Making time for exercise as a Mom is tough. If you are a working Mom, you have to make time in your crazy busy day that you probably don’t have. If you are a stay-at-home Mom, you don’t have 5 minutes alone to even use the bathroom before a tiny human needs you for something. Let’s face it, as Moms we take the brunt of child rearing duties even if we work full time. So when we need time for ourselves, it’s difficult to find.
My journey into fitness started after my first child was born when I realized that the “baby weight” which had collected on my thighs wasn’t going anywhere, no matter how many times I looked up fitness motivation on Pinterest. Eventually I found a Mom based fitness program that was kid friendly, and because I was desperate for Mommy friends and a smaller circumference, I started going daily. That’s when the magic happened. My kid and I became workout companions. Now, 6 years later, I still workout daily with a kid in tow (now my second child). Here is what you need to know about making time for fitness when you are a Mom.
They are watching you. My second child was attending fitness class with me as soon as I was cleared for exercise after birth. Now at 3 years old, he knows basic yoga poses and understands that fitness is a part of our daily life. Sometimes he joins me on the mat or runs a few laps around the gym as I warm up. Think about your own childhood – did your parents make fitness a priority? How did that shape the way you see exercise?
Don’t let your kids dictate the time you make for movement. Obviously sometimes you can’t work out – a sick kid, or an important issue at work. However, if your child doesn’t “want” to go to the gym, or is “bored” while you do a video at home, show them it’s not an option. When you make your fitness time non-negotiable, your kids will learn that exercise is just as important as any other appointment.
Squeeze it in! Are you driving around town dropping kids off at various activities after school? Feel like you can’t make it to the gym because you are a freaking taxi driver?! Throw your shoes in the back of your car and go for a walk or run while your child is in gymnastics class. Even if you only have 20 minutes before you have to pick up the next kid at basketball, get your movement in for the day.
Don’t sweat the small stuff (just sweat!). Every day with kids looks different as they enter new stages of life. If you have small children, they might want to sit on your back during downward dog while you attempt to get through your yoga video. If you have older kids, they might insist on stopping every 3 minutes on your nightly walk/run. Let go of your idea of the perfect workout and just focus on moving daily. Let your kids get involved, everyone will benefit.
Making time for fitness while trying to have a career, raising a family, and participating in your community can be challenging. If you change your mindset and view movement as a daily medication, a non-negotiable appointment, and an important part of your life, you will suddenly see that you can find an extra 30-60 minutes per day. Even if your kids are with you – which is sometimes even better!
Carley Walker is co-owner of HIIT Like A Girl, a kid-friendly fitness program located in Winchester, VA.