Five years ago, I thought I was busy. I was growing my fitness career, fitting in my own workouts, spending time with my husband, taking care of the day-to-day household duties such as making dinner and grocery shopping, and going on fun adventures such as backpacking and camping. Then, I added ‘mom’ to my job title.
If you’re a mom, you understand the challenges of raising kids, keeping up a household, being a wife and if you’re part of 70% of moms who also work outside of the home, you’re also pursuing your career. Whether you have family nearby to help you out, or if you have the added test of being a single parent, being a mom can be challenging.
Fitting in time for you is not easy; but what’s much more challenging than the logistics of making time, is the ‘mommy-guilt’ that lingers when you put your own needs first. Giving into the guilt eventually takes its toll. Years of constant giving can result in burnout, fatigue, weight gain, and unhappiness for ‘letting things go’.
If you find that you sacrifice taking care of yourself for the sake of your family, pay attention. You can, and you deserve to have it all. You can have the career, the quality time with your kids, dates with your husband and the fit body. You just need to kiss the mommy-guilt good bye.
There are two very important reasons why, as a mom, you must take care of yourself:
1. Taking care of yourself- that means getting regular exercise, nourishing your body, and doing things that make you happy (such as reading a good book, or connecting with a friend over coffee)- will make you a better mom. With the extra energy, you’ll be more equipped to handle the day-to-day challenges of motherhood. You’ll be more patient, understanding, and be ready to play.
2. You’ll be a positive role model for your kids.Kids learn by observing- and there’s no better way for them to learn healthy lifestyle habits than to watch their parents. At an early age, your kids will learn that exercise is a part of a daily routine, just like brushing your teeth. I feel proud when my son Jacob asks me if I am all done my exercise, or when he joins me for a set of push-ups. Instead of feeling guilty, be delighted that you can be an example of good health to your kids.
Now that you have good reason to kibosh the guilt- fitting in a workout can still be a challenge. Here are a few tips and tricks to get your workout in:
1. Schedule time into your calendar. Just like a dentist appointment or meeting, your workout time needs to be planned. If you have trouble keeping accountable to your workouts, a workout partner or fitness coach can help keep you on track.
2. Shorten your workouts. With a well-designed workout, you go from warm up to stretching in less than 30 minutes, and get results.
3. Remember that ANYTHING is better than nothing. I have fallen prey to the ‘what’s the point of working out when I only have 15 minutes’ mindset. Then I remind myself what I would tell my clients. Any amount of activity is better than nothing.
4. Workout during your kids’ activities. While you likely want to watch your child’s activities from time to time, it’s also the perfect opportunity to fit in your workout. You can swim laps during your child’s swim lesson, or go for a run during dance class.
5. When you can’t go at it alone, make it a family affair. Kids love to move. From a family bike ride, to a game of chase at the park, to a dance party in your living room, enjoy being active with your kids. You can also try out other options such as mom and kid and mom and baby fitness classes.
Instead of feeling guilty for not being Super-Mom all the time, be proud to be a fit and healthy mom. By taking care of yourself, even if it takes time away from your family, you’ll be a better mom, and a positive role model.
I wish you a very happy Mothers Day!