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You've prepared for the birth of your precious baby(ies), and your bundle of joy is finally here. Now what? Know you're not alone! Kate Vošta, Postpartum Doula and Owner of Mothering Momma, discusses what it looks like to hire a postpartum doula.

There are so many wonderful resources for pregnant women and their partners to prepare for birth – prenatal Yoga, prenatal water aerobics, childbirth education (Rebel Birth, The Bradley Method, Hypnobirthing, etc). While all of these are extremely beneficial and birth is a MONUMENTAL moment in our lives, the birth experience almost seems short-lived in comparison to the postpartum season. An immense amount of attention is placed on our birth experiences and often the postpartum season is completely overlooked.

So, you made it through the 20+ intense hours of labor and are now holding your perfect baby/babies in your arms. Congratulations! Now what? What do the next 20+ hours look like? The next 20 days/nights? Weeks? Months? How have you prepared for this period...

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When we grow our families and add a child or children to our comfortable life as a couple, it's easy to make them the center of our world. But it's just as important to continue to nurture your relationship with your partner. Here are some useful tips from Brandi Tarver, LPC, LMFT, Certified Gottman Therapist, and Fit4Mom Clear Lake member.

1. Continue to date. You were not always mom and dad and it’s important to remember that. Finding time to spend away from the children to stay connected is important. Go out and discover new places/activities that you can enjoy together.

2. Talk! With all the technology we have today, it’s so easy to get swept up in the cyber world. It’s important to sit down with each other daily and talk about the stressors and events outside of your relationship. This helps each partner feel understood and important. Some people say, “I don’t want to bring home my stress.” Well, the reality is you still do. At least sharing what went on will help your partner be more empathetic to your...

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School’s out for summer! That means long days of swimming and fun, but also soaring temps and humidity. So we all need a smart plan of attack to stay safe while we get strong. Here are some of the things I’ve learned in the past few summers as a fit mom living in Houston.

1. Keep your expectations in check.

The heat and humidity drive up your heart rate. You have to work harder to keep your body temperature within a normal range, so you don’t have as much in you to push yourself. I notice every year that my running times go way up in the summer and it always freaks me out a little. But don’t get down on yourself! Know that when it starts to cool off again (and I promise it will, even if it seems like you’ll be hot for the rest of your life) your performance will get much better and you will feel great.

2. Get your workout in early.

We move our Stroller Strides classes from 9:30 to 9:00, and even that half hour change makes a big difference in the “feels like” temperature at class time. If you can’t get in...

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Sweaty Mama

One of the most common questions new moms have is how they can workout while breastfeeding safely and easily. Here are a few tips I've learned through my experience nursing two babies and living an active lifestyle.

1. Find an awesome bra.

Nursing moms often need larger bras than they are used to wearing, and great support is essential to comfort. Local running stores (like On The Run in our area) are a great place to try lots of different bras. Make sure when you are trying sports bras on that you go through the motions you plan on doing during workouts. Jumping jacks, running, and pushups are a few I always try. My personal favorite bra for nursing is the Fiona bra by Moving Comfort. I love it because the straps have velcro so I get enough support during my workout and I can easily undo the velcro to provide easy access to my baby.

2. Stay Hydrated.

Water is incredibly important to keep your body working well and to producing milk. If you notice that your baby still seems...

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Want to try getting out with your family a little more? One of my favorite things to do is a walk after dinner. It's not always easy with crazy schedules and sometimes cranky kids, but we try to do it regularly. Here is one way we keep the walks new and interesting. We call it a coin walk and here's how it works: every time you reach a corner, flip a coin. Heads means keep going straight, tails means turn. If you land on tails, flip again to see which direction to turn. Heads means turn right, tails means turn left. We usually end up walking a part of the neighborhood we don't see every day and it keeps our three year old excited to keep going. Eventually we call the game off and make our way home.

Happy walking!

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Fairy House

I am far from being a "pinterest mom." I'm not organized or artistic. And while I do have fairly creative ideas sometimes, the execution of those ideas is almost never what I would consider worthy of a blog. But in the interest of helping everyone realize that your kids don't care if your art projects are perfect, I've decided to share the activity I did with my two year old yesterday.

We were watching some Tinkerbell movie for the eleventeen-thousandth time when I decided we could make a fairy house like the little girl on the movie. I asked if she wanted to, and she was so excited she couldn't wait until the end of the movie to get started.

Since she is still so little, she needed a lot of help with this activity but it was still very fun. I did most of the work but she made the decisions. Here's a step-by-step of what we did.

First, we ventured into the garage and she chose a box out of our giant pile that's waiting to be recycled. Then we went out in the backyard and collected things that might be useful.

Once we had everything together I...

