Motherhood. It’s exhausting, time-consuming, inspiring and purpose-giving. It makes you question everything, while also giving you the feeling that you know it all.
Even though it’s a beautiful journey that both mom and dad go through, it’s proven that motherhood can drain mom’s resources while making her susceptible to mental, emotional and physical health challenges.
In honor of the month when we celebrate mother figures everywhere, and Physical and Mental Fitness Month at the Center for Health & Wellbeing (CHWB), we sat down with representatives from each service at CHWB to hear their experiences and points-of-view on motherhood and emotional wellbeing.
Yasmin Timm is the Fitness Manager at the Peggy & Philip B. Crosby Wellness Center inside the Center for Health & Wellbeing and shares her lessons on fitness in motherhood.
I have two sons: Miles, 4, and Logan, 1. I can honestly say my favorite part of the day is picking them up and having my four-year-old burst out of the classroom screaming MOMMY and giving me a hug. Your day immediately becomes better.
It took me a good amount of time after my first born to accept my body and realize that I was no longer the college athlete I once was. I am also extremely lucky to work in the position I am in which includes teaching the occasional group exercise class so I can count that as workout for the day.
In term of exercise, I love routines and to do-lists, but as a mother of two little ones they don’t understand your daily agenda so understanding the need for flexibility is important. I try to get my own workouts in before anyone walks up, which usually involves running. However, when everyone else decided to wake up at 5 a.m. your plan goes out of the window and that is fine too. Find ways to be active as a family and even make it a game. We regularly go on walks after eating dinner and to keep my four-year-old entertained so we may play tag as we walk, play eye spy or do a scavenger hunt. And, even if it is just one hour a week, do something for yourself that you enjoy ALONE, whether that is going for a walk, gardening, crafting, or reading. With everything going on in the world today we have come to a greater understanding of taking care of our mental health as much as our physical health.
On Managing Your Whole-Person Health
Lindsay Kist is the Communications Manager at the Winter Park Health Foundation, co-owner and primary developer of the Center for Health & Wellbeing, and shares her experiences being a first-time mom.
One of the things I have found most useful in this first 18 months of motherhood is remembering that health and taking care of myself is so much more than how I feel or present physically. It’s our ethos at the Center for Health & Wellbeing, and it proves true time after time, in almost every situation and stage of life: a healthy mind begets a healthy body begets a healthy spirit. And of course, it’s hard to prioritize the many things on my personal and professional to-do list, but without my physical or emotional health, I am half the mother I want to be to my daughter. So, I try to be very regimented and structured with the things I do to support my wellbeing – scheduling workouts, taking time for walks around the block during the workday – and when it’s time to be in “mom mode,” I can be fully engaged and present.
Cherish the moment and remember that all difficult stages are just that – stages. Look to the future with hope and excitement when times seem tough. I used to dread washing bottles every night. I would stand at the kitchen sink, exhausted from a day of work and caring for an infant, with tears in my eyes as I washed what seemed like an endless supply of bottles and their parts – in reality, just six – but don’t tell a new mom she is exaggerating! But just like that, the bottles are a thing of the past and we’ve moved on to other, different challenges. The bottles are a good metaphor for being a mom in general…just when you think you can’t handle one more bottle washing, boom…life changes and it’s on to another “bottle.”
Deborah LaClair is a staff member at the Welcome Desk inside the Center for Health & Wellbeing and shares her experiences on being a mom and grandmother.
I have enjoyed and loved watching each year of my daughter’s life and now being a grandmother has even given me more wonderful experiences to enjoy. Being in either of these roles has given me a perspective I was not expecting, that includes the good with the bad. It sure makes life not boring!
Managing to take care of myself is my biggest challenge I face each day. This is probably the hardest thing for me to do. Not only am I a mother and grandmother, but I am also a caregiver for my 92-year-old mother. It is very hard to tell any of them no. I am working on it, but it is a work in progress.
The one thing that helps me the most is creating a working schedule for the upcoming week. My family knows that if I do not record the event, or need, on my calendar then it most likely will not be done or attended.
Center for Health & Wellbeing’s Free Community Education Program
Motherhood and Mental Health – A Look at Postpartum Depression
Postpartum depression is a complex mix of physical, emotional, and behavioral changes occurring after giving birth that are attributed to the chemical, social, and psychological changes associated with having a baby. Join us for Motherhood and Mental Health – A Look at Postpartum Depression (Webinar) on Monday, May 24 at 11 AM. Radio personality Laura Diaz will talk candidly about her first-hand experience with postpartum depression. She’ll share information about her symptoms, what this time in her life was like, how to ask for help, what worked, what didn’t work, and the difference between postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis. Let her story inform and inspire you or the mothers in your life.
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