No amount of information or advice from friends or family really, truly prepared me for having a baby. I read every book going, did NCT and even did the free NHS classes too. I was a complete swot and asked lots of questions and wrote a whole heap of notes. All in preparation for becoming a ‘parent‘ (dun, dun, duuueeerrr!) I was ready, like a runner lining up in the starting blocks, or so I thought. But when my baby arrived, everything I’d learnt or read went out of the window. Funnily enough never at one point did I refer back to my trusty ‘notes’. The last thing you think about doing during a 3am feed followed by a ‘poo-splosion’, is consulting your pages and pages of handwriting. You genuinely have to wing a lot of it. There were some very confusing moments when my baby was new (often involving poo or sick) but I got through those dark times and hey presto, I came out the other side having learnt a new skill, wahoo! (to any potential or new parents, you will at one point be stood covered head to toe in sick, holding a baby also covered in sick and you literally won’t know where to start) Here are a few truths for you, a few things that I’ve discovered along the way.
Coffee, it’s wonderful stuff isn’t it. Dark, rich, velvety, milk-foamy, chocolate topped loveliness. Making and drinking it has become part of my daily, morning routine. It signals the start of my day and often gives me a much needed kick-start, especially if the kid has been up wailing in the night. A favourite past time of mine used to be sitting in coffee shops, watching the world go by *sigh* but those days are long gone. Nowadays, going out for a relaxed cup just doesn’t have quite the same appeal as it used to. A trip to a nice coffee shop now is actually a mission in itself, requiring tactical planning in advance. Something that was once so easy, can now be a tad stressful. After a recent visit to one establishment, I left with some serious top lip sweat, red faced and apologising to people as I went after the kid launched a muffin at someone, forced people to wave at her by shouting ‘alloo’ at them in her best Danny Dyer voice, she shrieked a lot as I attempted to remove my cake from her hands (her anger resulted in the muffin throwing) and she finished off by doing the crocodile death roll when I attempted to get her back into the buggy. I’m fairly certain I saw the entire shop heave a collective sigh of relief as I exited.
Oh, Christmas. Christmas was a bit of a funny one this year, unfortunately not the funny ‘ha ha’ kind. I’ll start by making brief apologies as this isn’t the cheeriest post to kick off with after festivities, but hey, that can’t be helped, your body doesn’t care about what day of the year it is. I’ve thought long and hard about putting this post out as it’s so personal, but I feel that it needs to be done, mostly for myself but also for any women out there who have experienced the same. Let me get to the point, a few weeks ago I was pregnant and now, well now I’m not. They say that writing can be cathartic, I’m hoping that’s the case for me.
Wow. I mean, wow. I have just spent a ear ringing, slightly deafening hour and a half at soft play. I’ve got that mild tinnitus feeling, a bit like I’ve been clubbing. I went to the same venue a few days ago at the same early time when it was sunny, and it was quiet and dare I say, calm. The same place today however, with it raining outside and it had a different, somewhat anarchic feel to it. Everyone clearly had the same idea today and within fifteen minutes of the venue opening, I counted about twenty children (admittedly I may have double counted as they don’t stay still for long, do they) As I sat there guarding my latte with one eye on my child (yep, there she is on top of the Wendy house) I started thinking about how crazy and daunting soft play can sometimes be, here are my facts and tips to get you through it.
When my baby was three months old, I felt ready to start doing some fitness again. I run and play hockey, but stopped both completely when I was pregnant, I was itching to start to feel like ‘me’ again. I had heard about Buggy Fit via a friend and thought it sounded brilliant. I liked the idea of having one set weekly task that would get me out of the house for an hour or so. I also liked the thought of meeting some other mums. The classes near me are run by a lady called Anna Coe, so I booked a block of classes and rocked up, feeling slightly nervous at donning my lycra again and the thought of the babe kicking off mid class, wouldn’t that be a pain? I needn’t of worried, Anna put me completely at ease and wouldn’t dream of tutting or rolling her eyes if your baby starts wailing or needs feeding, she either shouts louder or builds in a buggy ‘Stop and lock!’ into the class!
