Do four things at once? Check. Lift multiple heavy objects in one arm, while carrying a wriggling baby in the other? Check. Eat more than I’ve eaten ever before, while still losing weight? Check. I am Mom, I have superpowers.
Being a mom has been the best health regime of my life. I’ve lost weight, become strong, more productive, and learned how to be better to my body. All the while appreciating the present moment more often than I ever did before. I’ve made this transition not by conscious effort, but simply by doing what felt right to do in taking care of my daughter.
I understand that these sorts of changes do not naturally occur for all parents. Modern parenting methods often, in fact, seem to try to minimize parenting effects on the body, taking a more hands-off approach. I suppose it is mankind trying to make life easier, but from where I stand, it seems to do the opposite.
I remember a bottle-feeding friend of mine, as she pushed her daughter in her pram, talk about how she was trying to make time for the gym in order to lose her baby weight. While I nodded in understanding, all my brain could say was, who needs to go to the gym when breastfeeding helps you lose weight, and carrying and taking care of your children is one of the best workouts out there?
This is why I love natural and attachment parenting methods. While I give my daughter all she needs to grow up feeling loved, appreciated, and strong, I am also giving the same to myself.
My daughter, Jade, and I walk everywhere. She doesn’t like the car, and nor should she really. Being outside in the fresh air and exploring the world around her makes going places just as fun as getting there. I carry her a lot of the time in my woven wrap, though now that she’s more mobile at age one, I also let her walk a lot.
I also share pretty much everything I eat with her. I never bothered, or planned to bother with, “baby food”. Instead I just let her explore and try what she sees me eating. This has also been great for encouraging me to eat right. I’ve always been keen to give my body the right fuel, but seeing the food I’m giving her gives me a whole different perspective on what I really want (her) to be eating.
Jade sleeps only when she wants to sleep. This isn’t to say there aren’t times late at night when I don’t have an influence, but it’s all done via kind persuasion. I’ll nurse her, rock her, sing to her, or just run around with her until she’s tired. Eventually, we’re both well worn out and ready to snuggle up in bed together.
Yes, I burn a lot of energy. Being a full time house wife and mom is a lot to take care of, especially when you’re doing it the rough and tumble, let your kids get messy and throw flour around so they can learn, sort of way that I do it. I love it though. Spending tiring day after tiring day watching my daughter learn and seeing the world through new eyes beats my old life of TV and PC games any day.
Of course, I need a lot of fuel as a result. Both from running around, and from breastfeeding. I eat four or more meals a day, and crave and consume many more natural fats that I ever did before. But, as proof that it’s good to listen to your body, I have lost weight and feel great in this routine. I am 25 lbs (11.3 kg) lighter than my pre pregnancy weight, and that’s with more heavy muscle on my body than I’ve probably ever had on me in my adult life.
Note, I didn’t enter parenthood thinking ‘I want to become an attachment parent'; it just happened. Rather than just accepting common practices, which are not always common for the right reasons, I instead asked myself what felt instinctively right. What was natural? Eventually, from talking with other moms, I realized what I was doing was called attachment parenting.
So, if you’re not part of the club already, do give it a think for the future. Attachment parenting may be baby-led, but the baby isn’t the only one gaining from it!