Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Made-Up Workout #63

So us busy moms really need to find movement wherever we can get it.  Make no mistake, the best way to maintain physical and mental health is regular high-intensity cardio and strength training.  But any FitMomma, especially those with infants in the house, knows that's not always easy to get during the day - especially when certain Piglets start fussing at 5am in the morning, and continue off and on until awake for good at 7am.  Bring on the coffee!

But I digress....So a friend reminded me today of yet another pseudo-workout in our midst!  Grocery shopping!  Have you ever taken two kids to a grocery store and not felt like you were training for a marathon?  So put a little more effort into it, and by all means log this as workout time.  

Tips for making a trip to the store into more:
  • Go armed with a well organized shopping list - you are multi-tasking!
  • Don't stroll the aisles, move it!  Just beware of the other zombie moms and avoid running over small children.  
  • See that bar in front of you, otherwise known as the cart handle?  Use it!  Calf raises, squats, lunges - all done easily with the support of the cart.  Fine with me if you opt to do this down that aisle with the random household items that no one ever visits.
  • Make hard to reach items count - lunge, stretch, tighten the abs and buns as you reach for the Dijon on the top shelf, or heave a pallet of water from the bottom shelf.  Just use your legs and keep the abs tight to avoid back injury.
  • Take advantage of bagging it yourself.  Don't rely on the zitty teen to do all the work; bag your own stuff, load your own cart and take your own groceries out to the MomMobile.  
  • Take the kids - right there, you've added wrestling, marathoning, and strength training to the mix.  Not to mention building your endurance because your shopping trip just became twice as long.
  • OR - leave the kids at home, and go all-out-freak exercise in the store.  Speed walk, full-on lunges and squats, plus you can slip on your iPod for musical inspiration.  Not to mention it'll take half the time!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Plague...Not so much Swine Flu

Ugh, apologies for the absenteeism.  The Plague has descended upon our house.  Translation: Spring colds, mixed with severe hayfever, suck!  

All four of us are sick in the house.  Only the dog has been spared.  Hacking cough, throbbing stuffy/runny head.  Good Times.  I have managed to get in a few squats here and there, but not sure it's counting for much.  

Know what the kicker is?  I managed to stay healthy All Winter long!  I should give a Shout Out to the makers of Zicam for that minor miracle!  I swear by it, but this time, I just thought it was the allergies kicking my butt, and by the time I realized it was something more, it was too late.  And too late for the family, too - poor babies!

Anyway, I'm working on a new routine/schedule.  I've decided to cancel my gym membership, because it's not getting used, Ryan's nap schedule really keeps me from being able to use it, and I've lost the weight TWICE without one, so I know I can do it again!  I just need to find a regular yoga thing to keep me going.  Thoughts?

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Angry Side of Postpartum Depression

Postpartum Depression.  Ok, so what's going through your head?  

A mom in her raggedy pajamas, hair's a mess, weepy, puffy eyes, can't get off the couch.  Pretty close?  That's what I always thought, too.

But let me give you another picture.  Happy mom.  Gettin' stuff done.  Then baby starts crying.  Toddler throws a fit.  The phone rings.  The dog needs out.  Hubby home in a few minutes.  Dinner's not started.  Doorbell rings.  The tension builds so fast and furious, and your body starts to feel the weight, your shoulders sink, a tingling anxiety flows across you and you Snap.  Scream, out loud, if someone was in your reach, you may very well strangle them.  You pound your fist into the air, wishing you could deck someone, and you hate your children, your husband, your house, the dog, the phone, the doorbell.  All within a few very scary seconds.  Then the guilt sinks in - you're a terrible mother, you can't do this job, you aren't able to handle it, no mother should ever feel this way, you want to run away, head hanging in shame.  Your family deserves better.

That is how I was feeling.

The problem was that I woke up each day, promising myself I would not snap.  Not today, today will be a good day.  I am a mind over matter kind of gal, a "no makes you feel anything you don't want to" proponent.  Be responsible for your feelings and actions, and it's all about the power of positive thinking!  So what the hell was wrong with me!

Turns out I had/have Postpartum Depression, and it is nothing to scoff at.  Two times in the week before my doctor's appointment, I actually felt the urge to hurt my baby.  Out of anger.  (At the time, he had a stomach virus, and it was a worse than usual week.)  I ripped my husband's head off out of nowhere.  I screamed at my 2 1/2 year old.  For being a 2 1/2 year old.

I thought maybe my hormones might be out of whack a bit, but honestly, I thought it was something I could overcome, that I would snap out of it.  And that's what I was thinking when I went to my doctor, for my annual exam, and casually mentioned how I was feeling at the end of the visit.  No one is as surprised as I am to realize what was really going on.  I can guarantee that I would not have called my doctor because I didn't think anything was medically wrong with me.

I have opted to go on Lexapro, an anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medication.  This is serious stuff.  My doctor also advocated lots of exercise, nutritious diet, and getting out for some sunshine.  I have follow up visit with her to make sure that I am doing OK, and hopefully this will be a three month or so treatment.

At first, this wasn't something I was sure I should share...with the entire world!  But the more I research, the more I confide in friends and family and playgroup members, the more I realize that this is not discussed.  No one likes to talk about the weepy side of depression, but when PPD is anger and rage, moms are incredibly ashamed to admit those feelings.  Moms are sweet, nurturing, do everything right, know it all, are the angels that watch over tomorrow's leaders.   What kind of mother yells at her kids; has feelings of hurting her loved ones; feels an unnatural rage over everyday occurrences?  From what I've learned in the past month - many moms.  Everyday moms.  Working moms.  Stay home moms.  Funny moms.  Loving moms.

So let's talk about this.  Let's be healthy.  Let's cut ourselves some slack.  Let's acknowledge the incredibly hard job we have as mothers in today's world. And if you are reading this and hear yourself saying "Oh, my, I feel that way, too," then you owe it to yourself to do something about it.  I'm not going to tell you to go on drugs!  BUT...I will tell you to call your doctor.  Call your OB.  Describe how you're feeling.  I don't care if your "baby" is two years old!  Find a friend, a neighbor, an aunt or mom.  Share your feelings.  You are not alone!

Between the medication and talking with good friends and family, I am a new person today.  Life is still stressful, 15 things still hit me at one time.  But I don't feel like I'm going to scream.  A little voice inside tells me I can do this, that I will be OK.  I am calmer.  I am happier.  And I am a better mom for it.  And now that I see the clouds starting to lift, my next goal is not just to add in more movement in my day, but really step up my exercise.  Get those endorphins pumping, get some sunlight, and start to feel better, naturally!