From first steps to first bites, transitioning into motherhood can often be tough on mama’s health, especially in that first year. Because we believe in Spooning, no matter what size your spoon, we spoke to Little Spoon founder and mama Michelle Muller this Mother’s Day. She breaks down motherhood myths, “me time,” and the health motto that keeps her grounded.
Michelle, take us back to your first year of motherhood. What were some of the most unexpected challenges or greatest successes in that first year? How did you prioritize staying healthy?
My first year of motherhood was unique to most women’s experiences as I was only 23 years old when my first son was born. It was incredibly lonely since I was the first of all of my friends to have a baby and my family all lived in either Texas or California. I ended up developing what I now know was postpartum depression (but at the time, not many women were having open dialogue around their experiences). Clearly that was an unexpected challenge - getting through that first year felt like a great success! It felt like a fog lifted around my son’s first birthday and everything started to feel manageable again.
Eating for 2 can be difficult. From crazy cravings to balancing vitamins -- tell us about how you stayed nourished while pregnant.
I’ve always been passionate about food although I made a big shift after moving to NYC in my early 20’s. I started asking questions around where the food I ate was coming from. I stumbled on the Union Square Greenmarket around that time and befriended several of the farmers who sell at the market, learning about all the ways that foods impact our bodies. When I became pregnant, I couldn’t get my hands on enough helpful information - I was constantly researching on the best possible fresh foods to eat in order to best nourish my growing son.
One point I made was to eat food from as many cuisines as possible. Mother’s amniotic fluid takes on the flavor of the foods we eat, and baby naturally gets a taste. That said, I made sure to have every cuisine under the sun. My kids are fantastic eaters so I’d like to think that played a big role in setting them up to be adventurous eaters.
Describe what was going through your mind the moment you first learned you were going to be a mom.
It’s been SUCH a long time, it’s hard for me to remember now - my oldest son is turning 12 at the end of the month! How twelve years has passed is beyond me! What I do remember is that I was totally completely shocked. My whole world changed in a matter of seconds. I’m one of those women who loves being pregnant so it was a glorious feeling.
Your sons are a little older now -- what have you learned in the last few years that you wish day-one-mom-Michelle knew?
Don’t stress as much. I’ve learned that my kids would learn to swim eventually no matter if they start swim lessons at 6 months of age or 3 years of age. It’s okay to be a little flex on bed time and screen time. I think parents can sometimes get caught up in what they read on parenting forums or groups. It’s important to listen to your own intuition and follow what works best for you. We are all doing the best we can with what we know at the time and not all things work for all parents.
Having three growing boys and a growing business is a feat -- how do you find time to fit “me time” into your busy life?
Exercise has always been a top priority in my life (pre and post kids), so whether it’s in the morning before work, an hour break midday, or a weekend workout, I ALWAYS make time for it. It helps keep me sane so I usually workout six days a week.
As far as other “me time,” I will offer up this controversial tidbit: I’m a single mama so every other weekend, my boys go to their dad’s house. I am 100% a better parent because I get a break every other week. When I’m kid-free, I sleep in, meet up with friends, shop, or go on mini-vacays. It’s my time to hit my reset button.
Last but certainly not least, I set a challenging goal to accomplish each year. It feels good to be pushed out of my comfort zone and also helps me feel a sense of progress as I get older. Last year’s goal was the NYC marathon and this year I summited Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.
Do you have a personal motto or practice that keeps you feeling sane and grounded when life seems out of control?
I remind myself to “enjoy the journey.” We have good days and we have bad days. Everything is cyclical - life doesn’t stay bad forever and it doesn’t stay good forever. Sometimes it helps me to remember that the good times wouldn’t feel as good if we didn’t have challenging times as well.
Looking for a way to spoon with your little one?
Little Spoon is here to (hopefully!) make parenting just a little bit easier by covering your baby’s first bites. Meal plans designed for your child’s needs using over 80 organic, fresh ingredients in a rotating menu of babyblends. Best part? They ship right to your door.
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