If you deny ever having something get in the way of your planned workout, stop reading. You aren’t human! As a mom, I can count more times that my workout has not unfolded as I planned than times that it has. When my kids were little, they could hear the click of the treadmill (why do kids need to have super power hearing?). As toddlers they would wake up early from nap, be sick or climb all over me. It was a never ending barrage of interruptions. Now, work, kids, school events and keeping up with my house can be deterrents to a great workout. So what is a mom to do?
First of all, unless we have a great family support system or send our kids to daycare without running off to work, it takes a brain shift to make working out meaningful and positive when we are juggling life as moms, wives and workers. Waiting for the day that you have a full hour or more to commit to exercise may never come.
When Work or Life Overtakes Your Workouts as a Woman Without Kids
So you have no kids, but, you miss a day at the gym and that can easily turn into 3 or 4 or 1 month! Don't let yourself skip. Even if you have had the worst day at work, make yourself do 5 minutes of something so you can pick up where you left off the next day. You are less likely to experience full on abandonment of your exercise program if you make yourself do a little bit on even the craziest of days.
When You Have Babies-Toddlers
I can remember the frustration…. Sneaking downstairs to workout, getting dressed and starting my routine to hear the cry of a little one. Don’t throw in the towel. Make them happy, get them cozy and exercise in front of them or take a walk pushing/holding them. I would walk besides the stroller doing lunges- forward, back, sideways. Push ups to standing up and kissing them. Take the program you had in mind and talk to your baby as you go. Hold them in front of you and do squats if you can support that added weight with good form. I would even do squats while pumping! Maybe you don’t get in an hour, but you can get in a lot!
When You Have Bigger Toddlers
This was my favorite stage of child development. Language emerging and new physical skills popping up every day. I would do the same routine as above when my daughter was willing to sit in a stroller. If not, she went into the baby swing and I would do squats or lunges between pushes, sprint across my backyard or park between pushes and encourage them to try some basic moves with me. Chase is always a great way to get your heart rate up! Because I was faster than my toddler (yes, that may be the only time in my life I have been faster than anyone!) I would stop and do push ups on my way to get her or monster walk to work my hips. My daughters also loved when I made them an obstacle course that kept them busy for me to squeeze in reps of my own exercises.
When You Have School Aged Kids
Now I have a 6 and 9 year old. “Fishy fishy Cross My Ocean” never gets old! (Hello Pelvic Floor Control!) Plank challenges and dance parties are fun for all! The other night we had a Hoola Hoop Contest and Dance off that was hysterical and a great work out. My daughters love to play “Superman” where I press them up to the sky with my feet while I hold onto their hands. This can be a good leg workout.
The more you include your kids in exercise, the more they see it as a part of life and the more time you can spend together doing something fun. If your plan to make it to the gym was thwarted by life, don’t give up. Even if today is a wash, tomorrow doesn’t have to be.
If you are struggling to balance work and home life, don’t let yourself get crossed off the priority list. Maybe you get in 10 squats and a couple of sprints up the stairs or a set of push ups before you read to your kids before bed. Your body will appreciate the small gestures of acknowledgement and self care.
BOTTOM LINE- DON’T WORRY ABOUT LOOKING SILLY! GET THE JOB DONE!
Ayla and I post hike.
Is a mom of two, life long exercise enthusiast and women's health coach & physical therapist.