First off, Happy July everyone! What better way to celebrate Independence Day weekend than with a kick-butt new feature? Anastasia is our 30-year-old Movin’ Mama from Hudson, learning to balance her new family of four including her husband, little girl (age 4) and her newest little guy (6 months). She loves to stay active, both outdoors and behind her professional camera lens. We asked her how she’s Living Well today and here’s what she shared…
How do you typically start your day?
I start my day around 6:00 a.m., most often with my son snuggled up next to me. He is still not a great sleeper and wakes up several times at night; inevitably I bring him in our bed sometime around 5 a.m. to get another hour of shuteye.
After a cup of coffee and five minutes of the Today Show, the focus shifts on getting everyone dressed, making bottles and walking out the door to bring the kids to daycare.
What does your workout regimen consist of?
My workout regimen has been inconsistent, at best. As I continue to adjust to our lifestyle as a family of four, I am realizing that time for focused, individual workouts will be hard to come by.
Since we both work full time and family time is limited, we make an attempt to be active together most days of the week. Whether this means a family walk after dinner or chase in the backyard, we know that being active is important even if it does not mean putting in two hours at the gym. Some days I can squeeze in a run or a workout DVD, other days I carry my four-year-old home from the park because she’s too tired to walk; beggars can’t be choosers.
Has losing the baby weight been harder or easier this time around?
I consider myself lucky to have been able to lose the baby weight quickly after both of my pregnancies. I attribute the weight loss to maintaining a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy and to genetics (thanks, mom!). I am currently a few pounds below my pre-baby weight and I know that exclusively breastfeeding has given me an advantage this time around.
What has been your #1 challenge with wellness since your son?
The biggest challenge with wellness since the birth of our son has been limited time. I know that exercise is important but my days are filled to the brim; from hectic mornings, to work, to pumping, to making dinner and managing bed times: my days are a whirlwind. I look forward to the time when our son’s sleep schedule normalizes and aligns with our daughter’s, so we have a few less things to juggle and get a few less night wakings to keep us dragging. Getting active each evening is energizing and so important. I make it a priority to be outside at least part of the day.
For meals, structure has been my saving grace. Every morning and evening routine is relatively the same. My work day can be hectic and work travel can throw me for a loop, but maintaining a sense of stability in our schedule gives me some control. I eat breakfast every day and snack throughout to keep myself going. I make a meal list on the weekend for the week ahead and grocery shop so we have everything on hand that we need; there is less temptation for eating out on busy nights and pre-washed, or chopped fruit and veggies are readily available for our family.
What are some best wellness tips you can share with new Mamas?
Eat well most of the time; skip the guilt when you indulge. If you eat well, you will feel energetic and it will help you on days when you’re running on little sleep. If you indulge, enjoy it, you are superwoman and you deserve to treat yourself!
Appreciate your body; it is amazing. You just created a human life, and if you are nursing, you are providing nourishment for your baby with nothing but your body. You may take a while to get back into a size you feel comfortable in, but as long as you are making healthy choices, you will get there. Hating your body and being a mom do not go hand in hand. Leave those self-loathing thoughts in the past and love the skin you’re in.
Have fun with your kids and set an example. If you eat ice cream for dinner and sit on the couch all night long, your kids will take notice. If you complain about your body and poke your belly in front of the mirror, your kids will also notice. Make good choices, involve your kids in cooking family meals; talk in terms of health, not appearance; put on your bathing suit and get in the pool with your kids instead of sitting on the patio with the other adults! What you do now will shape your kids’ relationship with food and body image, be deliberate with your words and actions because they see more than you realize.
Finish this sentence: Being a Mom has made me…
Confident. Sure, I would love to be more fit and eat healthier, but it’s because I want to live longer and be active and enjoy time with my family, not because I want to look a certain way in a bikini. That mentality is sad, unhealthy and frankly, exhausting. I hope to set the tone for my daughter’s relationship with her body as she gets older.
What do you do when you want to have “Me Time”?
Photography is my passion and I am lucky to also have it be my business. When I have free time I am usually editing photos. If I don’t feel inspired to edit, I sit on the couch and watch bad reality TV. But really, with two young kids and a job, alone time is hard to come by.
What’s your favorite go-to light weeknight dinner?
When I haven’t had time to prepare dinner, I like to pick up a rotisserie chicken and steam some broccoli or brussel sprouts and sprinkle with parmesan cheese and freshly ground black pepper. It’s fast, but doesn’t leave you feeling sluggish and bloated.
What was your own mother right about?
My Russian mom doesn’t sugarcoat much, and she was always honest about how I looked; she is the best person to bring shopping. She taught me to dress for my body type and not focus on fads. Just because something is “in”, it doesn’t mean it is flattering on me, and that is okay. Instead of changing your body to fit the clothes you think you should wear, find clothes that flatter your body.
You’ve got a full cart in store & your baby starts crying frantically…so?
Pick up the baby, try to calm him (with my son, this probably means go find a place to nurse; he loves a boob) and if all else fails, keep to the list and finish shopping.
A crying baby doesn’t phase me the way it used to. Being a mom has made me more confident and I’ve come to realize I care more about my family than about what strangers think.