Come rain or shine, Anna always has a beaming smile on her face (possibly because she secretly enjoys making the mums work so hard?!) She’s just the sort of person you need chivvying you along and as a mum herself, she knows what it’s like. You really feel like you’ve achieved something after a class with her and wait until you see her hot weather pink shorts!
I got in touch with Anna to find out exactly how she became a Buggy Fit instructor:
Hi Anna! Tell me a bit about your background?
I trained as an exercise to music teacher 14 years ago after being made redundant but did it knowing that what I wanted to do, was to specialise in ante and post natal training. I started my specialist training within three weeks of qualifying and have loved every minute of it. I actually did a Social Policy degree!
How did you become a Buggy Fit instructor?
I was running my own Buggy and indoor post natal classes but it can be a bit lonely. I joined Buggyfit because the brand name is strong, which helps with marketing and I also get some colleagues, which is good for company and support, but also for CPD – we learn together and from each other, it’s invaluable.
What’s your average day like?
Manic – 4 children aged from 9-17, one who I home educate at the moment and being self employed is pretty crazy! Days include: school runs, driving a fair bit, teaching classes and taking personal training sessions, dreaded admin, teaching my 11 year old daughter, followed by cooking and lots of driving my brood to all their sports clubs which, unsurprisingly I encourage. It’s crazy busy, but I know I will yearn for these days when they are gone.
What motivates you every day?
Seeing mums who have lost confidence, regain it in their bodies and fall in love with the feeling of exercising. Finding the mum who has hated exercise all her life, becoming a bit ‘addicted’ and start coming to three classes a week, loving the way she looks and feels. The mum who comes scared and dreading it, who leaves smiling and happy. The mum who comes in despair with her pelvic floor who I can refer onto someone who can help, and a hundred other scenarios. Who wouldn’t be motivated! Oh, and I have the best office in the world, even when its raining! 🙂
What makes you angry? Something mums get told perhaps or bad advice?
People who give Mums advice who haven’t bothered to find out what Mums need or what is safe. Don’t get me started or you might see my very smiley face turn upside down.
What can women expect from your classes?
Fun, support, never judgement, encouragement, honesty and the very best advice I can possibly give as well as a jolly good workout of course.
How soon should mums think about returning to sport/fitness after having a baby?
When their body’s are ready and not one single second before. Huge amounts of damage can be done by doing the wrong thing too soon. Get the right advice and if in doubt see a specialist women’s health physio therapist. If you are problem free, no running before 6 months post natal and no sit ups ever again – total waste of time and potentially damaging. If in doubt DON’T – get some advice instead.
Do you just run the one class, or several and are they all the same level fitness wise?
We do a variety of classes at different times and locations and they vary in intensity, all details are on the web site www.mumsinshape.co.uk. But questions are happily answered by e mail.
What is the most common complaint, physically, that women seem to have, when returning to fitness after having a baby?
Other than exhaustion it has to be the pelvic floor – leaking is NEVER normal, don’t accept that verdict from a doctor, it isn’t what you have to live with, get help. I am always happy to refer if you need it whether you are a client of mine or not.
Certainly from the classes I attended, you talk about the pelvic floor muscles a lot, this was something never discussed in my mums generation, what’s made us realise this is so important now?
Not being able to live the lives we want to live, we can have what we want but we need the right advice, sadly there is a lot of out of date advice out there. Being able to exercise is not just vital for our own well being, but also for our children. If our children grow up in an ‘exercising household’ it will be normal for them and they will grow up doing the same, we owe it to them like we owe it to them to feed them properly. Never feel that your exercise class or time out to go for a run is at the disadvantage of your child, you do a great thing by letting them see you look after your health, it sets a good example.
What has been you’re proudest moment from Buggy Fit?
The marathon running Mummies are hugely inspirational and I love working with them but my proudest and most fulfilling moments are probably with those Mums who never thought they could or would exercise regularly and become long term exercisers. I could probably go on and on here so I will stop there.
Finally, how do you relax after a hard day of classes?
Hmm, I have to admit that my weakness is a glass of wine but I have to keep to strict rules or it would be just too easy to have some every day!