This is one area of my life where I can honestly say that while I'd like to be doing more, I realize that realistically with two small children and the chaos of life, that I'm doing as good a job as I can and I'm proud of myself for that. Sure there are women, even moms, who get up at ungodly hours to get their workouts in more often, but with inconsistent sleep schedules and unexpected night wakings at times, I'm not an early riser at this stage of my life and I'm ok with that.
All that said, getting to the gym is not always easy, but it is a choice. And, even when I do get there I sometimes have to lower my expectations. Take today for example.
Scott is working until 9 p.m. and worked until 8 p.m. last night so I knew I needed to get out of the house today, and a workout seemed like a good option. My gym (Fitness 19) has childcare in the mornings, and while it is not ideal to take the girls (for obvious reasons) there are days when I'd like to get a workout in and I know my choice is to take the girls or not do it at all. So today I took the girls. Here is a brief synopsis of what it entailed:
- After breakfast I ran upstairs, put my gym clothes on, then came down, put my boots on and went out to scrape the snow off of the car and start it so that it would be warm (it was 19 degrees out).
- I grabbed clothes for Ava and Ella. Laid Ava's on the floor and asked her to take her jammies off and get dressed while I dressed Ella.
- Ella of course had a poopy diaper which she HATES to have changed, so while I changed a screaming baby's diaper, and managed to take her jammies off and force a onesie, jeans, socks, sweater, shoes and jacket on her, Ava managed to put her shirt on backwards and pull her pants up but they remained unbuttoned.
- I fixed Ava, wiped the remaining breakfast off her face, asked her to put her boots on and strapped Ella into her carseat.
- I packed a water bottle for me, plus my sneakers ( I was wearing boots because it was so yucky out), a sippy cup for Ella, crackers for Ava, an extra diaper, wipes, my headphones, and money for the nursery into the diaper bag.
- As I carried the carseat to the car I realized Ava had her boots on the wrong feet, but it didn't matter at this point. I got both girls in the car and to the gym.
- I took Ava's boots off (no shoes allowed in the nursery), took Ella out of her carseat and bid goodbye to them both.
Now, the last time I brought the girls to the gym my brother, who works at the gym, stopped me on the treadmill 20 minutes into a 30 minute interval workout because Ava was demanding to use the bathroom and there was only one childcare worker, so I needed to take her. Today didn't go much differently. I finished 25 minutes of cardio on the elliptical and one arm exercise (I was hoping for 10 more minutes at this point) when one of the trainers came over and told me that my daughter was screaming in the nursery...
Let's cut to the chase here... That was the end of my workout and now I needed to dress two children, including a very whiny and red-faced toddler and get them back into the car, while people are staring at me (probably thinking, "Glad I'm not her!").
So I got into the car slightly frustrated and wishing mommyhood were easier and that it didn't infiltrate ALL parts of my life so deeply sometimes, but then, for some reason, I just decided to rephrase the conversation going on in my head and determined that I was thankful for having gotten in the 35 minutes of working out that I did. It was a choice I had made to get out of the house and do something for myself, and while it didn't go exactly as I had expected, I did get to workout today.
So, the nugget of encouragement that I'd like to share is to at least make the attempt a couple of times a week to do something physical. Maybe it's to just walk by yourself outside, or to go for a 20 minute jog. So many things seem out of my control at this stage of life, but when I'm on the treadmill or the elliptical I feel like I am taking control of some small part of my life and that makes me feel good.
Here are a couple of other things that help me make it happen:
- Mix up the time of day. No one time is super convienient when there are small children involved, so I mix it up and it seems to work out well. I try to go once a week in the morning before Scott goes to work (at 7 a.m.), at least once on the weekend when time is more flexible and once a week at night after he gets home. This way I don't feel the pressure to get up every morning (that would be daunting) or to go every night when I'm exhausted (that would be impractical), but by mixing it up it seems to work out. If those times don't work out, I take the kids once or twice a month and leave them in the nursery.
- Lower your expectations. If I told myself I had to run 3 miles every time I went to the gym, I wouldn't always go. Somedays I run 3 miles and somedays I walk on the treadmill on an incline. On the days I'm really tired I tell myself I just need to walk for 20 minutes and I take a magazine to read. I usually end up doing more than that, it's just getting over the mind games to get out of the house!
- Buy yourself some workout clothes and keep them in one specific place. Nothing is more frustrating than getting ready to go workout and not having anything to wear. I have a drawer full of sports bras, socks, pants and shirts and I keep them in the same place so I can grab and go. On the nights I know I will be working out the next morning I grab my clothes and put them on the bathroom counter so it is one less thing to think about.
- Get an MP3 player and download some good music. My music is what helps me to pick up the pace; I even have a techno version of "We Will Rock You"!!
That's all I have...a word of encouragement a few simple suggestions that work for me. So, if it is something you've been thinking about, find a way to MAKE IT HAPPEN! It is one of my measures of sanity and it will help make you feel better about your post-pregnancy body (believe me, mine has needed work!).
Good luck! And let me know if you find things that work well for you, especially as a mom.