If you are a Mama, then I'm almost positive this topic is something you've been challenged with figuring out. You want to be fit but finding time for anything outside of sleep, eat, work, and care for children is tricky when you are a Mama. Gone are the days when you could hit up the gym for hours on the elliptical. Gone are the days when you had no responsibilities outside of maintaining yourself. And finally, gone are the days when you actually had energy at 8pm to get your booty off the couch to begin a workout. Okay, maybe I'm speaking to myself on the last one but dang I'm tired by the end of the day. Here are some ways you can ACTUALLY get fit and find time to exercise when you are a Mama.
1. Shift you focus - I know, I know... you want that lean, rocking, pre-baby, teeny-weeny body. But, to be honest, you look better now. You have curves and look like a woman. So first off, find peace and give grace to yourself because your body was put through 10 months of glorious torture to produce that baby. Shift your focus to wanting to be healthy as opposed to skinny or thin. Also, Focus on growth not goals. When you set goals to be fit as a Mama, they can sometimes be accidental diminishers. This means, you often give up quickly because you feel so deflated when you don't get your 3 to 5 workouts in a week. How do your jeans fit? How do you arms look and feel? How is your mindset? Are you seeing growth? That is what will ultimately provide contentment.
2. Track It - I love tracking the steps. It is a motivator for sure. No one likes to look down at a pedometer and see that they have only have 2,000 out of the 10,000 steps for the day. It encourages you to move more in general. While it may seem contradictory to the statement above, when I said to focus on growth not goals, it really isn't. By simply tracking how much you are moving, you'll have an instant accountability partner. If you are like me and my husband, we are both ultra competitive. We invested in some FitBits and they have a sweet app that allows you to compete with each other. We've never been so helpful to one another. "No, I'll go get the wipes in the basement!" (Because I'm secretly getting more steps in than you!)
3. Be Creative - Your workout may not be the traditional "head to the gym" exercise routine. It's time to get creative and stop caring where the workout lands. There are Mommy and Me dance, yoga and other workout classes at most gyms if you are set on getting there. This would be a way to include kids and get rid of the mom guilt of leaving them behind. You can workout in your living room with your kids hanging around. I know I've told you this before but we turn on the music every day and have a dance party. My kids think [high knees, jumping jacks and scissor runs] are new dance moves. There are so many ideas for easy to fit in exercises on Pinterest that you can do in your home or at the playground. Check out my board "Own Your Body Mama" by clicking the black button below.
4. Sneak Around - If I need to practice self care and get away from the kiddos for a bit, I sneak out without letting them know I'm leaving. We already feel guilt about everything, so by not letting them know you are leaving, you can avoid the meltdowns. You can get a 25 minute workout in and leave them behind with Dad. 25 minutes will not make or break whether they think you were present in their lives. I promise. So, give up on the Mom guilt and get the quick sweat session in.
5. Wake up early - If you can't get over leaving them(I totally understand), it is a good idea to wake up for your kids not to your kids. Set your alarm to wake up before they do. I know, you are already tired but trust me, if you wake up a few minutes before they do each day, you will set your day off right! Find your center. Do some quiet yoga, or meditation in the living room. This may be just the exercise you need to set the tone for the day and allow for better decision making.
It's not a magic pill or formula to get fit when you are a busy Mama. But, if you get creative and understand that you can take a little time for yourself you'll be in better shape. Own your mom life and recognize that you deserve the little time it takes to get a workout in.
If you like what you read here, you'll love our upcoming podcast. We will be covering this topic in more depth in one of the episodes. Stay tuned!