The hardest thing when I became a mom was to make time and effort to take care of myself. To see that I also needed mothering beside becoming a mom to someone else. Part of my responsibility was to also take care of myself, but I didn’t know that at the time. When I was sent home from the hospital with my first baby, a beautiful precious breathing bundle of joy, I had no idea that my existing world would be so flipped upside down. I had no idea that days would go by and I would not have even taken a shower or remembered if I used shampoo. I wanted to do such a good job of parenting…And suddenly my own health and wellbeing were pushed down to the bottom of my priorities.
Only 6 months after I became a mum for the first time, I finally started to pull myself back together and rebuild a healthy routine. I started skipping the convenient sugary infused snacks at the gas station and sweeping the cupboards empty from biscuits and chocolate. It was time to get serious about my health and well-being.
I know how hard it is to lace up those sneakers after a long break and how much time is involved in purchasing, cutting, storing, and making healthy snacks but I also know it is WORTH the extra effort. It’s choosing your health over hoovering the house twice a week and ironing all the baby sheets at once. It is gaining the perspective that things are temporary: the lack of sleep, the breastfeeding, holding your baby while she falls asleep are not forever. I realized in order to enjoy these I have to feel strong and positive about myself. I need to feel comfortable in my own skin.
My husband says motherhood is not a sprint, it is a lifelong marathon, yet I know how many mothers out there are struggling with a burn-out.
This is exactly what made me turn my gaze inwards and start being mindful about how I feel everyday. Start small by making more conscious decisions about what I put into my body and whether I chose a bubble bath one night and a delicious treat the next and make time for sleep, deep breaths, and activities that revitalize my spirit.
The reminder that motherhood is not about cleaning, washing and being the perfect housewife made me think as well about the kind of a mother I want to be for my children, how I want to look into my children’s eyes and what example I am setting up for them. More than anything, I felt I wanted to be strong and vibrant to enjoy my kids, to be able to smile and laugh wholeheartedly together with my kids and husband….
The biggest trick I learned on that journey is to keep the excitement in my relationship with food and exercise and to plan ahead. I started planning the family meals a week ahead, including the snacks and my exercise routine. I started regularly changing my work out routine and scheduling a few hours every week in the kitchen to experiment and try out new recipes. This was and still is a great relaxing experience for me and now for my kids. We play our favourite songs and sing in the kitchen while mixing and matching ingredients. The kitchen becomes a mess, but I don’t mind, as we all know this is our time to cook and enjoy ourselves. Some of my favorite recipes are the Puricious Banana and Oats Biscuits (recipe at the bottom of this page, exclusively for Mums in Heels) and Top the Cake Roasted Pineapple with Coconut Cream .
Another great source of inspiration, motivation and insightful information is The Positive Heath Wellness. I summed up a few of my favourite tips from the website for health nut mamas or for those who want to start new habits to boost their health and wellbeing:
- One of the fast snacks for any mama on the go are the homemade energy mixes which you can prepare by mixing your favourite raw nuts and dried fruits, such as dried mango and dates. Raw nuts are great to satisfy your hunger and they are packed with protein and healthy fats. They’re also a wonderful sources of minerals and phytosterols, which have cholesterol-lowering benefits.
2. The avocado toast is one of the most popular snack among the healthy freaks mostly becus eo fthe benefits of the avocado, known as one of the bran-boosting foods loaded with abundant nutrients and Heart-Healthy Monounsaturated Fatty Acids. My personal tip is sprinkle with lemon and herbal salt if you can’t eat kust like that. I alos love it in combination with tomatoes and olive paste.
3. Personally I love drinking several cups of warm water with lemon throughout the day to improve digestion and cleanse naturally. Stocking up on probiotocs is another way of keeping your gut clean. I think changing the way you eat your food is also important. When you’re trying to overcome the poor digestive system, you’ll need to chew your food. Make an effort to chew at least 10 times because you swallow. Do this for every single bite.
4. Do more cardio than you think you need. Research has found that 240 min of aerobic activity per week is optimal.
5. Dark leafy greens are good for you. There is no surprise in that. But there’s one leafy green that you want to stock up on: kale.
Okay, so it’s not the most exciting vegetable around. It does have a bitter taste to it, and you’ll want to cook it. But it’s so worth going through the taste. Kale is full of flavonoids that you would get from berries. It’s also full of polyphenols and beta carotene, which are both extremely powerful antioxidants that the body (and brain) needs.
You will also get plenty of vitamin C, a vitamin that you can’t store or make alone. While many think of vitamin C as an immune system benefitting vitamin, it’s one that can starve off depression. It helps with the creation of serotonin, to help boost the happy feeling in the body.
Of course, you also have plenty of folates. This is a nutrient expectant mother are advised to get extra of throughout pregnancy. It’s a vitamin that is linked to the brain development. It makes sense that it will help to slow down the aging process in the brain and boost the memory abilities. It’s also been linked to preventing Alzheimer’s in some studies.
Get a handful or two of kale bunches a day, and you will be set for a healthy brain. You can cook it, add it with berries to a smoothie, or even eat it raw if you want!
These are just a few key pointers to start off your marathon-mummy-training season. Make it fun and don’t be too hard on yourself as it is a process! If you follow even just a few of these for a month, you will start to notice changes that you like and want more of and can build from there! Don’t rush to the finish line as we have all heard and seen those moms crying as they say goodbye to their son or daughters before they go off to college and fly on their own. Right now you have a precious passenger with you and we want nothing more than to give them a strong caring protective fun adventurous flight.
Banana and Oat Cookies
1 large banana
Cacao and cinnamon (optional)
Coconut Oil (optional)
Smash the banana and add oats till the mix is no longer “liquid”. Optional add some cacao to make your cookies with chocolate taste and cinnamon or coconut oil. Mix well and then scoop on baking paper with a large spoon. Squeeze with a fork and shape into cookies. Make them thinner for crispier cookies. Put in the oven and bake for 15 to 20 min at 180 C. Enjoy!