The kids are fed and tucked in by 8 p.m. — but what about mom? A well-nourished, rested mama is the foundation of a healthy family.
Mom is like the final piece to the puzzle, the engine that makes the car run, the backbone of the family — you get it. A mom is what makes the world go round. So when mama isn’t getting proper rest or is not properly nourished, it can reflect on everyone.
MOM & REST
You may be thinking, what’s rest? We’ve all heard of why sleep is important — sleep keeps your immune system stronger, decreases stress, prevents weight gain, keeps your mood intact and is just plain vital to your social and personal health overall — that’s easy. According to Dr. Lana Lange, an OB/GYN at Christ Hospital Health Network, it’s the how that’s the hardest part, especially right after having a baby.
“Some babies don’t sleep well, and worry can keep us awake,” says Lange. “Set up a routine as soon as possible and stick with it. Go to bed (and put the baby/kid down) around the same time every night. This may not take right away but will really be helpful as the child grows.”
If Mom sets a regular sleep routine for the kids, it’s more likely she will have a regular sleep routine, too.
Another factor that plays a significant role in Mom’s health is time management — there is so much to do, and so little time to do it!
“Time management is always something we have to re-learn once we have a baby,” says Lange.
The trick? Lange suggests utilizing the help around you. Your friends, family, spouse and neighbors are great to turn to when it comes to multi-tasking. Have a trusted someone sit with the kids while you head to the grocery and meal prep. If someone offers to do the laundry, say the magic word, “Yes!”; or ask your spouse to handle bedtime or bathtime so you can get caught up on the house, or more importantly, yourself.
“I know we like to do it all ourselves (or feel we should),” says Lange, “but it’s an impossible standard to sustain.”
HEALTHY DIET & EXERCISE
“It can be tempting to grab small bites off our kids plates or finish what they don’t even though this often isn’t the right nutrition for us,” says Lange.
Making bigger meals to have ready for the week can help a busy mom stay on track with proper nutrition. Moms, especially nursing moms, need essential vitamins and nutrients to sustain her energy as well as her overall health. Include prepped meals in your diet that are loaded with fruits, vegetables, proteins and grains; plus plenty of Vitamin C, D, calcium, folic acid and iron.
Exercise. That’s another task on the backburner. Moms want to sign up for that energizing Zumba class, but often times, guilt and fatigue can get in the way.
“Exercise is known to make us healthy, decrease stress, maintain weight and improve sleep,” says Lange.
Aim for at least 20 minutes of exercise a day. If mom isn’t happy and taking time for herself, then her kids and family can’t be happy. Cliche? No. It’s just the truth.
“Keeping yourself happy and healthy can be one of the most important things in keeping your family happy and healthy,” continues Lange. “It is hard for us to find time to exercise or take an hour for a massage or to get our toenails done, but ultimately it will be better for everyone if we do.”