Exercise: Making it Work and Not Feeling Bad about It

Typically at 7:00am I throw on a workout and go at it for 30 minutes. Without fail every time I am exercising I have two thoughts running through my head.

A. Am I being Selfish?

B. Moms can totally get a workout in every day if they wanted to.

So, first let’s get to me feeling guilty about working out. While I am working out Wyatt is awake, so I am not engaging in his play time unless he asks, and even when he does I tell him, “Mom is exercising, I can read with you after,” (woof, I always feel bad putting off a book).  To be honest though, I stopped working out when he sleeps because I felt that was precious time when I could be doing something he wouldn’t normally let me do, like a more than 30 second shower or do something on the computer (he climbs onto my lap and touches EVERYTHING). So, now I workout in the morning while Wyatt is awake. I have to stop for a few moments when he tells me he is hungry, or when my workout takes me to the floor and Wyatt decides he wants to take a nap on me or use me as a highway for his cars. In the past I would quickly take him off and tell him I need to finish, but now I just give it a few minutes. Why? Because workouts are going to be imperfect. Plus, how long is his desire to cuddle on me going to last? A couple more years? And let’s face it, I am not working out for a competition. I am working out because it makes me feel good and it is one thing I can pretty much say I have completed every day (because I NEED to feel like I accomplished something everyday in its entirety). I don’t need a super sweaty/perfect 30 minutes workout. I need a smart workout that hits the spots.  To make sure I get this done everyday, it is something I need to figure out how to incorporate into my life when Wyatt is awake. So, am I being selfish? No, I am being smart with my time. Wyatt doesn’t need my constant attention and I personally think this gets him to understand sometimes he just needs to entertain himself. Plus, a finished workout makes me happy. 

So, after I am done justifying why I am not being selfish, I always get to thinking about how really any mom can get this done. Yes, it’s definitely harder if you have a full-time job, or if your kid craves constant attention, but again, we can all come up with various excuses why it is hard or why we don’t have time (I mean I do this for a number of other things in my life). But, if you are willing to have a workout that is going to be interrupted every so often in the beginning, I am sure it can turn into an almost complete workout eventually. It is all just about being realistic with what your life is now. When I first started I had to stop a lot because Wyatt always wanted something or would get himself into a pickle (I started this when he was 7 months and was beginning to pull himself up/walk). Now in the morning I say, “Wyatt, what times is it?” and he says something that sounds like “exercise”. He then points to where my mat is tucked away behind the couch and when I roll it out he likes to run across it or bring some trucks. His interest fades quickly, so by the time I actually need the mat, I can push the trucks to the side. So really after some time I have been able to, “train”, Wyatt into understanding that exercise for Mom is part of the morning routine and so he plays on his own. Make no mistake, there are have been only a handful of perfect 30 minute workouts. If he is cranky, which he is 4 out of 7 days, I will setup a breakfast snack which includes some fruit or his chia bowl, or I will throw on some PBS and chat to him about what he is watching (since my workout is taking place in the kitchen/living room anyway). I know society toots that workouts should be a “me” time activity so you can be mindful of your workout, but let’s face it, “me time" is a precious commodity. Working out is honestly something that just needs to get done. Save the "me time" for something that is actually fun, like drinks with a girl friend, or a getting your nails done, or a solo trip to the coffee shop to read a book. Don't glorify exercising...its not that awesome. Just incorporate exercise into your daily family time.  Again, unless you are training  Let exercise be something your kids get into or simply have it be something they understand is part of a daily schedule. And you might feel guilty you are not engaging with you kids, but guess what, chances are that half hour you wouldn’t have been engaging with them the whole time anyway. You would be cleaning, or puttering around, or scrolling through Instagram, or something else that really could wait. Plus, exercise is the easiest thing for us to say, "no", to. You aren’t going to say “no” to a pile of dirty dishes, or a full laundry hamper that has all your underwear in it. Those things you “have” to do, save for the end of the day because you know you will get it done no matter what.

 Because a bent leg turns into the best bridge

Because a bent leg turns into the best bridge

So be flexible. Literally and figuratively. Adjust. Make it work. Exercising isn't really fun (maybe if you are comparing it to cleaning your bathroom). But fitting into your clothes and feeling good in them is really nice. Plus, you can eat a treat every so often and not even feel guilty about it. Just make it happen Mama. You will feel so much better. Promise.