You’ve probably heard the saying that you can’t fill someone else’s cup if yours is empty. Or how about the airplane advice that to help others, you need to put on your oxygen mask first. This same advice rings true for busy mothers who want to exercise.
As a busy mother you are probably thinking, but how can I fit another thing into my schedule? And isn’t making time for myself to exercise, a selfish motive? Be assured that a healthy mom is one of the best gifts that you can give your family. Also, by being fit, you are going to have so much more energy to accomplish more, sleep better, and not be sick as often. You may even dodge that flu bug that goes around each winter if you are in better shape.
Ok, so maybe I’ve convinced you, or maybe I haven’t yet. So, you ask, how do I fit exercise into my already jam packed schedule of running a household? You fit it in just like you fit in other important daily events. Schedule in your time just like you would plan in lunchtime with your kids. Schedule it in, commit, dedicate yourself to it, and before you know it what seemed impossible to fit in will be a daily habit that you look forward to.
For me and many moms I talk to, both working outside the home moms and those that stay home, morning is the best time to commit to a daily exercise routine. Before unexpected events come up and need our attention more, get it in and get it done. My routine as a mom living on our family farm goes like this. Feed animals first, then go for a run in my field every morning. I wear a GPS so I don’t have to count laps or run a particular course. I can watch our house and where my 12 year old daughter sleeps from every angle of my course. I take my livestock guardian dogs with me because they love this time and look forward to it every day. I wear an iPod with my favorite music on some days days and other days I listen to the meadow larks give their morning praises to God. This is what works for me. It’s individual and fits my needs, and works with the resources I have (a field), and works for my family.
You Can Still Watch Your Kids
So you might be thinking, I don’t have a field to run in while I keep an eye on my house, or maybe your kids are too young to leave even for a second. You have to do what works for you and make it happen. When my daughter was younger I took her with me every day in a baby jogger. As she got older, I ran small circles around where she played at a local park. You may also be thinking you don’t want to run. That’s ok too. Pick an exercise of your choice. How about an exercise video that you can do while still being right there with your kids? There are many options out there. I like BeachBody workouts. My 87 year old father does a Beachbody Tai Cheng workout everyday to help him with balance and muscle strength, while I do one with my daughter everyday that includes either cardio, upper body or lower body strengthening, plyo or yoga.
It Helps Your Kids
Another huge benefit is that exercising is going to wear off on your children. Did that feeling of selfishness wear off yet? When your kids see mom getting fit and having more energy, they are going to want to emulate you. Kids want to imitate and be like mom. You’ve seen it from a young age. That’s how they learned to talk, by listening and watching and imitating adults talking. The same hold true for exercising. Everyday when I walk back in my house after my morning run, my daughter is waiting with the TV screen on and DVD player ready to go for our 30 minute DVD workout that we do together. She also has wanted to enter and run a local race I run. Being a runner, I’ve run the 100 mile, 50K and 18 mile trail races of our local Big Horn Trail Run that finishes just 6 miles down the road from us. Well, three years ago at age 10 she wanted to run the 18 miler with me, so I ran it at her pace and we’ve now finished 3 Big Horn Runs together, one for each of the last 3 years. Believe me your healthy habits will rub off in a good way on your kids. It may not be a trail run. It may be a plank you do each morning or push ups, or whatever they see you doing, they are going to want to join in and try it too. When you see your kids doing planks on their own or with you, it will be a moment of gratitude.
So let’s stop reading about the benefits and let’s get started. Pick a goal, pick a time of day, and just do it. It may be hard at first establishing a routine. And exercise may just be plain hard. If it was easy everyone you meet would be fit. But you are not everyone, you are a mom who wants to be the best version of you that you can be. Once you get this new routine turned into a habit you are on your way to a healthier you, a healthier mom, healthier spouse, healthier co worker and a healthier friend to those around you. You may want to take a photo before you start and record your weight if you are interested in weight loss or write down how many push ups you can do. Then take a photo a month later, test yourself again on the push ups and marvel at the changes. You can do it. I know you can.