My alarm goes off at 4:20. I reach for my phone lying on the bedside table and immediately text my neighbor. The message usually says something like, ”I’m getting up. Be outside in 10 minutes.”
When really, I stay lying under the covers praying she either doesn’t respond because she slept in or she responds saying she’s too tired.
It is a daily battle in my head to get up and go for my run. I know that while I’m running, and especially when I’m done, I will feel so good both physically and mentally for the rest of the day. But that initial step out of bed is the most difficult part about exercising for me. The second hardest part is finding the time to workout. I have one tiny little 45 minute window from the moment my REM sleep ends with my alarm to when I have to get back home in order for Daddo (my husband) to leave for his gym workout. That’s it. 45 minutes.
Parents who work outside the home and have kids activity schedules and other obligations have very little time for exercising. And with all the latest and greatest fad diets and weight loss ‘techniques’ it’s easy to throw in the towel on exercising all together. I mean it’s so much easier to just take some pills with your meals, or cut out all sugar, or nix the carbs completely, or that latest idea, wrapping your body to decrease the inches. All of these work in their own way I’m sure or else why would anyone be doing them? But when it comes to long term mental and physical health, exercising and being active is the best way to get fit and stay that way. And it’s definitely the all-natural way.
Besides finding the energy to actually get through the workout, it’s super important to find a time that you are able to consistently workout 3-4 times a week for at least 30 minutes. Getting on a routine will help you stick with the exercise. Try to do the same time each day. Exercising shouldn’t be another activity you have to add to your already crammed-full calendar. It needs to be part of the normal routine. It’s not an event.
This is my biggest challenge. I am what I call a ”stingy working mom.” That is, for the time when I’m not at my job, I want to be with my kids. I don’t crave girl time, or date nights or any other activities away from them. I turn down grandma offers to watch them while I get groceries or go to an older one’s ball game. I want them. Those four little people bring such crazy joy to my life, I don’t want to miss any more than what my job and other adult obligations already pull me away for. So I choose my small window of opportunity when my kids are sleeping. I do this in the morning. Others who are stingy with their kids like me, may choose the post-kids’ bedtime late night workout. For Daddo and I that has always been our quality time… You know for watching tv that’s not cartoons, for actually finishing our sentences or for sneaking in a bag of popcorn or extra snack. If we didn’t have that time together just being us, then we wouldn’t have any time during the day for each other. Not a minute. I think that would be more unhealthy for our marriage than not exercising!
So I guess in order of daily activities it’s #1 Being with my kids #2 Quality time for TV and finishing sentences with Daddo and #3 Working out. It’s down on the list, but it still happens. And yes occasionally qt with the D is first priority too.
Some people may like to use their workout as their unwind time immediately after work to help ease their tension and make them happier parents before they see their kids for the evening. Others may use that super convenient ‘lunch break’ hour to run a few miles or get in some gym time. Everyone has different needs for making the workout routine run smoothly with their career and parent life. Once you choose your workout window, stick with it. Make it part of your morning work routine. It’ll last longer that way.
As moms, we want the best for our kids. We would love to give them everything. But the most precious of gifts you could give your children is your health. What you do now to stay healthy, will make growing older a lot easier both physically and mentally. Used to when I’d hear on the news about someone turning 100 years old or older, I’d think, ”yuck who would want to live that long and get THAT old.” After having four children, I can’t help but think of my long life ahead filled with so many grandchildren and (gulp) great-grandchildren. I want to see as many of them as I can. I want to be apart of all of their lives as long as I can. That’s one of the best gifts we can try to give our kids. Just being there, for a long time.
Allergies are killing me. I’m super tired from a week of 3rd grade tutorials, 3 soccer practices and 2 baseball practices and I just want to set my alarm for 6 instead of 4:20. But seriously what’s the extra hour and a half of sleep? My kids will be tucked away in bed not missing a thing. I might as well lace the sneakers and hit the pavement while I can. I’ll feel better for it later.