Today is the first of hopefully a weekly post of reader questions that I've been asked to elaborate on in more detail.
Today's question comes from Marni. " I would love to hear more about how you fit exercise into your schedule. I am also a homeschooling mom and have three young children. I find it difficult to make the time to take care of myself properly with so much to do all day. How do you do it?"
Here's my response.
Are you a home school mom? A work outside the home mom? A mom of many children or just one?
Or maybe you are not a mom and have a busy career that leaves you little time to take care of yourself. No matter your circumstances and life at this very moment we all only have 24 hours in a day. What we have to fit into those hours can be an endless list that leaves us most often carrying over the things that didn't get done today till tomorrow and exercise is usually last on that list.
First you should know some facts about me and my life today:
- I'm NOT a morning person.
- I love schedules!
- I need routine to have peace in my life.
- My "baby" is now 6 so I have more independence.
- I'm maintaining my weight loss.
- I have a gym membership.
- I LOVE to exercise.
- My children/ family activities keep us busy on most nights.
- I get grumpy when I feel sluggish and unfit.
- I have a very supportive hubby who knows if momma's not happy, no one is happy!
In the past:
- We didn't have the finances to allow me to have a gym membership so I worked out my exercise by finding walking buddies that could meet me in the neighborhood. I had to wake up at 4:30 in the morning because of their schedules for work. It was tough to get up that early and walk in cold weather but it was worth it!
- I was determined to lose the rest of the baby weight that was sticking around.
- I was not a morning person, but had to become one.
- My life was busier with small children who were not independent yet.
- I was unhappy with my weight and body and felt uncomfortable in my own skin.
- Evenings were not as busy and I could exercise at night if I didn't get it in earlier.
- Hubby was supportive and pushed me to make time for myself.
So now you know more about my life today and how its changed as my children have grown which allows me more freedom and independence as well. You may be in the stage with young children who, without you can do almost nothing on their own. If that's where you are in life, Have Hope! It is only a season and you can still fit in some exercise in your life.
Here are my Top 3 Tips for fitting in exercise when my babies were small:
- DON'T PLAN TO EXERCISE DAILY. I know this sounds counterproductive but listen to me for a minute. You will be more likely to commit to exercise 3 times a week than if you plan on doing something every day and never getting to it. At least planning Monday, Wednesday, Friday and if you only get in two times that is better than nothing at all. The stress is off you on the days you said you weren't going to exercise and you will most likely make it a priority the following day.
- MAKE A WRITTEN WEEKLY SCHEDULE. You probably have a main calendar with appointments for the family and possibly you write down your menu for the week depending on what activities you have each day. Fabulous if you are already doing those things! The next step now is to look at each day and the week as a whole. If your Mondays are usually difficult after hubby has been home for the weekend and your house is trashed, DON'T expect to fit in exercise on Monday. Pick 3 days each week that you think look promising for fitting in exercise. Look at your week each Sunday to plan again for the next week. Be flexible and change the days according to your appointments.
- ROOM TIME. Every single day my children had what we called room time. When my oldest was the toddler and my second was a baby she would be napping and he would have room time since he was not napping anymore. ROOM time saved my sanity and life as a busy mom! If you can incorporate it into your children's lives now you will be a much happier mother I can guarantee it. It was the same time each day, 2:00 pm and lasted for at least one hour. In that hour while the baby was napping my 3 year old would need to play in his room. At first he needed to rest in his bed with books, and not come out of his room unless he had to go to the bathroom. If he obeyed and didn't call or interrupt during that hour he could come out. If he came out more than 3 times he would need to stay longer. We used a timer since he couldn't tell time yet. It was something he had to learn. He was used to being the only child and playing by himself was not easy for him. BUT HE LEARNED because I was consistently doing it every day even on the weekends unless we were out. As he learned to not come out of his room for that time, I then allowed him to play in his room instead of having to stay on his bed with books. It became routine and when my third child came along my second learned about room time as well. Can you just imagine what you can do in that hour? Whatever you need to do or want to do, except leave the house of course... hee hee! Maybe you could exercise, maybe read, maybe nap, but its YOUR time and you need it! So start today with room time and let me know how its going for you and your family.
Hope these tips help you start a plan for exercise that you can stick with, that is attainable and that makes you happy!
Please comment if you have other tips you can share about fitting in exercise as a busy mother.
Do you have any questions you'd like to know about me, my recipes, or weight loss?
Love these! You know I have a ton of tips! LOL!! I encourage my readers to start small and achieve the smaller goals first rather than the lofty ones!! So if all you can do is 30 min a day for 2 days a week, do that and have no shame! Then work yourself up!
Thank you for sharing Clare! I love your site!
The Better Baker
Fabulous tips! Sometimes I just need to be reminded of the simple changes I should make. Room time is awesome. My kids are all grown, but we certainly made that a healthy (for all!) habit when they were growing up. Thanks for sharing your weight loss tips and for being an inspiration.