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Fit4Mom saved my life.

Ok, that’s probably slightly dramatic. Fit4Mom definitely saved my sanity. That’s not dramatic, it’s just true. Addy was born at the end of September. That gave us a few weeks of weather acceptable for a newborn, then that was it. Meanwhile, my lady parts were trying to heal and my hubby was back to his ridiculous work travel schedule after his 10 days of baby leave were over.

It got cold outside and Addy and I were cooped up in the house pretty much all the time. She did a lot of sleeping on me; I did a lot of TV watching, book reading, and not too much else. That was great...for a little while. I absolutely loved having that time with her. It gave me a chance to heal, and now that she doesn’t sit still for 4 seconds, I long for all those snuggles we had! But, after several weeks I was starting to go stir crazy. I was antsy being cooped up in the house. I was getting little to no physical exercise outside of townhouse steps and I had minimal adult conversation/interaction, especially when Chris was gone.

I didn’t know it at the time, but looking back now I definitely think I had some baby blues. Sure, there are hormones and exhaustion and everything else that comes with a newborn, but I was having a harder time than just that. And I’d felt guilty about it because all things considered, Addy has been an easy baby! She’s still a baby; don’t get me wrong, but definitely on the easier end of the spectrum. What did I have to be sad or upset or frustrated with? Why did I feel so yucky? I had a wonderful daughter and husband, a supportive family…who was I to feel anything less than fantabulous?

I was self-aware enough to know I needed to start getting some kind of exercise again at the very least to start trying to get things evened back out. I had a grand plan that involved me going to our neighborhood gym on a regular basis. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that plan did not survive first contact with the enemy. I was fortunate that I lost a good chunk of my baby weight pretty quickly but I still felt like garbage. I was tired and weak and very out of shape. Fitness has always been a huge part of my life; I’ve always been an athlete. Now I felt awful and wasn’t sure how to fix it. Our gym doesn’t have childcare after all.

When I met Shannon and got a little taste of what Stroller Strides was about I couldn’t give her my credit card fast enough. Finally I had found a solution to my work out (or lack thereof) problem. Addy and I would get out of the house, and I’d get at least a little bit of a workout every day. That’s what I thought I was getting and I was thrilled.

Little did I know I was in for so much more.

We do get out of the house and I do get a good workout almost every day now. But I also have mom friends who I can talk to about stuff. Kid stuff, husband stuff, who-knows-what-random-BS stuff. I have friends I can call if there’s some kind of emergency and Chris is out of town (he’s gone a lot and that’s always something I’ve worried about a little bit). I have people who expect me to show up to class and keep me accountable. Addy has other babies she can interact with and learn to share with and hopefully learn that other kids’ hair is not her toy to pull on J

This group of moms is so much more than a workout for me. Stroller Strides is the best thing I’ve done for myself not only physically, but also mentally, and emotionally, and all the corny warm fuzzies, in a really long time.

On top of all the new-mom stuff, I’m three years into an epic identity crisis. I left the active duty Navy to follow Chris when he moved from Hawaii to Quantico, a year earlier than expected, and it was only partially on my terms. I don’t regret it for one second, but I’m still trying to figure out what the heck I’m going to be when I grow up. I’m trying to find what, outside of my most amazing little peanut, gets me going in the morning.

I’ve got a few different irons in the fire trying to figure it all out and as a result, sometimes, more often than I’d care to admit, I feel like I’m half-assing too many things. Having this amazing group of women to help me work through stuff, and remind me that I’m not alone, and that my kid made it to her first birthday happy and healthy so I’ve got to be doing something right, is an absolute necessity.

There’s some serious mom-judging that goes on all over the interwebs. I underestimated how important having friends you can trust is when it comes to raising kids. Sometimes my husband asks me how do I know what to do and how do I know all this stuff? My answer to him is I talk to the moms I trust and make it up as I go. He and I are figuring all this out together, because neither of us has any idea what the heck we’re doing. We’re both so grateful to have other parents who don’t know what they’re doing either to compare notes with.

