A Fitness Journey: The Importance of A Supportive Partner
I sat here at my computer for a while trying to figure out how to start this post, and it finally came to me in one blunt thought: “it takes two people to make a baby and it’s going to take effort from both of those people if the mother wants to get back in shape afterwards.” This thought has been on my mind because I’m right in the midst of my postpartum journey after baby #2 and I know how much of a struggle it can be to lose the weight. I’m extremely lucky in that my husband and I have always run and exercised together so he knows just how important it is for me to get back into shape. He never makes me feel guilty when I say that I’m going to go run and I need him to watch the children, and if I say I want to run but the day starts slipping away from me he’ll say “didn’t you say you wanted to go run? I can watch the kids, you take your time.” He is always encouraging and always there to help me however I need him to. Heck, when I told him I wanted to run a marathon before Jack turned 1 he was fully supportive and even ran 20 miles with Jack in the stroller so that I he could keep me company on my longest run. That’s a true partner. He’s seriously the best husband ever and I thank God every day that we stumbled upon each other at work so many years ago (and coincidentally our first real conversation was about distance running). Having a partner who is both willing and able to help is monumental in getting back into shape. Even though our daughter still won’t take a bottle (and wouldn’t take a pacifier for the longest time), he always encourages me to get out the door even if it means that he’ll end up standing with a crying baby the entire time. I am so incredibly thankful for my husband because I know all husbands aren’t naturally so supportive.
It’s easy for a mom to feel guilty for taking time for herself but one thing I’ve learned in my scant 2+ years of being a mother is that you have to fill your cup up if you’re going to fill up the cups of your family. I know that I feel so much better after a workout and I also end up with more patience with my children (here’s looking at you, Jack) and more energy to play with them and accomplish other tasks. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of “oh I’m to tired to work out,” especially if your husband isn’t on board. I see the term “mom guilt” thrown around on social media all the time, but y’all, you should not feel guilty for trying to be the best version of yourself! I know that I was always proud (and I still am proud) that my mom was the fit mom who could run around and play with us and also still wear a bikini and look amazing after 2 kids. I also knew that one day I wanted to be exactly the same type of mom that she was so now’s my chance to make it happen. I guess the point is, if you’re worried that spending time away from your child so you can work out will hurt them, believe me, it will do just the opposite. They will learn healthy habits from you and they’ll also be so proud that you are their mom!
I have many friends who don’t make themselves a priority, even though they’re dying to get back in shape and lose the baby weight. And I have read on countless medical/pregnancy websites that if you don’t lose the baby weight within a year that weight will likely become permanent…so time is truly of the essence! It’s so easy to become complacent when you throw your whole self into motherhood, but if you’re struggling you’ve got to figure out how to get support from your partner so that you can take time for yourself.
If you’re in that situation, does your spouse know you want to get back into shape? Does he know you’re struggling? Sometimes men aren’t quite so good at reading in between the lines and may need a frank discussion about it. If you are good at finding excuses for yourself maybe you could tell him you need encouragement to get out the door. ( I know I do sometimes.) Explain to him that you will be a better wife and mother if you take time for yourself to work out and his support is essential. Honestly, it may not have even crossed his mind. Sometimes Tom will say “did you want to work out today?” and then I’ll remember that it’s been a few days and immediately jump on the opportunity. (Although to be honest sometimes I’m too tired and say “nope.”) And if the support you need is for him to be on board with joining a gym, let him know and then get your money’s worth and actually use it! Marriages are a partnership and they work so much better when both people are on the same page. To be fair though, don’t make him feel bad when he takes time for himself to go workout. Tom is an extremely dedicated runner and I know he feels better and is happier when he runs about 6 times a week, and I don’t begrudge him for having that time to himself…and honestly most of the time he takes Jack with him in the BOB so it gives me a little break too 🙂 Like I said, the man is the best.
What has your postpartum fitness journey been like? I’d love to hear! And if you’re struggling to get back into shape after having a baby talk to your partner about it. Having a partner that’s on board is such a game changer!
And just a little note: I’m about 4 and a half months postpartum and still have 5 pounds to go before I’m at the high end of my “happy and fit weight” and still have lots of toning up to do. 125-130 is where I like to be, and I know these last 5 to 10 pounds are going to be stubborn ones!