Sunday, April 19, 2015
Balancing Fitness and Mommyhood
I have been asked a lot about my routine and how I balance fitness and taking care of three small kids. Most days, it is not easy.
I could wait until my husband is home from work and ask him to watch the girls while I get a workout in (which I do occasionally), but I really enjoy having our evenings as "family time," and I would hate to take up time working out when I know I could be spending it with my husband and kids.
One way to avoid an evening workout would be to workout early, like, "before-the-kids-wake-up" early. However, I am not a morning person...at all. I have slowly transitioned myself from waking up at 9am to waking up at 6:30am, but just because I am up does not mean I am ready to get moving and grooving with a workout! I need coffee, some time to reflect and do my morning devotions, and just enjoy the only peace and quiet that I will likely have all day. For me, that is just as important as working out. It puts me in a good place mentally, which is necessary for me to improve physically.
"So...when DO you workout?"
Well, the not-so-structured answer is whenever I can fit it in. Optimally, I aim to do it when 2 out of 3 kids are napping (My almost-4-year-old no longer takes naps...sigh). This happens to be around 2:00-3:00pm. Not the most convenient time of day, but for me, that is the time when I can really focus. I don't have to worry about who needs to potty, my 7 month old wanting to nurse, who took what toy from whom...you get the idea.
There are occasions when my kids are working on a craft/activity or playing really well with something that I know will take up some time, and I will attempt to get my workout in earlier. I love when this happens because I have more time to get cleaned up and ready for the day, and I don't have to rely on dry shampoo and body spray to fool people into thinking I showered when I didn't (Sorry to shatter the glass on that one, friends. It's a cold, hard reality when you have three kiddos).
With the weather warming up, another way that I stay in shape is to take 2-3 mile walks almost daily. Sometimes I walk in the mornings with the kids once they are done eating breakfast, doing their daily "lesson," and cleaning up. Other days we walk as a family in the evenings. I pretty much take the weekends off to let my body rest, but we will likely still walk at least once. Getting out and enjoying the outdoors gives me a sense of peace and grounded-ness (Is that even a word?). Not only that, but the Vitamin D from the sunshine boosts my mood and dissipates any stress I may have at the time. It's good stuff.
The bottom line answer to balancing fitness and mommyhood is that there is no answer. Life with kids is crazy and awesome and hectic, and you just make do with the little time that you have to yourself. You know when you have windows of time to do certain things (clean, scroll through Facebook, watch your TV shows), and when fitness becomes a priority you begin to spend that free time working on your health instead of those other things. It's all about what is important to you.
Personally, I have gotten to the point where I love working out because I love how it makes me feel. Not only does it release those good ol' endorphins, get the blood flowing, and release icky toxins, but it makes me happy to know I am doing something GOOD for my body. Any progress I have made is because I've worked for it, and I have worked hard.
My kids are learning the value of being healthy and taking care of their bodies, and that is priceless.
Just remember: You DON'T have to go nuts. You don't have to be a crazy fitness fanatic. Just make small changes over time and I can promise you, you will look back and realize that you have changed your life. Those little changes that you think aren't really adding up to anything? They are making all the difference in the world.