Becoming a mom is the most wonderful thing I’ve ever done, and also probably the thing I was the most unprepared for. I did everything I could to prepare for when she popped out of me, and I still had no clue what I was in for. I just can’t say how much of a positive impact finding a village, and then realizing support is what I needed and that it’s ok to ask for help, has done for my family and I. Not to mention, I can carry the laundry from the basement up to the bedroom with out being totally out of breath when I get there again!

#fit4mom #fit4momlsbwk #ourvillageisyourvillage #findingyoursanity #postpartumfitness

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Sometimes, being a mom can be lonely. Being a young mom, that can be isolating. When you are in a different stage in life than your “peers,” it can be difficult to make true and real connections.

I have been a few stages ahead of most of my peers for a while. I got married at 21 to my high school sweetheart, Steven. At 22, I moved from Minnesota to Virginia with my husband who was stationed in D.C. I left all my friends and family in Minnesota, and it was just my husband, myself, and our cat, Gatsby. As I started my first teaching job, I made friends with people my age, but I was the only married one, which gave me “real-life responsibilities” that they didn’t have. When I got pregnant, I became even more of an outcast. Steven worked nights, and I had responsibilities, so the Happy Hours I could occasionally attend before I had SJ became even rarer. Eventually, I stopped getting invited. I felt like an outsider, and so my personal life consisted of cuddling with a baby at home with my husband. I was 24 and felt so isolated from my peers.

Meeting people in the real world is scary. My only friends came from work or Steven’s work. Nobody lived close, so any other moms at work always felt like quite a drive away from me. One of my teacher friends I met at a PWCS function also became pregnant around the same time as me. It was because of her that I found the INOVA New Moms Group. I LOVED going to those meetings, mostly because they normally ended with a mom’s lunch out. I thrived for Tuesdays when I could take my infant to a place that was filled with other moms and babies, and we could talk like real humans. I wasn’t a “young mom” there, I was just another mom.

Through that group, I saw an advertisement on Facebook for FIT4MOM- LSBWK. I gave that page a “like” because I heard other moms talking about Stroller Strides classes and I wanted to stalk the page a while before I saw anything. Since I was a working, mom, I couldn’t attend very many classes and I didn’t think it was for me. Then I saw an event for a Run Club Preview class on a Sunday. I hated running (yes, hated. I like it now) but thought it might be at least worth checking out. I went, and I signed up. When the school year was over, I decided to sign up with a membership for Stroller Strides and Stroller Barre. I attended every class I could with SJ this past summer.

It was through FIT4MOM that I met my mom friends. In these classes, we bond and make friendships, and so do our kids. These mamas ‘get’ me. We are all trying to prevent meltdowns so we can get in a good workout. Some days we go to class just to be around other mamas. I’ll still occasionally get “You’re only 25?” but my age doesn’t matter with these other mamas. Here, we are each other’s peers. We are all in this same stage of life at FIT4MOM, motherhood.

If I hadn’t found FIT4MOM, I don’t think I would be as happy as I am today. I have mom friends to drink wine with, to go to silly kid events with. I have mom friends I can text poop horror stories or milestone successes to. I have mom friends. Being a mother can be isolating, it doesn’t have to be. All you have to do is find your village.

#ourvillageisyourvillage #allthemoms #noagelimitonmomming #fit4mom #fit4momlsbwk #youngmom #findyourvillage

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​The weeks keep flying by! Week five of Body Back had us focusing on our connection to other humans. Interesting topic to write about as a somewhat shy, socially nervous introvert, but I’ll do my best! As you can tell by now, this program is not just about the physical exercise, however keep in mind that the intense workouts are still happening every week and that they are results based, full body training sessions, complete with cardio, strength, and core. Nutrition is still monitored, discussed, and guided every week as well. I just wanted to mention that so you keep in mind that while I write about different concurring topics, exercise and good nutrition continue to be priorities in our program.

