If you're anything like me, you know other than cooking, reading, carpooling, tying shoes, cleaning little bums, the majority of your time is spent cleaning up after those tiny humans. I feel like sweep and re-sweep the dining room and kitchen at least 15x a day. And toys? Too many times to count. Even though my oldest is about to be four, he still needs constant reminders and guidance to pick up after himself and as good as a job as he does, he's still only four which means I still do a lot of the cleaning.
Between sweeping and picking up toys, that's a lot of strain on the low back if one is not careful. Constant bending over can cause muscle strains, increase your chances of herniated discs, and prevent you from fully healing from a diastasis or pelvic floor issues. Continue reading below to find out simple ways to improve ways on cleaning with and after your little ones.
1. Teach Them At An Early Age To Help Out - cleaning with your little one's doesn't have to be a big task. I've learned if you make anything fun, they are more willing to do what you ask of them. Have them see who can put away more toys first for the older kids. For the younger ones have them grab one at a time and bring it to you (less bending for you).
2. Learn To Let Go - I used to have the need to have the place spotless before the kids went up to take their naps. But lets face it, where are they going to be after they wake up? That's right, back in the living room playing with the mess they started before they went to snooze! No need to give yourself extra work, wait until they are done playing before actually cleaning up for the night.
3. Get Closer - to the object and to the floor. The further you are from the object the greater the lever arm and the greater the strain on your back (watch the video below for example).
The biggest impact you will have on your postpartum health and healing is your POSTURE. Learn to engage the deep core muscles, strengthen for endurance, and keep an upright posture in your daily activities. What's the point of going to PT and learning a bunch of strengthening exercises only to sabotage your results by slouching on the couch, tucking in your butt when standing, and lifting poorly? Exercise takes up a very small percentage of your day and it's great to do to keep an active and healthy lifestyle, however using postural muscles correctly to live every day will have a far greater impact on your results.
Sigri Reyes, PT, DPT is owner of Bump Fit Physical Therapy. She is a women's healthy physical therapy specialist and pre/postnatal exercise specialist. When she is not helping mother's heal from the demands of motherhood, she enjoys watching sports with her husband and playing hide-and-seek with her 4-year old and 22 month old boys and her German Shepherd.