But as a mom who exercises with her baby in tow—including yoga—I know those picture-perfect shots are lucky. I also know that everything from a baby deciding to raspberry your belly while you’re in Savasana pose, to spit-up that literally falls into your open mouth while holding your baby above you, can quickly disrupt all of that zen. And that’s fine. Integrating your baby into your fitness routine—or any other part of your life—isn’t about creating an illusion of flawlessness. Parenting is filled with flawed moments—or unflawed—depending on how you look at it. (Is my cup half-full or am I halfway towards no longer having a good excuse to still be in this coffee shop?)
I’ve decided to integrate my baby into most of my life, for better or for worse. It’s not always Instagram material, but it’s real life. My mommy-and-me activities have included:
Toilet time. When I saw the photo that recently went viral of a mom peeing while nursing a baby, at first I didn’t even get which part of the photo was controversial. I’ve only nursed my baby while peeing once (maybe twice?), but I’ve certainly brought her into public bathroom stalls more times than I can count. What else am I supposed to do with her when I’m out and I have to go? While we’re on the topic of mommy-and-me toilet time, I actually had to squat in the woods recently and pee while wearing her. I’m not sorry.
Nursing on the go. I was hiking yesterday with my baby strapped to my chest and she was hungry. I didn’t have time to stop so I just pulled out a boob. I felt bad for her because I was disgustingly sweaty, but it actually worked, kind of, for a little while. I thought for a second about what I would say if I encountered anyone else on the trail, but I didn’t care enough to formulate a plan. Free the nipple indeed, I say!
Grown-up socializing. Most of my friends don’t have kids, not yet anyway. And I don’t bother with a babysitter unless I really need some baby-free time or the event I’m attending is particularly baby-unfriendly. Usually I engage in a good deal of mommy-and-me socializing, grown-up style. Whether it’s a coffee date with a friend, a drink at a bar, or live music, the baby hangs out with us, charming baristas, bartenders, and band members every step of the way. It’s not without its bumps—she’ll swipe any drink within reach off the table—but it’s one of the ways we spend time together, mostly for the sake of convenience.
Appointments. Sometimes things would be a lot better if I had a babysitter, but it doesn’t always work out that way. Not too long ago I had to have 20 minutes worth of X-rays done, and I didn’t have anyone to watch the baby, so I brought her with me. If that sounds ridiculous that’s because it is—babies can’t be in the X-ray room. I parked her in the stroller in the adjacent room where the techs did their work and let her be.
You know what? She’s pretty much always fine with these types of alternating mommy-and-me activities, and when she isn’t so fine, we just roll with it. I might not capture it on Instagram, but I won’t pretend she never bulldozes my bridge poses.