​“We are not so different after all, we are all quite the same deep down.” That is the message that I’ve been receiving from so many sources lately that I have to pause and consider the synchronicity of it all. During class on Thursday, Megan had us write down some things our “inner mean girl” says to us. Mine tells me I’m too different, too unique, no one would understand, I’m inferior, blah blah blah. That belief has been one of my worst enemies in life, the number one isolator, the cause of much loneliness. And although I’m realizing this now, I still have a lot of work to do on it.

​One of our challenges this week was to reach out to a person in your life who has helped you along on this journey and to thank them. The idea is to notice who is supporting you and to develop your gratitude muscle. Is there anyone who has helped you in any way? Has anyone given you words of encouragement or a listening ear? Help with the groceries, kids, or other logistical assistance? My husband came to mind because he’s been very understanding with all of the things I’ve been doing lately. He’s refrained from going to work early on Mondays and Thursdays which I know is a sacrifice for him, as going in early to get ahead of the day is something he values. I’ve also been gone 16 hours a week (not including driving time) doing yoga teacher training, leaving him to pick up the slack. None of this goes unnoticed. I’m so grateful!

​I’m off to start week six now! I’ll let you know how it goes!

#TransformationTuesday #Fit4MomLSBWKNoVa #BodyBack #SelfCare #TakeCareOfYou

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We are so excited to announce our MOM (Motivating Mom of the Month) for September! Each month we take a moment to honor one of our local FIT4MOM LSBWK NoVa Moms for her efforts to lead a healthy lifestyle and for her dedication to the program. This month we honor Anna Woodham from our Burke village!

“Anna and her boys are a joy to have in class! Her smile brightens up everyone around her and we’re so grateful to have her as part of our village.”

~Sheila McCracken, Stroller Strides/Barre Instructor

“I absolutely love working out with Anna and her two little men! She always brightens our mornings with the best smile and laugh ever! Anna has amazing energy and always gives 110% of herself to reach her fitness goals! You are amazing, Mama! Keep going strong!”

~Candice Agustin, Stroller Strides Instructor

Who are the members of your family and where are you originally from?

I live with is my husband of 15 years, our two kids-ages 5 and 1, and our poodle. I’m originally from what used to be a small town in SC, just south of Charlotte.

When was your first Fit4Mom class and what do you remember about it?

My first class was November 2017, when our youngest was 3 months old. I remember Candice taught the class and I thought, “she has way too much energy for my sleep deprived self.” Haha!

Where can we find you? What is your Fit4Mom routine these days?

I love going to Burke Lake for stroller strides and barre. My goal is 3 classes a week. Sometimes I make it ;-)

What is your current job? Or what did you do before staying at home (if you don’t currently work outside the home)?

I’m at home now, and still a licensed social worker though not currently paid for that. I love non-profits, whether I’m getting a pay check for being there or I’m volunteering.

What are 3 of your favorite things?

Reading a good book, with a cup of coffee, and a gorgeous view.

You are given 4 hours of FREE babysitting. What would you do?

Read a good book, with a cup of coffee, and a gorgeous view.

What has being a mom taught you?

For most of my life, I’ve been an “in my head” person. Then came the boys. And they taught me that my body can be stronger than I knew.

What is your funniest or most embarrassing mommy moment so far?

I’m not sure about “most embarrassing,” but my almost-one-year-old pooped in the baby pool this summer, shutting it down on a Friday afternoon. I looked around us and wondered where all the brown leaves came from. Ewwww. Lucky for me a friend helped me clean up the baby while the pool employees cleaned up the pool.

Any words of wisdom for other moms?

I’ll pass on the wisdom a friend of with older kids gave me when my oldest was born, “You do you.”

What is your favorite thing about FIT4MOM? What would you tell someone thinking about joining?

