When I was asked to write a blog post about health as a priority, my first thought was “I’m going to feel like such a hypocrite writing this!” As a busy working mom over the last year, I’ve definitely put other things ahead of health. So, I took the opportunity as a little reminder from God to try harder in this area, because it is more important than ever since I need energy to do all the things us working moms do and at the same time set healthy habits for our family. I will share a few tips that I have found helpful and although I’m the first to admit that it is easy to fall off the wagon, it’s just as easy to get back on.
Being a mom is no joke! I knew it would be a lot of work, but for the first eight months or so I was astounded at how CONSTANT the work of being a new mom was. I heard a story once about a study done where researchers took highly conditioned professional athletes and made them do the job of a mom for a day and the results came back that it was more physically demanding on them than their sport! So that tells me that us moms need to treat ourselves like athletes. We need to eat right and exercise as if our performance depends on it, because it does!
When making health a priority in your life, do not neglect the importance of mental health as well. A baby with colic was unlike anything I’ve ever taken on. After three colicy months, I received my first priceless piece of advice: accept help from people. And if there’s not enough help, then hire help! I’m a savvy girl. I love saving money and being thrifty just as much as the next person. Plus, I think I can always multitask to get anything and everything done without bothering anyone else for help. Then I became a mom and realized my thinking was delusional. That old saying “it takes a village” is true! I have lots of helpful family and friends and a very supportive husband, but I needed more and I was told about an agency that a friend of a friend had used to hire an affordable nanny. So I sucked up my pride and researched further into it and it was one of the best decisions for mine and my husband’s mental health we have made. Even if you think it’s outside of your budget or that inviting someone into your home would be scary, it’s worth researching if you are overwhelmed like I was.
The next tip is to make healthy decisions more convenient for yourself. Convenience is one of the biggest excuses to making poor eating choices that people use. Yes, it’s easy to grab a bag of chips or some other processed “energy” bar (more like energy zapper!) but if you don’t keep junk food in your cabinet and you do keep fresh fruits, vegetables and hummus in your fridge, then it is more convenient to choose the healthy option and make a good decision. I’m not big on will power: if it’s around and I’m busy and hungry, I will eat it. But I do have will power when I am grocery shopping and that’s when it counts. Make it inconvenient for yourself to eat unhealthy!
Finally, it’s not only about what you eat. Rest, as well as exercise, are important factors just like healthy food choices. My attitude corresponds to my amount of exercise and my sleep. If I haven’t worked out in a week, I’m shorter with my husband, I’m less patient with my son and I tend to make worse food choices. Sleep is hugely important too. I remember those sleepless nights when Merrick was colicky, but even after his colic went away, it became clear to me that we are different people when we are not rested. Just like with the nanny, I was referred to a sleep trainer by a friend who had used one. Again, my first thought was that I should be able to figure this out without paying someone but again, I swallowed my pride and admitted I needed help. To my surprise, it was a very inexpensive process because it was possible to have a sleep trainer help you efficiently over the phone, email and text and never have to step foot in your home! And on the third night our little Merrick was sleeping 12 hours a night and napping twice a day!
I always thought the topic of health was a very personal decision and that if someone has an unhealthy lifestyle that they were only hurting themselves. Through having a son, God has shown me that health is not only about yourself, it’s for those you’re closest to. Being able to do all of the work God created us daughters to carry out is only possible if we take care of the gift of our bodies that our God has given us.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
My name is Laura Horan. I am a mother to Merrick, our one year old replica of his Dad, my husband of 8 years, Sean Horan. I grew up in Kentucky and graduated from the University of Kentucky with a Bachelor’s degree in Interior Design. Three years into college, I came to San Diego on a summer vacation and ended up meeting my future husband. We dated long distance for two years from Kentucky to California. The day after I graduated, I gave all my belongings away except what would fit in a Honda Civic and drove it across the country to where I have called home for the last twelve years. I now work designing from home and get to enjoy all the sweetness of watching my little boy grow up.