August is the month of women. A very important lady in the Montagu family is the beautiful Motlagae Mary Mutlanyane. She shares her story and the top three health tips for young moms.
Just three months postpartum, Mary has already braved the saddle to finish a 100km marathon and another 21km race. She’s a mom, an athlete and a proud Montagu ambassador. She tells us to remember that it is all about the healthy habits that you can create in the season you are in. We are all in different places in life and if we find ourselves in a space that isn’t quite where we want to be, the best thing to do is begin.
We wanted to find out from Mary, how she does it all…
Tell us about your experience as a mom:
I’m a mom to a toddler aged 3 and a 3 month old baby. Being a mom has taught me that there is no right or wrong way to raise my children. Motherhood has changed my outlook on life. It’s no longer just about me, but two little humans who depend on me with their entire life. This commitment on its own is flooring. Since being a mother I have had to restructure my life in order to accommodate the demands and changes that come with motherhood.
For example, when I didn’t have children my helper used to work for me during the day only. Since I became a mother I had to employ a live-in nanny. Based on my experience as a mom, I advise other mothers not to be too hard on themselves. You are doing your best. You should never lose yourself in motherhood and you should remember who you were before the children. Motherhood has been the most fulfilling and rewarding role. By just watching my boys, my heart becomes full.
It’s always good to have a sounding board, someone to go to when you are in doubt or unsure of anything. We also need to share and encourage one another so I’ll share my top three health tips for young moms below.
Top health tip for young moms #1: How to get back into the swing of things
My advice to you is: don’t stop exercising during your pregnancy and jump back in as soon as you are able to after. It’s not easy but it’s worth it.
Two weeks after baby was born I went back to running. I had a natural birth so it was easy to run again so soon and I had been running throughout my pregnancy. I thought it was just going to be a struggle but to my surprise it was a strong run. I started with the 6kms and built up from there. Three weeks later I was strong enough to run an 8km and after four weeks I was strong enough for a 10km. At exactly 8 weeks was running a half marathon. The longer distance was tough as I had last run a long distance a long time before falling pregnant. By the time I reached 15km I just wanted to quit, but I kept going and kept telling myself if I have to walk the remaining 5 or 4 km’s I would do so.
I went back to gym exactly a month post birth. It was so hard at gym as my core was weak. It took a few visits to the gym to get back into the swing of things. A month later I started to get the gym groove back.
I started cycling again also a month after birthing. My first ride, which was 63km, wasn’t hard at all. I knew this had to do with me cycling 20 weeks into my pregnancy, half way through.
Top health tip for young moms #2: How to get your diet back to normal and shed any extra kg’s
Again I say, try not to change your healthy ways to unhealthy ways during pregnancy. If you do gain some weight, get right back up on the health wagon as soon as possible.
During pregnancy, like any other expectant mom, I was worried about weight gain because I viewed the nine months as a long period during which to nourish, grow and not only look after myself but the little human I’m carrying too. I tried to remain eating as healthy as possible and also thought, should I pack on a few kilos during pregnancy, I’d deal with those postpartum. The first trimester was the hardest as I was often feeling nauseous and was hungrier. I never allowed myself to succumb to my cravings. I was as healthy as I could be after the first trimester. It all got better in the second trimester and the rest of the pregnancy.
My diet is pretty simple. My mornings are made of a bowl of oats or rice cake/rye bread with eggs. Come lunchtime I have meat/chicken with veggies/salads. This is usually what’s left over from the previous night’s dinner. Or I opt for a low-carb wrap.
Dinner is a cooked meal being vegetables or brown rice with beef, fish or chicken. I stay clear from things like pap, white rice, potatoes and pasta. The only starch I’m happy to eat is sweet potato.
I snack in between my meals. My morning snacks are usually fresh fruits, yoghurt, wheat-free rusks or a simple health bar. My afternoon snacks are made of Montagu nuts, dried fruit, biltong, and sometimes I spoil myself with low-GI popcorn.
Top health tip for young moms #3: How to balance (or rather juggle) it all
Routine, routine, routine, communication and support. I have created a routine that works for me based on my daily activities. My full time job, motherhood, studies, a household to maintain and school runs, wasn’t easy to balance at first but once I got the hang of it, it became manageable.
It became easy after incorporating everything I can handle in a day. My day is practical and simple. It starts with a morning run at 5am, then off to shower at 6:15, get ready and leave the house by 8am to drop off my toddler at preschool. I knock-off at 4:30 then rush to gym from 5-6pm and get home and cook after 6pm.
Communication with your partner is vital. Make them aware what you can or can’t handle. I’m able to do all I do in a day because I have the capacity to. However, there are times when I have to miss a race or training because I need to be home with my children.
There is no set formula to juggling and balancing it all. I simply do what works for me and am able to get it done. Nothing works wonders like a set routine.