In the spirit of “you do you,” I’ll start by saying I’m an introvert who doesn’t generally like big group activities. I also needed out of the house and muscles to carry around my big chunk of a baby. Y’all, I didn’t have high hopes for going back for my second class. BUT, I loved it. My two favorite things are how much stronger I am now (thank you Candice and Sheila!) and how there’s room for everyone to come as they are.

#ourvillageisyourvillage #strongmama #MOMofthemonth #fit4mom

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When I was in second grade at Farrar Elementary School in the small town of Tullahoma, TN, I was asked to dress up for career day. For most children that age, visualizing “what I want to be when I grow up,” is a daunting task. Heck, it was a daunting task for some of my friends to come up with an answer to that question when they were in college. I suppose I was lucky. For me, my answer was always the same. I was going to be a lawyer when I grew up. Plain and simple.

So that is what I did. I yearned to be a career woman the way that other women desired to be a mother. I rushed through undergraduate in 3.5 years so that I could move on to law school. I eventually settled into a career as a Commercial Litigator at a prestigious law firm in the Pan Handle of Florida, practicing in state and federal courts in both Florida and Alabama. My life consisted of court rooms, depositions, traveling, networking at cocktail events, board meetings for charity work and memberships in professional organizations. I was well on my way to making Partner at the firm in my early thirties when I met my soon-to-be husband. It was then that life threw me a few curveballs.

I had secretly vowed to never marry a military man, for the simple reason that I loved my job, and my town, and had no desire to move every 4 years. But at 32 I found myself marrying my now-husband, Darek, who was at the time a Major in the Air Force with orders to move to the Pentagon. Darek moved to Northern Virginia one day after we returned from our honeymoon. I stayed in Florida for 6 months trying to tie up matters at the law firm. When I went to the management board at the firm, in tears, to explain that I would be moving to the D.C. area in January of 2016, instead of accepting a partnership with them, it was bitter-sweet for all involved. Everyone was excited for Darek’s career opportunities but lamented my departure. The firm wanted to keep me on the letter head, for which I was so grateful, so I traveled back and forth between Florida and Northern Virginia for several months trying to be a good wife, while still holding on to my personal career goals. I worked remotely while in Northern Virginia and traveled monthly to Florida for court appearances and client meetings. It was the best of both worlds, and then I got pregnant with Ruby Laine.

Wanting to be a successful career woman did not mean I did not also want to be a mother. I did. The two are not mutually exclusive, as most moms know. However, wanting to over-achieve at both presented (and still does) numerous challenges . . . daily. After Ruby Laine was born, my life as a successful career woman/bad-ass lawyer changed indefinitely. To be honest, I was a bit sad, probably depressed about it. There was a true mourning period where I had to let go and say goodbye to this image I kept in my head of what my future as a successful lawyer/litigator looked like. With that said, my new life as a mom presented fulfillment I did not know that I needed. I sometimes dream of what it would be like to now be a Partner in my firm, running things, spending my days in court, winning big cases, and spending my evenings networking at cocktail events. I would be lying if I said that the mystery of “how it would be now” does not still intrigue me. But as soon as my mind wonders to the “what-if” of it all, I am reminded of my place when my precious, sweet, joyous Ruby Laine runs toward me with her arms wide open, huge smile on her face, whispering in her angelic voice, “I love you, Mommy.”

Currently, I still “play the game,” if you will, meaning I am a stay-at-home mom, while also working part-time, remotely, for my firm in Florida. I scurry to bill 4-5 hours a day, usually squeezing in my work hours during nap time and late at night after Ruby Laine goes to bed. I travel back to Florida for work related reasons about three times per year; however, now, I travel with Ruby Laine, who has become a familiar face around the office in Pensacola. It is hard. I am tired, and most days feel like I am less-than-adequate at one of the two jobs, and sometimes inadequate at both. I know a few moms out there can relate. With that said, for me, the attempt is worth it. I am blessed to be able to spend every day with my daughter, while holding on to the career world, albeit barely. Whether you are a full-time stay-at-home mom, a full-time career woman, or someone who splits your time doing both, hats off to you! I do not think that in second grade, any of us moms imagined what it would truly be like to be a mom, in whatever capacity that may currently be. One thing remains true - the thing that binds us moms is this completely pure love that we each have for these little human beings that we created.

