A little over three years ago I had the absolute pleasure of becoming a father for the first time.
My son Andre was born, and I can’t explain the joy my wife & I had at the time.
A little under two years ago, I had the pleasure of becoming a father for the second time, with the birth or my beautiful daughter – Ariana.
Like any parent out there, I wouldn’t change my kids for anything. I absolutely love them beyond measure, despite all the testing times that put me through.
Despite what anyone might try and tell you, parenting is hard.
No…it’s fucking hard.
You can’t plan for it.
You don’t know what sort of personality your child will have.
You don’t know if your children will have allergies or intolerances, sleep issues and regressions, skin conditions, dislocated joints etc.
You just don’t know.
You simply find out along the way.
Of course, in addition to this, you go back to work, then try and find that balance of being productive at work, which you need to earn an income, and being present with your children to help them develop and be an active part of their life.
Now, if we bring this back to us as parents, where does that leave us the opportunity to focus on our own health and wellbeing?
It’s tough right...?
The sleepless nights definitely don’t help, but there are ways you can look to still dedicate some time and efforts towards yourself, and still achieve some positive results.
How that looks will differ depending on each individual and your unique situation, and of course, the age of your children can impact this also.
But here’s a few tips to point you in the right direction:
1. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
More so for mothers, but applicable to both parents. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help if you need a small amount of time to yourself. Whether that be to do some exercise, or catch up on sleep, there’s nothing wrong with asking your partner, your relatives or friends to give a helping hand so you can try and restore some balance in your life.
Trust me, it will go a long way for you.
2. Be realistic in what you can commit to
I’ve seen many females that have been super fit, gone through pregnancy, then get down on themselves because they can’t do what they use to.
Sorry ladies but……no shit, you just had a baby.
Whether you had it natural or caesarean, you carried and nurtured that baby for 9-10 months. That takes a big toll on your body and forces incredible changes in human physiology.
It’s going to take time for you to get back to where you were, but rather than comparing to what you used to be able to do, focus on setting some new goals and be understanding that you’re now in a different stage of your life.
As well, be realistic in what you think you can do.
My approach to coaching with my clients is – start of conservative and build from there.
That’s the exact message I would send to you.
This applies to males to – obviously we as males don’t physically go through the birthing process, but that’s not to say that our lives also go through immense changes.
Same deal, be realistic in what you can commit to.
3. Start walking
You may have been someone that enjoyed walking prior, maybe you didn’t, but throwing the little one(s) in a pram and getting out for a walk is a really good way to get some physical activity done, get some fresh air, some sun, stress relief, and if you pair up with a friends or two, a good chance to get some human interaction and socialising.
It’s just a win on a number of different levels.
4. Find a training facility that works for you.
Sometimes the facility you were at previously just doesn’t fit In with your schedule or lifestyle anymore. Don’t feel obliged to staying there. We’re talking about YOUR health & wellbeing here.
If you can find a facility that suits you better for whatever reason, take that step and make the change. It could be a class schedule, could be access to the facility, but do a good comparison and see which you think works best.
5. There’s nothing wrong with home workouts.
If it’s proving to be too tough to even get to a class or the gym, then look at doing some exercise at home.
One of the good things that came from the recent pandemic, is that it made a lot of us embrace the opportunity to train from home. You don’t even need equipment to get a full body workout in.
Bodyweight, plyometric, isometric exercises can really get you working hard when you throw a few things together.
At the end of the day, the goal is to get your body moving, get the muscles working, get the heart rate up and do so on a regular basis.
As you go through different stages of parenting, you’ll find your ability to commit to physical activity might also change. So just take it for what it is at that time and do the best you can.
If you can also manage to eat well throughout that period, I think you might be pleasantly surprised in what you can actually achieve during this time.