Finding my way as a new mom

It’s taken me nearly a year to settle into motherhood!

I’m finally feeling like myself again, although a different version of who I used to be. I’m beginning to find balance and prioritize the things that matter to me. Here are a few things that have helped me find my way as a mom this past year:

Getting back to work

This was a tough decision. Before having Everly, I assumed I would be eager to go back to work full time. However, after she was born I began to feel more and more that being a stay at home mom might be a better fit. I had 3 months off for maternity leave and even though it was so hard to be home and responsible for my newborn 24/7, it didn’t seem right to leave her.

Luckily, my mom is the one who watches her during the day so I know she’s in good hands. It would have been a harder choice if I had to take Everly to daycare.

For the past 8 months, I’ve been back at work 4 days a week instead of 5 and I cut back on the number of diabetes classes I’m teaching. Cutting back has made for a good balance between work and home, although there are weeks that I get anxious about how much time I’m missing out on with Ev. There are other weeks, especially when Colby is out of town, that being home for 3 days straight with her is really hard. Weeks like those I feel guilty for feeling like I need time away from Everly, but I try to remind myself that getting a break makes me a happier mom when I am around.

Overall, I am thankful to have the opportunity to work at a job I love, help provide for our family, and still get plenty of time with Everly.

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Setting professional goals

I applied for my CDE (Certified Diabetes Educator) exam yesterday! Having a goal of passing it this November gives me a personal development challenge to work toward. I’m also super proud of a scholarly article opportunity I had recently. I’ll tell you more about it soon! I hadn’t done anything academic since the Beta Sandwich Science podcast a few years ago, so it was nice to push myself in this way.  Of course, I’d love to get back to blogging and recipe development more regularly, too. Tonight I had some time to post because Colby is traveling for work.

Finding a rhythm with nursing and pumping

I assumed it would be difficult to breastfeed until Everly is a year old. Here we are approaching her first birthday and I can’t see myself stopping anytime soon. I guess things get easier if you anticipate the worst! There are definitely days and nights that I don’t feel like pumping, especially when I’m exhausted. When I feel like giving up, I remind myself of a few things:

  1. If I don’t pump, I’ll end up waking up in the middle of the night with painful, engorged breasts and I DEFINITELY won’t want to pump at 2am.
  2. If I pump and nurse regularly, I’ll keep my milk production up and can keep feeding Everly!
  3. If I keep breastfeeding and pumping, that’s an extra 500 calories I’m burning per day, which means more food for me!
  4. Because of the changes in hormones with lactation, I haven’t had my period since before I was pregnant (2016!!), and that’s pretty awesome.
  5. Our dogs, Alec & Abbi, like to cuddle up in my lap when I’m pumping on the couch.
  6. Nursing Everly is pretty much the sweetest thing ever. I thought I’d be weirded out by it, but I love it. She snuggles up and I like the opportunity for extra cuddles since I’m at work most days, even though that means waking up two or three times a night.

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Getting back to working out

CrossFit had been a huge part of my identity prior to having Everly. I didn’t do any exercise at all for 2 months postpartum, and I definitely didn’t feel like myself when I wasn’t active. I got back into CrossFit when Everly started sleeping well, but stopped again when she began to wake up several times each night.

Not working out at all was really messing with my moods, so I decided to get creative about adding more physical activity. This is nice since I like a LOT of variety in my exercise. While I can’t usually wake up at 6am for workout classes because of Everly’s night waking, I sometimes walk on the treadmill at work or take a spin class before going to the office. Colby and I recently got a gym membership together, so we take advantage of childcare there a few days a week to be able to swim or lift weights. Oh! And I signed up for a moms’ running group once a week that will be starting soon. Maybe someday I’ll get to the point where I can run with Everly in a stroller!

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Outsourcing some things

I’m not a super-mom. I can’t do everything. I’ve started to outsource certain things to have more time with my family. A few things that have helped me find more balance between work and home are:

  1. Having a housekeeper come over every 3 weeks to deep clean. I used to think it was an unnecessary luxury to pay someone to do my dirty work, but I’m thankful every time we don’t spend a whole weekend day scrubbing bathrooms and vacuuming anymore. It’s been a huge relief to put cleaning on the backburner.
  2. Using Instacart for grocery delivery. Getting our groceries delivered is such a time saver! We waste less food this way, too. I still like grocery shopping with Everly sometimes because she enjoys the experience, but it’s nice to know I don’t have to add running to the grocery store for milk to my to-do list on already busy days.
  3. Not cooking. Ok- this one actually makes me pretty sad. I like cooking! But I like hanging out with Everly more… I’ve been packing really easy lunches for work and eating out more frequently than ever before. I try to pick entrees that will inspire future recipe development and make good leftovers for lunches the next day. When I don’t have leftovers, here is of my favorite lunches that takes very little time to pack: Wickedly Prime Minestrone soup, fresh fruit, Greek yogurt, Kind Bar, and a slice of Egg Bake with various chopped veggies. One of my favorite meals out is a Café Rio tostada with tortilla on the side (so I can use it to make a quesadilla at another meal!). The food at Flower Child is amazing, too.

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That’s it for now! Thank you for reading :) Please feel free to suggest other good lunch ideas in the comments or share how you adjusted to motherhood if you’re a mom.

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