The New Mom Workout Plan

I have so much to catch up on.  I promised a post on Elisabeth’s modeling job.  I never even mentioned our Hong Kong trip.  And oh yeah, Damon is home for a few weeks, and we spent the last week exploring Tokyo and Hiroshima.  So yeah, there’s a bit to write about.  But I have a much more pressing issue to address.

Yesterday I was exchanging emails with a few friends, when one of them (I’M LOOKING AT YOU, KATE), wrote re: my blog, “Post more, please…isn’t your baby like, napping leaving you SO MUCH TIME to do blogging?”

I would like to answer that question with a resounding NO SHE IS NOT.  MY BABY IS A NON-NAPPING FREAK OF NATURE.   In fact, I have nicknamed Elisabeth, “The Child Who Does Not Nap,” or “TCWDNN,” but only to myself.  It gets a little wordy in conversation.

I have a feeling Kate was being facetious (she did, after all, end that sentence with an emoticon sometimes denoting lighthearted teasing), but perhaps other readers are wondering the same thing.  Why isn’t Diana blogging?  Shouldn’t she have oodles of time to write while her sweet little baby sleeps the day away? 

Okay, probably no one is wondering that.  But still, I would like the record to show: Elisabeth is a nap-hater.  I wish I could instill upon her how precious these naps are, how one day she will regret wasting the opportunity to sleep freely all day.  But no.  She’d rather torture me.

I am not exaggerating when I write that her typical nap lasts on average 25-30 minutes.  That’s it!  That’s all I get, folks!  Sometimes, they are even shorter.  Worse than her naps being ridiculously short, getting her to nap zaps every iota of energy from my body.  It sometimes taken over an hour to get the girl to sleep.  I assure you, she is tired.  But she’s feisty.  And she fights sleep.  Rocking, nursing, singing – it’s all useless.  (To be fair to TCWDNN, my singing is probably not the most soothing sound from which to drift into a peaceful slumber).  Point is, I spend more time getting the kid to nap than she actually sleeps.

Her non-napping not only prevents me from blogging.  It also prevents me from several other normal activities, like exercising for example.  When I was a very new mom, naive and un-jaded, I assumed I would just pop in a workout DVD every day while the baby dozed for a good hour or two.  That’s what babies do, right? Well that was not to be.  But I’ve found a solution to both the napping and the exercising problem!  Hold on to your hats, this is big.

As I discovered, the most effective way to get TCWDNN to sleep is usually whatever is the most physically uncomfortable for me.  Perhaps you other moms can relate.  Elisabeth particularly calms down when I launch into full-on sumo squats.  One day, just as my legs felt like they were about to fall off, it dawned on me: I could get Elisabeth to nap AND sneak my workout in.  Kill two birds with one stone.  Genius!

I’ve developed a routine below for any of you other frustrated mothers.  Remember that I am not a certified fitness instructor.  Please consult your doctor before beginning any fitness routine, especially one that risks you swinging your baby across the room while doing wood chucks.  Please also hum Kanye’s “New Workout Plan” to yourself while performing the below exercises.


-Warm up: Hold screaming Baby close to your chest.  Walk up and down stairs for several minutes.  The more flights the better.  This should reduce Baby’s screams to a soft cry and get your heart rate up.  If you don’t have stairs, sorry, you are out of luck.

-Sumo Squats:  Squat until Baby’s soft cries turn into a whimper.  Remember, you’re holding a very heavy baby (at least in my case), so the added resistance will mean your legs will burn sooner.  Go with it.  Burn it out.  Keep your back straight, core sucked in, and don’t let your knees go over your toes.

-Side Twist with Resistance: (Just to clarify, the baby is the resistance.)  Keep Baby close to your chest, and twist back and forth from your core.  Repeat until Baby’s eyes flutter shut.

-Rest:  You may think that because Baby’s eyes are closed, you’re done.  What kind of workout would that be?  Just as you’re about to place Baby into the crib – BAM!, she’s up.  Time for a cardio burst.

-Cardio Burst: Repeat stair-walking until Baby’s screams die down again.

-Side Squats: Start with right side, and repeat until Baby reaches the slight-whimper level.  At this point switch legs until eyes flutter shut.

-Wood Chucks: You know better now than to think Baby is actually asleep.  Keeping a firm hold on Baby, squat down to one side, and as you rise, twist to the opposite side.  Keep your core tight.  ALWAYS KEEP YOUR CORE TIGHT.  Repeat on one side until you feel your oblique is about to burst, and then switch.  By the time you feel your other oblique is about to burst, Baby should be legitimately asleep.  Ending with this up-and-down movement will trick the baby into staying calm as you lower her down into the crib.

Cool Down: Collapse on the floor and cry sweet tears of relief that your child is actually asleep.

Granted, this workout does not solve the nap-duration problem, but you can’t win ’em all.  At least you’ll have nice thighs.*  And if anyone would like to produce the DVD, call me.  I’ll start working on my perky aerobics instructor voice.

*We are going to try sleep training (again) very soon.  Even nice legs aren’t worth all my mental faculties completely shutting down, which I’m pretty sure is going to happen if Elisabeth continues to (not) nap as she has been.



  1. Diana, I LOVE your blog, and especially got a kick out of this post. Until you find a producer for that DVD, might I suggest you YouTube it? I’m pretty sure crying (but adorable) TCWDNN and hot thighs mommy would go viral.

    I hope you’re doing well! <3

    • Sara, I love that idea! But fortunately (or unfortunately, for YouTube), I’ve actually got Elisabeth sleeping much more easily these days. But if we ever do have a relapse into bad sleeping habits, I will definitely film this. Thanks for the idea 🙂

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