Congratulations Mama! You are now cleared to ride after almost a year. I know you are bursting with glee. This is a big day in your new post-partum life. Your body has changed, your life has changed, and you have a kid depending entirely on YOU. But at the barn you can be yourself again, feel like the old you before the baby. You got this. No biggie! Or is it? Yes, you will remember how to ride but how things have changed.
You need to do you
As new moms we all experience “mom guilt”. We have that nagging voice in our head telling us if we leave the little at home we are a bad parent. I’m telling you. Go spend some quality time with another warm body that isn’t crying and physically cannot puke on you. It is good for your soul and for your family; someone else can have some baby bonding time.
So you have this tiny baby at home that depends entirely on you. Yes, this thought is going to cross your mind, A LOT. Don’t beat yourself up for taking a step back in your riding career. Ride because you enjoy it, because it helps with your physical and mental state, because this is YOU time. Stop comparing yourself to others or worrying about what they think. You have to many other things to think about.
Suit up Sista
Okay, so you finally managed to sneak out the door. It took you two hours to get ready to be gone for an hour – welcome to Mom life. I hope you remembered that things down there are not as they once were. So my advice is, suck and tuck. Padded bike shirts with the high waist are a must, along with a bellyband or a work out corset. This helps suck your abs in, supports your back and reduces jiggle.
Muscles on maternity leave
So the first ride is AMAZING, until your muscles realize they need to get back to work. They will, it just will take some time. Cross train when you can; walk, push the stroller, baby wear, find cool videos on good ol’ Google with moms doing work outs with their kids. This is a fun way to get fit again with your baby. Don’t get down on yourself, you might not be the same but you will realize that your body is amazing and resilient.
Barn baby, barn
My mom calls it “healthy dirt”. It is good for kids to be exposed to all things barn. Farm kids are healthy kids, so take the little along with you. With a practice you will turn into “Wonder Woman” at the barn. It will go something like this; get the little one fed, plop them in the stroller, tack up as fast as humanly possible, push baby while leading the horse out to the ring. Pray the baby is still asleep or entertained. Get on and do what you can as fast as possible while holding your breath the baby is content for a half hour at most. Feel accomplished! You got to sit on you horse. Baby starts crying, end of ride.
Baby wearing is the key to life
So the first baby (the horse) may not be as demanding as the new baby, but they still need to be taken care of like the prince and princesses they are. So my advice is, baby wear. Invest in the best baby wearing apparatus you possibly can. Get one you can wear the baby on the front and back, one that will grow with the child. I LOVE my Tula, if I need to can still wear my three and 5 year old. My kids lived on me. I got very skilled at mucking stalls, cleaning tack, feeding, leading (yes, my horses are saints) and tacked up while wearing my “Velcro” child.
At the end of the day this is a phase. They are going to get older and it will get easier. The important thing to remember is that you need to take the time to be a person, not just a mom.