#Fit4mom #workingmom #fit4momvillage #dcmoms #career #worklifebalance

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Wow, we’re already half way through this Body Back session! Our road trip related focus for week four was “map checking”. We took a look at where we were at, what we’ve been doing well, and what we could change.

I’ve been focusing on making my work my play. Life can be very challenging at times, but I don’t need to make it harder than it needs to be. My yoga teacher Dianne encouraged us to view class as an oasis and not a grind. This can apply to all areas of life. When heading to a Body Back class, I suggest shifting your perspective from “I’m going to punish myself with militant willpower and white-knuckle my way through this torture” to “Let’s meet up at 5:30am as a sort of play date. Let’s see what the instructor has in store for us today! Let’s delight in the music and the endorphin-releasing movement!”

​Switching topics, I’d like to briefly share an experience I had in class on Thursday. The exercise portion of the class had ended and I was lying on my back for meditation. I had been experiencing a lot of frustration with my children recently as my husband had been out of town the previous week and my patience was slowly being exhausted. Megan turned on a song and about ten seconds in I felt hot tears pouring down the sides on my face into my hair. There was a lyric about holding your child’s small hand in yours, and how very soon that tiny little hand will become a big adult hand. When I went home that morning I was extra sweet to my boys and cherished the fact that at least for that day, they were still my little babies. Don’t get me wrong, I think its great that they’re growing up and will someday become the beautiful men they were meant to be. But I also want to appreciate the here and now and not miss out on them being at this precious age.

​This program has already done wonders for my body. Clean eating has become second nature, which is so good for my physical health. I love the way my body is and looks so strong, although I was already happy with the way my body looked before I started. I personally chose to do this for the mental benefits, which have been so positive. So whether you call it Body Back or Mind Back there is a spot here for you if you’d ever like to try it!

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Get to know one of our awesome Team Members, Brooke Robinson. We have an amazing, dedicated and talented team of moms here at FIT4MOM LSBWK NoVa, and we want you to get to know a little more about each one of them. So for September, we'll put the spotlight on Brooke Robinson, Body Back and Stroller Strides Instructor

“Brooke’s positive energy and passion for life make the decision to get to a 7am weekend class an easy one. She’s so sweet and makes everyone feel welcome and like they’re right where they need to be. Not to mention, her workouts are killer and I’m already drenched in sweat by the end of the warmups.”

~Jaime England, Body Back Member

“Brooke is an amazing Body Back instructor! I never sweat as much as I do in her classes! She is constantly coming up with fun, new ways to challenge us (last week we did the Cupid Shuffle, plank style!), and she motivates us with her humor and positivity as she is making us work our booties off (literally!). I love her classes for their variety and intensity and am always looking at the schedule to find her name!”

~Amy Vanden Boogart, Body Back Member

“Brooke’s classes really push me to my limits! She is so encouraging which makes me push myself further than I knew I could go! She is a loving and caring soul and I absolutely love taking her classes!”

~Katie Dodge, Body Back Member

1. Who are the members of your family

My husband Bart, is an Air Force Pilot and stationed at the Pentagon. Our daughter Alexandra (Allie) is 22 months old. Our fur baby Hercules, (Heky) is a five year old English Bulldog.

2. Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in NoVa?

Home: What a loaded question for this military kid. I am a Texas born military dependent that lived in nine different places before graduating high school. My parents were born and raised in Alabama, so most summers and vacations as a kid were spent visiting my extended family there. I attended Auburn University (four years here was the longest I lived anywhere) and claim the south as home. So the short answer is I’m a southern gal that traveled the world thanks to an Air Force dad.

