Motherhood can ROCK YOUR WORLD in so many ways; mentally, emotionally and physically. There are numerous imbalances that are the by-product of motherhood and while we could discuss for months every imbalance, let's chat about the physical imbalances...namely the muscles of your core. Most moms hold their baby on one side of their body so they can do other things with their dominant hand. Most of the time this is not even a conscious choice; we just do it to get things done! The result is that we start creating muscle imbalances-while one hip is hiked to brace holding your child, the other side stays in a lengthened position. This imbalance can start leading to compensations in other musculature and pain in the hip and/or back can occur. The reality in motherhood, as well, is that our physical roles don't change as our children get older, however, our children get bigger which increases this imbalance.
So, what can we do? Simply put, be conscious of switching sides when you hold your children. I know it sounds impossible, but this simple task will start bringing the body back to neutral. Another tip is for moms pushing double strollers; switch the children every 2 weeks or so. If you push your stroller with the bigger child always on the same side, your body will start compensating and pain can occur there, too.
The last tip is to bring some exercises into your routine to help with core strength and stability. Practice these 3 movements daily to keep your body strong and stable for motherhood:
1. Plank-On either your knees or toes, and hands or elbows, hold your body flat as a board. Start with 10 secs and see how it feels. Gradually add in 5 seconds at a time as you build strength.
2. Oblique Crunches-Lay on your back and cross one ankle on the opposite knee. With your hands behind your head, lift one shoulder off the ground to the opposite knee. Keep the elbows wide and lead with the chest.
3. Side Stretches-Place one hand on your hip and the other straight up from the shoulder. Lean to one side and then to the other. This is especially important on the side you hold your child on the most to actively elongate that side.
Being aware of the way you physically move through motherhood can be such a huge first step. You will start to see patterns and ways to move differently to protect your body instead of hurting it. That's what we all want, right? A strong capable body to help care of our children.