One of the hardest habits for me to establish after having kids was regular exercise. Before kids
I had several reasons (ahem…excuses) for not being able to exercise and every one of those excuses revolved around my kids.
Problem 1: Mom Guilt!
This was my absolute biggest issue! I really thought I would be taking my precious time away from our little ones. Looking back it seems rather silly that I let the idea that I would be taking something away from them by spending 30 minutes to an hour a day
Understand that it is NOT selfish to take care of yourself! How can potentially living a longer, healthier life be selfish? If anything, you are GIVING your kids the gift of a healthier mom. Dump the guilt!
Problem 2: Too Tired
Having three kids
I made a commitment to myself to doing something active every day. Nothing too strenuous because I was so tired and out of shape, most of the time we would just walk around the block for 20 minutes. After sticking with it for a couple weeks I slowly started having more energy throughout the day, kind of like Newton’s First Law of Motion. Soon I was ready for a more challenging workout.
Also, once I cut the junk out of my diet my energy levels went through the roof.
Problem 3: Needy Kids
I really wanted to exercise at home. Dragging 3 little kids out to a gym several times a week just wasn’t feasible. I knew I wouldn’t stick to it. I also realized that by the time I got my children ready and drove to the gym 30 minutes away I could have already been FINISHED with a great workout at home.
The problem was that the kids ALWAYS needed something the moment I would get started exercising or they would all of a sudden start fighting with eachother! This drove me a bit batty at first but I realized it was more my fault than anything. Up to this point I had never expected them to entertain themselves, nor wait for anything else and I was always hovering over them being a referee.
I started implementing an independent playtime every day. I started with 10 minutes at a time and would tell them to play while I go do the dishes or something and to please not interrupt. Making them play outside and allowing them to get their own exercise in the backyard with trampolines or swing sets by The Outdoor Play Store, or creating their own outdoor games, will entertain them for a long period of time, which will allow you to get your exercise in. If they played nicely and didn’t interrupt me I would reward them with storytime cuddled up on the couch. After each successful independent playtime
Then I put together a box of toys that they were ONLY allowed to play with during their indepenent playtime and I would change out the toys often. Just be sure the toys are not messy and require little supervision (no million little pieces type toys or play-doh).
I also started ignoring their little squabbles to give them a chance to figure it out themselves. If the rivalry escalated I would step in but most of the time the situation would diffuse itself in a few minutes. At the time our kids were 2, 3 and 4 and they really understood what was expected of them.
Lesson learned, little kids are much more capable than we sometimes give them credit for!
Problem 4: Early Risers and Poor Nappers
I prefer early morning exercise but it seemed that no matter how early I would get up our littles would soon follow. Then, of course
I actually ALMOST gave up on the whole idea of early morning exercise because of this. But, I am sort of stubborn so I decided to experiment with a few things before I threw in the towel.
If anyone woke up early I made that part of their morning BORING. No shows, no toys, no electronics
I never really figured out the whole nap thing. Maybe because they would sleep 12 hours at night and really didn’t need a daily nap. I don’t know exactly, I just decided that if they were in good spirits during the day I was okay with them not taking a nap.
I do have to add that my kids were not infants at this time so I felt comfortable expecting a little more out of them and not jumping to tend their needs the moment their little feet hit the ground. I believe that an infant’s needs come before our own.
There will be times that things just don’t work out the way you want them to.
That’s life really. But like they say… if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em! On the days that I can’t get in my normal exercise I do something active with the kids. Here are a few things we enjoy doing together.
- Have a dance party (great rainy day activity).
- Go for a nice walk around the neighborhood or at a local park.
- Play soccer or kickball together.
- Kids against mom races. I give them a headstart and see if I can outrun them.
- Play on the playground with the kids (I only do this if it isn’t too crowded).
After getting back into shape my friends started asking for me “secrets.” As we would talk they would tell me all of their struggles and these were the top complaints. It was nice to know I am not the only person that struggled with these things and that I was able to overcome them. I hope to
*Disclaimer: I am NOT a medical professional of any kind. You should always consult your medical professional before making lifestyle changes. Nothing on Expedition Motherhood is to be construed as, or a replacement for professional medical advice!*