Exercise. Yes, we know. It’s no easy thing to exercise when you are a mom. The kids wake up before the sun rises. There are dishes to be done. Laundry to be washed. Errands to run. Work to be done. Books to be read. And so much more. Most moms are so worn out by the end of the day, they can’t imagine fitting in working out into their schedule. I get it. I have three kids with me all day and a husband who works a very busy schedule. I nurse a baby (still in the night) so there is no way I am getting up at the crack of dawn to run through the dark streets. My husband arrives home right when the kids are heading to bed and I have exhausted almost every energy out of my body. My two boys go to afternoon preschool and there is no way that I am using my only two hours of “much needed” quiet time to exercise while the baby takes a nap.
But I am still going to exercise. I have to. It’s one thing that keeps me sane. I have been active my entire life, playing statewide tennis throughout my childhood and finding a love for running in my high school years. After running all throughout high school (as well as playing soccer and tennis), I took my love for exercise with me to college. I joined intramural tennis leagues. I learned how to rock climb. I was a regular member at the college health club. And I always kept running. I ran several marathons in my college years. I graduated college and kept on exercising. I joined a fun adult soccer league and joined health clubs each time we moved, finding a love for group fitness classes. And I kept on running.
But then, life changed! I had my first baby. All that free time went out the window. There was never a time that I didn’t have to worry about taking care of another human life. Working out was harder to fit into the schedule. And then I had two kids and now I have three little ones. Working out, some days, means just surviving the day with two cups of coffee and lots of patience. But today, I wanted to share some of our tips on “sneak” exercise into our busy mom’s lives!
1. Load up the stroller and head out. Trust me, I have had many side glances when I am pushing all three kids in the double stroller on a hot summer day. Make sure kids have snacks, small toys, and at times (even my iPhone!) so there is no whining or complaining!
2. Head to the gym early in the morning or late at night. It takes every ounce of all my muscles to walk out the door after the kids go to bed, especially when my husband is heading to the couch to relax. But after a nightly workout, I feel refreshed and proud. It’s even better if you time it with one of your favorite shows. The time will pass in no time. Also, many moms LOVE their gym day care! But I understand that it doesn’t work for everyone, trust me. I tried it out last month with Abby and she screamed the entire time! I decided to take a “break” from that idea and try it out in a couple months when she may be a little older.
3. Exercise while the little ones nap. This is not my favorite suggestion for you as we all know how precious nap time is to us moms. But some days you do what you have to do. You will feel better after you do it!
4. Lift weights or sneak in a short workout while your kids are enjoying a television show. Trust me, many of us have used television as a babysitter while getting things done. Forget the laundry or vacuuming, sneak in your half hour workout while Clifford plays in the background. We own an elliptical for several years now and it is really one of the best investments that we have made. Both my husband and I use it regularly.
5. Do an exercise tape while your kids are playing. My kids think it is so funny when I pop in a video and exercise right next to them, often they will join in for some of the time. The key to this suggestion as make sure you have enough toys or a new activity to keep them entertained. Pull out toys that you haven’t played with in awhile or bring out the Playdoh.
6. Find a friend and trade kids with them. When I lived in New Jersey, Courtney and I used to “trade” our kids twice a week so we each could get to the gym for a little “me time” workout.
7. Get outside with your kids! Go on walks or take a run with them. We love our BOB strollers and they are used almost daily since we have had them. Our family of five, especially in the summer, heads out for an early morning Saturday morning run! If you aren’t runners or walkers, head to a nature center and go on a walk. Go on a bike ride with them. Kick the ball around the yard with them. Just be active with them.
I know that I will not be running marathons any time soon. I just don’t have the time and energy to adequately train for one. But I can sneak in some daily exercise most days of the week and I know that exercise makes me a more sane and content mom. And the days that I can’t, I have learned not to beat myself up over it. Do the best you can and trust me, it can be done!