Hudson Valley Parent

HVP September 2017

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18 Hudson Valley Parent n September 2017 By ROBIN HOFFMAN W hen I found out I was pregnant again, I felt like my world was spinning out of control. I had to do something to make myself feel better and to stay sane enough to handle nine months of pregnancy while taking care of an energetic toddler. Gaining control through exercise During the second or third month of my pregnancy, after the morning sickness had passed, I made a promise to myself that I would exercise every day. When I started, I would just walk one mile every morning. Soon it became two miles, then three and by the time I was 30 weeks, I was routinely walking four miles a day. What I found out about myself is that pregnancy is a hard time for me. Giving up control, sharing my body and embracing the unknown are all things that scare me significantly. Exercise helped me feel in control again, even if it was just an illusion. I could think, clear my head, release any anxiety I was holding onto. I could just breathe in the fresh air and forget about the challenges, even if it was just for an hour. Unlike my first pregnancy, where I spent endless hours focusing on the arrival of the baby, this time around I focused more on myself. I didn't read baby books or research strollers or attend baby classes. I trusted that my instincts would take over. It felt more important to connect with myself and remind myself that I mattered too. I need to feel healthy in order to be the best mom I can be. And for me that starts with be- ing emotionally calm and in shape enough to handle labor and delivery with grace and ease. Reality check The transition from one to two children has been the hardest challenge yet in my life. My daughter, Lola, is now five weeks old and my son, Rex, is almost three years old. Though this baby isn't nearly as high needs as my son was, honing my ability to juggle two kids, plus running our household feels almost impossible. Perhaps the biggest struggle is finding time for myself, which is something that I became very used to having when I was pregnant. Even with Rex running around, I was always able to find time for myself. A week before Lola was born, I was chatting with a friend who already had two kids. I boldly said, "How hard can it be to take care of another small person? Piece of cake!" I wish I could go back in time and give myself a reality check! Learn as we go I am a firm believer that our chil- dren are our teachers and that we learn from each of them. We grow as they grow and together we be- come a family. My kids have taught me to embrace the moment, no matter how tired I am. I'm learning that letting my son eat an ice cream treat at 5pm before dinner is okay. Having piles of dirty laundry for a few days is okay too, especially if it allows me more time with my kids. I guess, in many ways, I am learning to not sweat the small stuff. There is nothing more powerful than living in the moment and there is no bet- ter opportunity than parenting. Finding myself, one step at a time Even though motherhood has left me feeling a bit lost, I enjoy finding the new me in all of this, even if I can't see her right now. I know I'll come out on the other side as a better, happier and more fulfilled woman. Motherhood is like any other journey. It isn't about the end result, it's about enjoying the steps along the way. Robin Hoffman, a Los Angeles transplant, lives in the Hudson Valley with her partner and two young children. She enjoys writing about her triumphs and tribulations as a parent. A mother's journey How exercise and raising two small kids helped one mom find herself After giving birth for the second time, Robin Hoffman, quickly learned that raising two kids is anything but a piece of cake. (pictured above Rex, 3 years, and Lola, 2 months)

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