NoVa: I was assigned to the Pentagon in 2010 and shortly after met my husband, who was living in Baltimore. After our wedding, we moved into our first home in Arlington and plan to make Virginia home (for now).

3. Where do you typically teach?

I am a nomadic coach and teach at all our locations, however, you can find me most regularly on the weekends in Woodbridge and Lorton for both Stroller Strides and Body Back.

4. Tell us your story about how/why you became an instructor for Fit4Mom LSBW NoVa.

While on maternity leave, I saw an ad for Fit4Mom on Facebook. I signed up and attended my first Stroller Strides class when Allie was 3 months old in Kingstown…I was hooked! Most of my mom friends lived all over the world (thanks military) so I desperately seeking out a mom network. Within one hour, I met other mamas going through the same struggles, asking the same questions and seeking the same purpose all while singing fun nursery rhymes and doing bicep curls. After my first class, I immediately contacted Shannon and inquired about coaching. In the military I had led physical fitness classes, but knew I wanted to be a part of the Fit4Mom mission that empowers mothers to be the best version of themselves!

5. What is your favorite thing to teach?

I love coaching Body Back HITT rounds classes. It is motivating to share simple body weight moves (while blasting fun music) that can change your whole body, mind and spirit! Sharing these tools with other moms, gets the whole family moving at home, on the road, on vacation and leads towards an overall lifestyle change. It gives me so much joy to see other moms smiling, while pushing their limits!

6. What is the BEST thing about being an instructor?

The best part about being a coach is working in a positive, uplifting environment, either outside in the fresh air and sunshine or in a colorful gym. I am honored to help mamas maximize their one hour of ‘me-time’, because the best version of YOU leads to being a better wife, mom, daughter, sister, employee, etc.

7. What is your WHY? Why do you keep doing what you do?

One hundred percent, my husband and daughter, are my why. I want to extend my life (God willing) as long as possible, to ensure I maximize my days of adventure, laughing and making memories together. Additionally, it is empowering to help others become fitter (physically, mentally and emotionally), healthier and happier. It is so inspiring to watch moms smiling through a tough workout. Positivity like this is contagious and it spreads to everyone in the room. So not only do you walk away feeling satisfied, but rewarded by your work and therefore happier. You only have one life. Why not make the most of it?

8. What is one of your current wellness goals?

Color and variety…I love trying out new recipes and using new foods with each trip to the grocery store. This keeps my family energetic about meal time and helps us get a variety of food groups, which improves dietary patterns. For example, some vegetables and fruits are good sources of vitamin C or vitamin A, while others are high in folate, and others are good sources of calcium or iron. Choosing a variety of foods within each food group helps ensure healthy combinations of nutrients and other beneficial substances.

9. What is a fun fact that many may not know about you?

I served seven years on Active Duty in the United States Air Force before going in the Reserves. I have been stationed in Alabama, Arizona, D.C., Delaware and served two deployments in both Afghanistan and Qatar. I am third generation Air Force. My grandfather was Military Police and served during the Korean War, my father was a pilot for 33 years and continues to serve as a federal civilian in his retirement; he is my hero!

10. Anything else you'd like Our Village to know?

I am a college football fanatic (War Eagle), triathlon enthusiast and small business owner as an international protocol and etiquette consultant. I can’t wait to meet each of you and share many mom memories! Come jam with me at my next class!

#Fit4momlsbwknova #prenatalfitness s#postnatalfitness #bodybackinstructor #strollerstridesinstructor #military #AirForce

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Self-Care

This week has focused on self-care. Going with our road trip theme, the idea is to take time to “re-fuel”. This isn’t just about food and exercise, but you as a whole person with other interests and endeavors that make up the unique person you are. One of our challenges was to sign up for something you have wanted to do but haven’t got around to doing. One group member chose to sign up for piano lessons. I’m undergoing a rigorous yoga teacher training program. Whatever it is that you’d love to try, go for it!

