April Movin’ Mama: Lauren

MEET LAUREN!

Lauren resides in Cohasset, MA with her husband & three children (Daughters Ages 2 & 7; Son Age 5). Lauren is the Founder and President of not one, but TWO not-for-profits, both focused on women’s networking and mentoring, and is a Board member for the March of Dimes, Family Advisory Council, MA Department of Public Health, & Palliative Care Network,

How do you typically start your weekdays?

I typically start my day with one child sandwiched between me and my husband in bed….and we usually get about 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep before someone is crying for us.

We have a PCA a few times a week (my son is severally disabled and handicapped)…so, she comes first thing in the morning to help get him fed and dressed for school while I run around like a crazy person getting the girls up and out of the house.

My husband calls me “hurricane Lauren” because I come downstairs in the morning and move at warp speed.  I could never be one of those moms that wakes up super early and sips her coffee and reads the paper, makes breakfast…and slowly kisses her family awake…I come in like a wrecking ball!

As a busy mama, how often do you make time for exercise and what’s your favorite workout today?

Exercise…What’s that? Kidding. I would not function if I couldn’t get some type of exercise…but it is never enough and when I feel myself getting super stressed or grumpy, it is usually because I haven’t worked out enough.

I try to do 45 minutes of scheduled exercise, 4 times per week.  Typically that is walking and/or running on the treadmill while my 2 year-old plays in the room with me.

I have recently started a weekly boot camp out of the house with some of my friends, too that I really enjoy!

What has been your biggest challenge with wellness since the birth of your children and how are you overcoming it?

Firstly, my middle child suffered from a traumatic brain injury at birth, and as a result he has cerebral palsy, is legally blind, has a seizure disorder and is completely dependent on us for his care and feeding.

He also doesn’t sleep at night. The amount of stress that my husband and I carry is sometimes overwhelming…and the lack of sleep doesn’t help. There are days when I rush from school drop-offs, to doctor appointments, to his therapies, to my own meetings…and realize I didn’t eat all day.

I have started packing my Arbonne protein powder in individual packs in my bag so if I miss a meal I can just add water and make sure I get my nutrients!

Finally, we try to eat together as family every night, and limit “take-out” to once a week…..unless something crazy is going on. Home cooked – even if it is Tacos (again) is something we try to always do. With busy lives, it is hard to find time to cook and eat healthy.  We just started buying pre-made salads in a bag so in a pinch my husband and I can have a salad (with last nights fish or something).

I also cook a soup at the beginning of every week so it is also always there if we need something quickly! We also always have brown rice in our fridge.  My husband cooks a huge batch in the rice cooker to bring to work with chicken and kale….and we can use it for a quick side for dinner!

What do you love most about being a mom so far?

The overwhelming love. When my two year-old holds both sides of my face and tells me she loves me…I feel like I could walk on water.  When my 7 year-old grabs my hand when we are hiking….it makes all my worries disappear.  And when my son smiles at me when I tell him I love him…my heart melts.

What has been your most effective best practice for relieving stress?

Exercise is my #1 stress-reliever.

As I mentioned above, if I don’t exercise, then I don’t feel well. And it’s not an exercise to fit into my pre-baby jeans…it is an exercise to clear my head or just lose myself for 45 minutes.  I need that as often as I can get it!

What are some things you’re doing to ensure life balance?

I am probably the last person who can give advice on life balance….I heard Dr. Paula Johnson (Wellesley College) once answer that question by saying, “it is an integration…not a balance.”

I feel like we need to listen to our gut as mothers. There are mornings when I am super mom, afternoons when I am super worker, and evenings when I am super community-driven…and then I go to bed and realize I haven’t spoken to my husband since Tuesday, or I haven’t been the one to put my kids to bed in 3 nights.

Then I listen to my gut and see how I can shuffle my schedule to make sure I give time to whoever needs it the most.

What do you do when you want to have “Me Time”?

I love to read and always find a few minutes a day (even 5) to read just a few pages. Bathtub and book are definitely my favorite “me time” activity!

What is one piece of candid advice you’d like to share with other new moms who are expecting their first child?

No matter how difficult it feels, don’t rush it. Don’t wish they were older to “get through it” because you will miss each phase that passes.  I will never forget the moment my (now) 7 year-old stopped coming into our bed in the middle of the night and how I felt.

Also, as a parent of a child with special needs, I can’t stress enough to moms of healthy children to embrace every accomplishment. Every time your new baby wraps his/her fingers around yours, or coo’s or smiles, or can look you in the eye…embrace it! Take pride in the fact that s/he can nurse or suck from a bottle just as much as you will take pride in that first step. Not milestones…just minor accomplishments.

The fact that they can master the tasks that come naturally – swatting at a toy above them – turning their head to see you walk into the room…these functions are so minor…yet so major. Enjoy every fleeting moment, even the hard ones.

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