Five steps to ‘supermum’
No one’s expecting you to be the social butterfly you were before you became a mother, but staying in touch with the people you love brings many more benefits than just keeping up with the latest goss. Being around friends increases the release of oxytocin, our cuddle hormone, which can be just what the doctor ordered after a sleepless night. Time with loved ones also gives us a sense of belonging, making us feel comforted and valued.
REFINE YOUR DIET
When you have a baby, your priorities change — you’re less concerned about looking fabulous, as long as your baby is happy. You’ll drink cold tea and scoff lukewarm dinners; we’ve all done it. But here’s the thing: you’re a role model now, so stop saying ‘no’ to nourishing your body and mind, starting today. You probably made sure you ate all the right things during pregnancy, and clean-eating coach and director of The Blueprint Body Julia Higgs says it’s equally important to focus on a healthy diet once you’re a busy mum. Upping your intake of the right foods can also boost your energy levels.
SHOW US YOUR MOVES
There’s one key motivational element you need to remember with this step: if you make time for your health and fitness, you’re giving your family a gift — a stronger, healthier, happier you. The main goal here is to boost your mental health; if you happen to slim down while you’re at it, that’s a bonus. Group fitness especially is great for your general wellbeing, but if it isn’t your thing and you’d rather start slowly at home, aim to combine cardio, core, strength training and stretching, says health and fitness mentor Louise Roche. “Attention needs to be paid to rebuilding your core muscles. Start by going for walks to get those muscles moving.”
MAKE IT WORK
A successful transition back to work is all about communication. “Most employers will be supportive if you discuss your plans both in person and in written form several weeks before you return,” says Katie James, midwife and education manager at Medela. “It might be hard to work the same hours as before, so consider asking your supervisor to help you arrange a more creative schedule. Remember, there’s often no such thing as the ‘perfect’ balance, and life will eventually become more manageable again.”
LOOK GOOD, FEEL BETTER
Confidence breeds success. So, what makes you confident? A new hairstyle? A full-leg wax? A relaxing massage? Finding time to pamper yourself is easier said than done, but it could be as simple as having an uninterrupted shower in which you put a treatment through your hair and smooth your skin with body scrub before emerging squeaky clean (even if you don’t stay that way for long). Whatever it is, do it — and do it without guilt.