Meal prepping is starting to become more of natural habit to me. I guess what they say about a habit taking three weeks to form is true! I’m finding my groove in what works for me. Trying to do all the cooking and meal prepping on one day of the weekend was too much for me, so instead I’m doing the majority of the work on the weekend and then whenever I have time during the week I’ll do a little more. My family has benefited from the healthier food options around the house too, which is extremely rewarding. Seeing all the positive changes keeps me going. All the extra water I’m drinking is doing good things for my skin and of course the increased strength is an empowering reward!

Class is such an oasis for me. It’s pretty amazing to be a part of this group of women. There’s a collective energy that comes from working out together, the positive encouragement from Megan, and the music on (all before the sun even comes up!). I’m so excited to be going into week four already!

#transformationtuesday #transformation #healthyhabits #healthyfamily #fitmom #fit4mom #bodybacktransformation #bodyback #strongmom #healthyeating #cleaneating #foodprep #selfcare

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Bringing home a baby for the first time is a nerve-racking experience. When you’re pregnant with your first, everything is just that…a first time experience. You have the time and attention to devote to reading the books, prepping the nursery, researching the best products and generally feeling “prepared.” But nothing can prepare you for that moment when you come home from the hospital with that tiny bundle of joy.

But the second time around. Man. That one is a doozy. More than likely you’ve spent the last nine months not only growing a tiny human inside your body, but you’re managing to keep another small person alive, as well as you know, continue on with normal life. And coming home from the hospital with your second sweet babe…well that can feel like a hurricane. But even if you know what to expect the second time around, from pregnancy to delivery to bringing home baby…it can feel like nothing is the same.

Our first child was born while we were living overseas in Japan. Connor’s was born at 34 weeks and stayed in the NICU for another month(ish). His entry into the world was a bit dramatic but we adapted and overcame. Japanese NICU experiences are very different from the US – I was only allowed in hospital with him for about 3-4 hours a day. And while we had many friends who were appalled at that practice (did you just “gasp!” too?), it actually allowed us to finish preparing our home, hearts and for me to heal physically. When he finally came home, he wasn’t a fresh newborn, but rather, a one month old baby boy. And while we still had all the shocking “what do we do now” moments when we finally walked in the door, we’d had quite some time to prepare and bond with him before welcoming him into his new home. Plus, I had completely healed, which made things that much easier to adjust to.

Fast-forward about two years and we were preparing for the arrival of our daughter, Emma. We learned at the start of the pregnancy that my husband would more than likely be unable to attend her birth due to Navy commitments (i.e. the ship was out to sea). And so, in addition to the normal routine of being pregnant with #2, working full-time, keeping a toddler alive (sometimes easier said than done!) and having a husband on a ship that spent more time at sea than at home, I also prepared ourselves, mentally, emotionally and logistically for Emma’s arrival. But to be completely honest, pregnancy didn’t scare me and the upcoming solo birth didn’t scare me. The idea of bringing home a fresh newborn to an overly rambunctious and energetic big brother without my husband home SCARED the $#!& out of me! But in the way that motherhood has a way of always teaching us some pretty great lessons, I learned some valuable ones during those initial weeks that really helped make our transition from one kiddo to two a little bit easier on everyone.

Have a plan in place.

Because my husband wasn’t able to be present at the birth, I had a three-page plan mapping out every possible scenario of when I would go into labor. No, seriously. I had a detailed plan for five scenarios, A-E. Everything was coordinated from daycare pickup for Connor, to someone coming to take care of our dog, to a ride to the hospital, photographer and doula. My mother-in-law came down the day I went into labor and stayed for a few days until my parents could come into town and then one of my best friends spent the remaining week with us until le hubs could make it home. Having that plan in place was a key part of setting my mind at ease and helped us manage those first few weeks at home. If you are fortunate enough to have family nearby or a spouse who can readily take parental leave for more than a few days, that’s great. But having a detailed plan in place to ensure your older child, the dog, the house, and above all else, YOU, are cared for. Setting the expectation for help, as well as boundaries is a big stress reliever during one of your family’s most stressful moments.

