Rachael is a 27-year-old Movin’ Mama living in Boston with her new fiancé (CONGRATS!) and their 7-month-old daughter. When she’s not Planning Merchandise at TJX (which sounds pretty great BTW!), she’s kickin’ it at the beach or zen-ing through home decor. We asked how she’s Living Well today, and here’s what she said…
How do you typically start your day?
I typically start my day around 5:30 AM when Penny wakes up for her morning feeding. I bring her in our bed to nurse her and get my morning snuggles in and then we get up for work/day care. My fiancé is a firefighter with a varied schedule, so I am very fortunate to have his help keeping Penny entertained on his off days.
On days he has to leave early for work, it’s definitely a balancing act. I’ve found that preparation and timing are key, so I always prep her bottles and pick out her outfit the night before then I wait to put her clothes on until right before we walk out the door (learned this from one too many “wardrobe malfunctions”). My real key to success, though, is ALWAYS leaving enough time to stop at Dunks for my morning iced coffee!
What is your favorite kind of workout right now?
I feel like I barely have quality time with Penny these days with work and all of the summer weekend showers, weddings, etc. so my favorite workout is walking/jogging with her in the jogging stroller.
We have a great park right down the street, so we try to go as a family two nights a week and on weekends. Round trip it is about 3 miles, so it’s the perfect distance for me right now. I was an avid runner up until I was 7 months pregnant, but Penny was born during the first blizzard this winter and I felt like I couldn’t find a routine since I absolutely was not willing to leave her to go to the gym (and still won’t).
7 months later and I’m just starting to feel like I’m getting back to myself. It’s a slow process and one I really didn’t expect to be so challenging physically and emotionally, but I am feeling stronger and more confident every day.
What is one of your recent go-to healthy dinners that you like to cook?
One of my favorites is stuffed peppers (click for recipe from Eatingwell.com!) with ground turkey, brown rice, mushrooms, onions, a little shredded cheese and lots of cayenne pepper and garlic.
Joe is an amazing cook and loves to test his firehouse recipes on me, so I am very lucky when it comes to being well-fed. When he works overnight, I usually eat hummus and carrots or cereal because I’m too busy making sure Penny isn’t eating anything hazardous or crawling down the stairs…so I totally feel for stay-at-home moms, although the SAHM Diet sounds like a good way to fit into my skinny jeans again.
What do you do when you want to have “Me Time”?
When I want “Me time”, I go for a mani/pedi. I have a standing appointment every 2 weeks and even though it’s only an hour or so, I always come back feeling refreshed and better about myself. Getting my nails done was one of those luxuries that I felt guilty about keeping when budgeting for a new baby in our lives, but to me, it’s worth the splurge. I feel more put together when I take care of my appearance, plus I like to think of it as treating myself.
Can you share a couple of your fitness goals for the coming year?
I just got engaged last week! So, my biggest fitness goal right now is to be able to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight by January 2016, which will be one year since Penny was born. I want to feel 100% confident when I go try on wedding dresses, so the pressure is definitely on to lose those last 15 lbs.
I started doing the Bikini Body Guide by Kayla Itsines this weekend, so another goal is to stick with the program for the full 12 weeks. I have been taking pictures and periodically trying on my “skinny jeans” to track my progress. If anyone else is doing it, let me know how it’s going!
What has been your biggest challenge with wellness since the birth of your daughter and how are you overcoming it?
The biggest challenge I’ve had is finding a workout routine I can stick with so I don’t have to sacrifice time with Penny. Before I had her, I could go out for hour long runs or go to the gym after work and it didn’t make a difference to anyone.
Now, I have a tiny human relying on me for their meals. There’s no way I’m going to let my daughter cry it out at home when she’s hungry so that I can work out. On the other hand, I know that my wellness is key to my own happiness and will in turn make our family happier.
Now that I have her routine down and she’s eating solids and nursing less often, I have felt more comfortable with taking time for myself. I put a lot of pressure on myself to exclusively nurse, get back to my pre-pregnancy weight immediately, and work full-time, but I have to keep reminding myself to be patient and celebrate the small wins each day.
Who do you lean on most for support when it comes to wellness?
I lean on my fiancé a lot because he knows when to push me and when to sort of back off and let me do my thing. He is more disciplined than anyone I know so I know that if I tell him I’m going to do something, he will hold me to it.
What do you love most about being a new mom so far?
I love everything about being a mom, but my favorite part is watching her grow and develop before our eyes. It seems like every day she is learning something new and it makes life so much more exciting! It is especially rewarding to watch her grow as a nursing mother, because it’s been such a challenge on so many levels physically and emotionally, but the payoff far outweighs any of the obstacles.
Seeing her face light up and those chubby little legs kick with excitement when she sees me at the end of a long day is the best feeling in the entire world.
What is one piece of candid advice you’d like to share with other new moms regarding general wellness?
Be patient with yourself. Like I said before, I expected to snap my fingers and have my old body back, become a pro at the work/life balance, hang out with my girlfriends whenever and never miss an event, and all while having perfectly manicured nails.
I can admit that I still strive toward those goals, but I am more realistic about what I can take on. The most important thing is doing your best to make sure your baby and family are happy and healthy and the rest falls into place when it’s supposed to.