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This past week I asked our Body Back participants to write a letter breaking up with habits, things, or behaviors that are holding them back. Just like a bad relationship, we often put up with toxic things in our lives long after they have become a problem. Here are the letters they wrote:

Dear Processed Foods,

Sorry, but I will be limiting/cutting you out of our eating. As easy as you are to prepare for lunch/dinner, you are no good nutritional wise. I will be setting aside more time into cooking, so I can cook healthier options for my family. We are wanting to live a healthier life and it can't happen if I continue to eat you!

Dear Disorganization,

It's time for me to let you go. I would like to say that our time together has been fun, but I can not. You have caused me too much stress! I need to be able to find my keys when I need them. I need to organize the garage (so we can actually fit a car in there). I need to stop forgetting to pay my cellphone bill. I need to put things away at the end of the the day, so the house isn't a disaster area...

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Hey you - the mom who let her kids watch tv for 2 hours today – the mom who didn’t get her workout in tonight – the mom who yelled at her kids instead of taking the time to understand why they were throwing the blocks at eachother – the mom who ordered pizza for dinner – the mom who spent hours on Pinterest instead of simply making a decision and finishing the project – the mom whose kids are up an hour past bedtime because you just don’t want to fight with them.

I have news for you. You are NOT lazy. You might be tired, distracted, starved for “me time”, or lacking motivation. But you are not lazy. Did you hear me? YOU ARE NOT LAZY. If you were lazy, you wouldn’t care about all the things you aren’t getting done. You wouldn’t even notice the chaos, let alone feel guilty about it! So stop using laziness as an excuse to beat yourself up. And if you were really lazy, I guarantee you wouldn’t be doing the amazing things you do every day.

We can only do so much in a day and we HAVE to include our own needs in all of our plans. If we overschedule and don’t care for...

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Have you ever had to make a decision that tore you apart? Something that you knew was the right course of action, but you were afraid to say it out loud?

I made one of these decisions a few weeks ago. It took me a long time to admit to myself what I needed to do, and even longer before I was able to tell anyone about it. I am usually a pretty open book and talk about everything with the people in my life, but for some reason I had to work up the courage to even bring the subject up with my sister.

What could be so hard?

This January, I will NOT be running a full marathon. I’ll be doing a half instead. I know for most people this would not be devastating. I know a normal person would look at the situation and make the logical decision. I know that this year my heart wasn’t in the training, my body is tired from all the other exercise I do, and my free time is scarcer than ever. I know I’m doing the right thing, so why does it break my heart?

1. Running is a HUGE part of my identity. Long before I was a fitness instructor, I was a...

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Dear Hannah,

I love hanging out with you. You are funny, sweet, and smart. Your hugs and your smile fill the room with joy. We talk all the time and you go almost everywhere with me. But you are not my friend. You are my daughter and I have a huge responsibility to guide you to your best. I will not encourage you to do things that aren’t in your best interest. I won’t expect you to tell me everything that goes on in your life, and I won’t look to you when I need deep emotional support. Here is what I will do:

I will teach you to view yourself with the same love and compassion that I do. I will teach you this by having love and compassion for myself.

I will teach you to forgive mistakes made by you or others. I will do this by being honest about my own mistakes, apologizing when I need to, and doing my best to fix the situation. I will also listen to and accept apologies from people in my life.

I will take you to church and share my views on the bible stories. I will point out the lessons of love in our religion. I will teach...

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Yesterday I reconnected on Facebook with one of my best friends from high school. He was the kind of friend who really got me. I have no idea how many tears I cried on his shoulder or how much time we spent just driving around not doing anything. He was unconditionally supportive and didn’t have that need to fix everything.

I have looked for him a few times over the years on Facebook and he just wasn’t there. Then yesterday he just pops up and we start chatting. We spent several minutes doing that exciting/awkward/interesting chat you do with people from your past. Are you still living in Denver? No, I’m in Houston. You? South Dakota. It looks like you have kids now. Yes, me too. Then he had to leave, but he asked me one more question. Are you as happy as you seem? And I replied without hesitating: I am. Really and truly. He said something along the lines of that’s awesome and sent his best wishes. I told him to be well and said goodbye.

What happened next took me off guard. I started thinking about happiness. I knew that my answer wasn’t a lie....

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I've been thinking a lot about growth recently. I have decided that watching growth is my absolute favorite part of my job. I get to watch the babies grow into awesome kids, I get to watch the moms grow into stronger happier people, and I get to watch our village grow into something incredibly special. It is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day of life, especially as a young mother, but it feels great to take a few moments to think about how all of the little things we do every day lead to huge changes in the long run.

There have been a few things in my life bringing the theme of growth to mind, but the one that really got things started was a text message I got from a friend and client this morning. She's on vacation and keeping up her activity while she's away. Here's what she sent me "Just finished a walk run ran all down and flat parts about 3 miles. Rocked it!!! Much easier than with 50lbs of kids. Sorry for bragging just proud of myself" The picture she sent with it was a smiling, sweaty mama who just looked so happy. I can't even begin to describe...

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