Chantal is a 34-year-old Movin’ Mama based outside of Boston with her husband and new 6-month-old baby girl. When she’s not on Mommy-duty or working part-time as a Senior Quality Specialist in the Biotech/Pharmaceutical Industry, she loves hunting down the best bargains around and cuddling with her bundle of joy! We asked Chantal how she’s Living Well today and here’s what she shared…
How do you typically start your day?
My routine depends! I used to work full-time in the city with a 3-hour commute on top of an 8 hour work day. I returned to my job after maternity leave and it was the worst 6 weeks of my life. So, I resigned and became a part-time consultant in the same industry. Now I can be home 3 days a week with baby (while my husband works a standard 9-5 job, outside of a couple days where he can work from home as well). It’s not perfect, but it works for us!
On work days, I wake up early, exercise, shower, breakfast, dress and am out the door before my daughter is awake. These are rough as I don’t get to play with or hold my daughter before leaving for almost 11 hours!
On the days that I am at home, I try not to set an alarm unless we have appointments. My daughter wakes up between 9-9:30am and some days we will go for a run in the morning, relax at home, or I’ll take her to the park or to a library for story time. I cherish these days! On the weekends, my husband gets up with the baby so I can sleep in. My morning routine doesn’t exist on the weekends. These days are absolutely wild cards, but I always manage to get a run in at least once a weekend.
What is your current workout regimen like?
When I am at home 3x per week, I typically take my daughter for a 5-mile run (all hail the jogger stroller!) before I do anything else. This ensures that I get my exercise 3x a week.
I make it a point to do another 5-mile run with my daughter at least once every weekend. That makes it 4x a week and I wish I could exercise more often.
On the days that I work I come straight home to play with baby as I don’t get to interact with her in the mornings. By the time I’m done playing with her, it’s dinner time and after that I’m too wiped out to run. I refuse to spend the money on a gym membership and I don’t have the time to drive to/from one anyways.
I recently starting doing the Bikini Body Mommy Challege on the days that I work and the weekend day that I don’t run. It’s only 20-min a day but it’s intense! As the weather is starting to change, I am thinking I’ll be giving up running over the winter if it’s anything like last winter was in Boston – and do the Bikini Body Mommy Challenge every day.
What has been your biggest challenge with wellness since the birth of your baby and how are you overcoming it?
My biggest challenge with wellness since I had my daughter is definitely finding the time to exercise. When she was smaller, I couldn’t get out of my own way and and get settled enough to go for a walk, much less a run. When I went back to work at my full-time job after maternity leave, I didn’t have the time as I was gone 11 hours a day and when I got home I played with the baby and then was too tired to exercise.
I have been overweight my entire adult life and have struggled with my weight and lack of physical fitness since I can remember. I made a promise to my daughter when I changed my career–to spend more time with her and watch her grow; and to be around to see her grow for as long as possible. In order to do this, I had to get into better shape. In order to do that, I had to find the time to exercise. Not exercising and maintaining my own personal health is just no longer an option.
I had her late (33 years old) and I want to be an active parent. I want to be able to run after her, to crawl around with her and to race her as she hits all the different stages of development. I owe it to myself and more importantly, I owe it to her.
What do you love most about being a new mom so far?
I love the unpredictability of everything and the gummy smile. The gummy baby smile is my favorite sight in the whole world! I’ve always been a “fly by the seat of my pants” person and this parenting thing definitely jives with that style of living.
I have been with the same awesome guy for 11 years (formally married since ’06), living in the same house for about 6 years, in the same career for well over a decade and at the same job for awhile. Everything was stable and had settled down. Everything was almost too easy. I needed a change of pace and you know what they say – variety is the spice of life!
What are some beauty products you cannot live without right now?
What are a few best wellness tips you can give to new Mamas?
Make time for yourself and focus on YOU: If you are not happy and healthy (mentally as well as physically), your family unit will not be happy and healthy. Do whatever you have to do for yourself so that you can be the best mom you can be – the mom your baby deserves!
Create a routine, not a schedule (there is a difference): You don’t need an alarm to have a routine. Have a way of doing things in a certain order so your days will be less chaotic and more balanced and relaxing.
Enjoy your baby: Bask in the glow of your baby. They are truly a miracle in each and every way. Let the dishes pile up – buy paper and plastic. Let the laundry grow mold – send it out. Let the housework fall behind, It’ll all get done eventually. I have a standing joke at home – “Excuse the mess. This mommy/baby team are making memories.”
Take your own Advice: You spent 9 months building the perfect baby. You know your baby better than anyone else. Hear everyone’s advice, thank them for it and then do whatever YOU think is best. No apologies needed. Tell anyone that doesn’t like your way of doing things that you’d love to take their advice in person; but only between the hours of 12-5amSunday–Thursday. And, immediately cut ties with anyone who is not supportive of the way you have chosen to raise your baby. The end. You’ll be a lot happier and less stressed.
What is one of your recent go-to healthy meals that you like to cook at home?
I’m not much of a cook these days, but I only allow healthy foods in my house. Not having junk food at the ready makes it a lot easier to eat well. Anytime we are not cooking at home, we are going into a sit down restaurant and having a proper meal – with baby or without. I also always make sure we have eggs at home. They’re great for protein, healthy and quick/easy to cook.
What do you do when you want to have “Me time”?
I decided before I had my daughter that until she was 40 weeks old, I would be kind to by body…that I wouldn’t stress out about the way I looked, but I would make changes based on how I felt instead. I actually went to 42 weeks, so I’m giving my body at least that long to rebound.
For “me time” I sometimes just turn the phone off and cuddle with baby in bed all day, or get together with friends who have similar aged kids, or leave baby with the husband so I can go get “work done” – AKA professional massage, mani/pedi, etc.
What’s your biggest wish for your baby?
I wish that she grows up to be the perfectly happy and healthy person she is destined to be – wherever that takes her.
Anyone special you’d like to thank for helping you through parenthood?
I would like to thank my amazing husband. He’s been my rock through all of this insanity we call life! I couldn’t and wouldn’t want to do this without him. He’s been an amazingly supportive partner and an even more amazing father to our little angel.