Fitness & Exercise
7 Ways for Busy Moms to Make Time to Exercise
For the first time since my daughter was born (nearly 2 years ago) I have made up my mind to start working out again. The kick in the jiggly ass came from a few things, the first of which was a comment from a friend that I was whining to about the fact that I don’t/can’t run anymore because my daughter hates the jogging stroller and throws her shoes off when I run. His response was, “The don’t put shoes on her when you run.”
Who knew a childless man could give good advice? Anyway, somewhere around the same time it also occurred to me that, there is a chance I may not be able to remain fully clothed (or remain contained in Spanx) every single second, of every single day for the rest of my life, and that perhaps it’s time for me to stop making excuses and to start running.
Here’s how I did it:
1. Housework comes second.
When I first had my daughter, my brother-in-law gave me one of the best pieces of advice, saying, “There is no point in cleaning before the sun goes down.” Two years into motherhood, I’ve concluded that he is 100% correct.Cleaning when a child is around is just asking to have the house messed up two minutes after you are done. So instead of saying, “I can’t run because I need to clean the house”, I step over all of the toys sprawled out around the house, grab my toddler, and throw her in to the jogging stroller, and go.
2. Take them with you.
As a single parent, there is no one to turn to and say, “Honey, can you just watch her while I go for a run?” Which frankly, sucks. A lot. But thankfully there are some amazing jogging strollers on the market that allow you to take your kid(s) with you. (I have the Bob Revolution and I love it). I am going to keep it real here folks, jogging with a stroller is much more difficult than jogging without – but I try to view it as part of my training.
3. Accept all offers of help to watch the child while working out or if someone is visiting you – excuse yourself for a quick run.
I have the most amazing neighbors in New York City. Not only do they have two wonderful little kids, whom my daughter adores, they also offer to watch my child so that I can go on a run alone every now and again. And I finally started accepting their offers. Also, if friends or family ask to come over and see Ellie, I say, “Sure! And do you think it would be cool if I ran out for a quick jog while you guys play together?” It’s one of the benefits of becoming invisible after you have kids – no one really wants to see you anyway.
4. Picture the finish line, and what it will feel like to get there.
I keep reminding myself that when I started training for my first half-marathon, I wasn’t able to run a mile without stopping to catch my breath. But with a lot of focus and determination, 13.1 miles and a few months later – I crossed that finish line. When I am feeling “lazy”, I picture that finish line and recall how I felt when I ran past it, and then I am able to push myself a little harder. I am determined to run another half-marathon in March.
5. Be the change you want to see in the world.
There is some debate over who actually said that quote, but that doesn’t really matter. Here is what does matter…parents are their children’s greatest role models. If you want your kids to know the importance of exercise, then be the example you want them to follow. I love that when she sees my sneakers now, she tries to put them on my feet and says, “Mommy run!”
6. If you can’t do it all - do some.
No time for a 60-minute run? Do 30...it all adds up and it doesn’t have to be all or nothing.
7. At the beginning of the week, look at your schedule and set reasonable goals.
From my daughter’s classes to the arrival of her two-year-old molars, to having to stay at work until midnight t - I accept that some weeks are much crazier than others. Because of that, I try to set really reasonable goals based on what my week looks like, and then achieve them.
What motivates you to work out?