Nothing changes your life more than becoming a mother. Whether for the first time or the third, the changes that occur can be stressful. Physical changes such as weight gain and sleep deprivation as well as life situational changes such as career decisions can take a toll on the a women’s self esteem and perception of herself as a new mother and influence her parenting abilities (Norman, Sherburn, Osborne, & Galea, 2010).
The title “new mom” and “leisure time” seem to be on opposite ends of the spectrum; think overworked and overwhelmed as you struggle to be the best mom possible. What most moms, new and veteran, do not realize is that taking good care of yourself is as important as taking good care of your little one. Exercise is an important component of a personal health regime. Exercise has physical benefits, such as losing excess weight gained during pregnancy , but also helps decrease the negative effects of stress as well as an emotional mood lifter (Druxman, 2007).
The key to getting started is to remember that in the beginning putting aside only 30 minutes a day puts you on the road to receiving the wonderful benefits that exercise has to offer. It is also important to remember that there are strategies that may help you such as joining, or starting, a group. Many neighborhoods and communities have social groups geared towards new moms. This can provide the opportunity to exercise with others who are struggling with the same issues and provide a socializing outlet at the same time. You could also use baby’s naptime as “your time”. Purchasing a variety of DVD’s that you can use in your living room, just push aside the toys and exer-saucer, and you are within earshot if baby wakes a little early.
The most difficult part of beginning any new lifestyle change is beginning! Just get started and be patient with yourself. Celebrate your small accomplishments that move you towards larger accomplishments. Perhaps your goal is to find at least three 30 minute workout sessions a week, at the end of the week put aside a few dollars. At the end of 6 weeks use your “winnings” to treat yourself to much needed pampering; that’s also a part of a personal health regime.
Druxman, L. (2007). My time for fitness. Scholastic Parent & Child, 15(2), 36 – 38.
Norman, E., Sherburn, M., Osborne, R.H., & Galeo, M.D. (2010). An exercise and education program improves well being of new mothers: a randomized controlled trial. Physical Therapy, 90(3), 348 – 355.