accommodate your little ones. Being as active as you once were does become a challenge sometimes, and it takes some getting used to. According to athlete Kikkan Randall, “When I found out I was going to be a mom, I was curious about what I was going to be able to do while pregnant and what life would be like once I had my kid. I reflected on my freedom and thought of how different things were going to be.” She continues, “Although it meant a major lifestyle change, I was excited and ready.”
Kikkan recalls adjusting to her new life saying, “Once I became a mom, it hit me that things would never be the same. Now I’m on someone else’s schedule, and admittedly I miss having naps whenever I want, but at the same time I am overjoyed with having such an amazing person in my life that I can shape my day around.”
Even though personal time becomes limited in motherhood, there are ways that Kikkan recommends being active, most of which include your little one:
- Turn daily chores into activities. “When I’m at home, I try to turn household work into fun activities. There are many excellent baby backpacks out there, and sometimes when I’m doing laundry or cleaning the house I put him in the backpack and we go up and down the stairs together. He enjoys it because he gets to go along for the ride, but I also get to have a mini workout. It’s amazing how much physical activity you can do just in your own home,” described Kikkan.
- Exercise as a family. Randall explains, “As an athlete, I sometimes take my son along to training, or my husband joins me. For mothers who aren’t athletes or aren’t that active, even just going outside with your family is great exercise. We sometimes put my son in a jogger and take him on runs. I get to point out things in nature that he finds interesting, and it helps me get a deeper appreciation and a broader awareness of my surroundings. Exercising together also helps me and my son identify what kind of things he’s interested in.”
- Use gear to make it easier. “As I mentioned before, there is great baby gear out there for mothers who want to be more active. When my son was about one month old, we put him in an Ergo carrier and went hiking – he loved snuggling with me and being close to my chest. Within a month or so he was starting to go on runs and bike rides in the jogger, and within the five to six months mark he was in the hiking backpack a lot,” Kikkan said.
- Alone time can be fuel. Kikkan pointed out that, “Staying active as a family is important for togetherness and bonding, but sometimes it’s necessary to just have some personal time every now and then. I find that going on runs and being active by myself refreshes me and gives me more energy to then pour into my family when I get home.”
Transitioning into being a mother can be daunting, but Kikkan encourages other mothers to make the most out of your time with your young children by staying active with them. It not only impacts you physically, but it affects your mental state as well. Kikkan explains, “As an athlete, my emotions are tied to how well I’m performing. Now, no matter what happens, I get to come home to a smiling boy who’s happy to see me. It’s lifted some of the pressure off me and shifted my focus to setting a good example for my family. It’s had a really positive impact on my mental health and changes how I perceive myself.”
“As a new mother, preparing your kids for activities can be intimidating and worrying, but it’s all worth it. The benefits far outweigh the work that it takes getting out there.”
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