Healthier as a Parent?

I got an email from the BabyCenter site this morning (I should really remove myself from their mailing list! They were a source of constant misery throughout my pregnancy and now they are just a nuisance.) and it had links to ways to tell if my child is developing normally or not at this age, tips from professionals in a field about fixing certain behavioral issues, a story about whether you should teach your child a foreign language at this age (mine is learning Spanish, which means I’m learning Spanish) and a quiz about “Do you try to be healthier now that you are a mom?” That one caught my eye, so I clicked through. It was an interesting thing to ponder.

Mental Health

I think certain aspects of my mental health are better but other aspects of my mental health are far worse. I am impressed and surprised at the amount of patience I have when it comes to my child. I thought I would be a lot more antsy when it came to slow eating, putting shoes on, etc. In fact, the one thing that I am finding my patience waning on is the “I have to go potty” statements that arise continually throughout meals, particularly when out to eat. Nobody wants to hang out in public restrooms much, especially repeatedly when you’re trying to have a meal.

I harbor a lot more anger and resentment right now, mainly geared toward my spouse because it feels like men get the easier part of this parenting gig by far. This area my patience is far quicker to wear out. I don’t need to parent a small little girl and a grown man, yet there are times that it feels like that’s exactly what I’m doing.

But it is a lot easier to be happy around this kid.

Best… swing… EVER!! #AwesomeA

A photo posted by @jillwillrun on

Habits

In terms of bad health habits, I didn’t really need to worry about cutting back on the booze or cigarettes as they mention, those aren’t issues for me. So I guess I can give myself props for still not abusing those!

The quiz asks if you drive safer now that you have a child. I think my driving habits for the most part are the same, except I did put in an Automatic device on my car. Overall I think it’s not as great as I had hoped, but it did allow me to program in an alert if I top a certain speed so my car now chirps at me if I hit 82 mph. A lead foot is my biggest driving sin.

(PS – Apparently the Automatic is on sale for $79 right now. That’s better than the $100 I paid…. but still doesn’t feel like a price consistent with what you actually end up getting. I keep hoping they’ll release more improvements. And I hate that it gives you a drive score and docks you points if you do things “wrong”. Because one of the things that it says is wrong is driving over 70mph. Which means I would be a better driver according to this thing if I’m putzing along the freeway and being a general hazard instead of keeping up with traffic. And it’s not like the drive score matters… but I like getting good scores on things!)

Nutrition

In terms of eating healthier, no…. I am a far worse eater now that I am a parent. I inhale my food at rapid speeds in between various mother duties, sometimes realizing at the end that I might not have even tasted my meal. Time to cook is diminished because the child seems to go from “Play with me mommy!” to “I’m starving and I will die!” in a matter of moments. My breakfast and lunch are consumed at my desk every weekday.

My dinner repertoire is so small because I want to make sure the kid is actually eating something and I need to have something ready for her about 5:30-6 pm, while also playing with her because I haven’t seen her all day while she’s been at school (I would rather play than cook, FYI). My husband usually walks in the door from work right as I’m getting dinner on the table… no matter what time it occurs. He’s got some kind of skill that way.

I used to think I liked cooking. But now I realize that I don’t like cooking much. Nobody appreciates it around here and most of my food fascination from years ago came because I was starving myself to death. (This is a known fact… those who are starving often fantasize about food. ) I do still like baking, I wish I had more time to bake bread, but I don’t.

A weekly staple the kid will eat: cook a tortilla, spread with these beans and guacamole. Serve with fruit. Voila! Dinner is served.
A weekly staple the kid will eat: cook a tortilla, spread with these beans and guacamole. Serve with fruit. Voila! Dinner is served.

Exercise

This is an area I wish I knew how to improve. As it is right now, basically all I do is run 4 times a week. I was getting in a Surfset class once a week for a little while… then my job decided to explode further and I couldn’t squeeze in the class as my lunch break anymore. I love the classes, but the studio is about a 25-minute drive from home. I really need workouts that originate from here. (Thus why running works.)

I don’t have time to run with friends anymore, I don’t even recall the last time I did that. I used to feel a little bad about missing out on group runs, but now it seems like it would feel like an awkward blind date and I’m okay not dealing with that right now.

I recently bought a bunch of Barre3 DVDs to do at home. In a perfect world I’d be able to do one of those 4 times a week in addition to running 4 times a week, as well as making sure I have a good core/strength training routine going on. But nothing is perfect… so I do the best I can, which never feels like enough.

barre3-dvds

Before having a kid I did yoga several times a week, all at home, but it feels humorous to reflect on how I could accomplish that. And I kind of need yoga, it makes me feel a lot less crunchy and stiff.

Conclusion

So I’m going to have to say that no, I’m not actually healthier than I was. But my happiness with my daughter is so high that helps the mental side of this equation get boosted a lot!

I have really good friends who have used the birth of their child(ren) to spur on their fitness habits. I’m impressed and proud of them. For me, so far it has been the opposite.

What about you? Do you find that having kids improves or challenges your healthy living habits?

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