Post-partum healing is harder the second time around.

When Connor finally came home from the hospital we literally spent hours curled up on the sofa snuggling, napping, eating. I felt like such a queen despite the stress of navigating newborn sleep, breastfeeding, and this new life we were forging. However, once Emma and I were home, Connor wanted me to give him his bath and make his dinner and sit on the floor with him and drop him off at daycare, especially since daddy wasn’t home. The ease of Emma’s birth left me feeling like a mama goddess. I thought to myself, “I can do anything!” But after one too many walks up the stairs to put Connor to bed or too much activity in general just trying to keep my family together forced me to realize that even though our house had fallen into a haze of emotional newborn chaos, I needed to first and foremost, allow my body to heal. There’s a pull to return back to your role as wife and mother as if you didn’t just deliver a human being from your lady parts. Your body, your heart, your mind are raging with raw emotions. Give in to them, but know your top priority is to heal properly. It’s the total essence of the whole “you need to take care of yourself before you can care for anyone else” mantra.

Roll with it.

Trust me when I say we did #allthethings to prepare Connor for Emma’s arrival. We had him present her a gift and him receive one from her. We talked SO MUCH about the baby before she arrived. We asked his opinion on her name. He rubbed my belly several times a day. And to an extent, I feel like it might have made an impact on him. But the reality is, there’s only so much a two year old can conceptualize. He was super excited when he met her in the hospital and was genuinely interested in her for a hot minute. But after the newness wore off, he only wanted me, without his new baby sister. I know there are lots of books out there on how to transition kid #1 when baby #2 arrives. And I’m sure they offer much better, scientific advice. But you know what, we just took each day at a time and rolled with it. And we survived. Puzzles, favorite books and TV became a resource I relied on greatly to an extent, because we all needed to learn some patience during this transition.

Every baby is different and each family is different. I know my experiences are unique to our family. But I sincerely hope that if you’re expecting baby #2 and are stressing because you’re at 37 weeks and still don’t have a crib mattress or you’re newly pregnant and concerned as to how this new baby will fit into your family of three, I assure you that you will find a new corner in your heart to love this baby and older sibling will eventually see this new tiny human in your house as a new member of his or her team and you momma, you’ll be just fine. Perhaps a bit more tired, but you’ll survive too.

#fit4mom #fit4momvillage #momof2 #babynumbertwo #becomingmom #allthethings #siblings #militarymom #bringinghomebaby

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I am happy to report that week two was MUCH better nutrition-wise. I created a meal plan, made a grocery list, sent the husband shopping and cooked/meal prepped. I’ve already begun doing the same thing for week three as well.

This week’s theme was “roadblocks”. There are always going to be things that get in the way. Things that could stop you or slow your progress. Life isn’t always predictable and that’s ok! If you aim high, you’ll hit much higher than you would have otherwise, even if you fall short of perfection. Megan talked in class about situations in life that can present themselves as roadblocks to our goals. It could be that the scale isn’t moving or maybe your kids have unexpected schedule changes. Maybe you or a family member gets sick. We march on. We prioritize. And even if some things slide, it’s never too late to get back on the horse. Roadblocks can become excuses or simply challenges to overcome.

I had more varicose vein treatments on my leg recently and it’s been really hard to take it easy. It’s difficult for me to not have the freedom to “go hard” in class or exercise as much as I want to. However, I don’t want to injure my body because that will only further my recovery and ability to exercise at a higher intensity. Everything is healing nicely and every day I feel better and closer to being back to 100%.

I’m really enjoying this journey so far, my transformation group, and instructor. I love the positive encouraging atmosphere at class and it leaves me feeling like I’m doing some really great self-care.