Hi, sweet friends. I’ve received this question many times over the past few weeks: As a mama of 3 kids, how do you find the time for a workout??
First, I want to make something clear: I don’t FIND the time. I MAKE the time. It sounds trite, but it’s so true. If I wait for an opening in my day or the “right” time, a workout just isn’t going to happen.
Because working out is imperative to my sanity – especially now – I make the time every day. Some days are easier than others.
Also, I know that I’m lucky to have a space in our home that is dedicated to working out. I’m thankful for that every single day. I urge you to make a space were you can move. It doesn’t have to be fancy.
I hope this helps!
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MAXIMIZE NAP TIME.
This one is a no-brainer, but I have to say it. Since the baby is the only one who still naps, I try to wait to workout until I put him down for his first morning nap.
This can be tricky, since he’s not yet a reliable long-napper. His naps can be anywhere from 40 minutes to 2 hours. So, I get everything and everyone ready to go before I put him down. That way, as soon as his head hits that crib mattress, I’m off and into the gym.
WORKOUT IN THE MORNING.
Everyone is better in the morning. I’m more motivated and historically, if I wait to workout until later in the day, it’s not going to happen.
Also, my kids are happier in the morning. They’re generally not over-tired yet and they’re also not sick of each other, which means they’re more likely to play well together.
BRIBES, BRIBES, BRIBES.
I’m not above a bribe. (Like, EVER.)
I have a Treasure Chest that is filled with random toys and goodies. The girls get to pick from the Treasure Chest once my workout is done.
If that doesn’t work, chocolate always does. (Also: a good workout > the guilt of chocolate in the morning.)
Also, iPads. Always.
Sometimes bribes grow old and I have to get creative. The other day, I told my 5 year old I would hire her as a “big girl babysitter” and pay her $1 to watch her baby brother as I worked out. (Don’t worry – they were both in the gym with me.) She was a horrible babysitter (I definitely overpaid) and sat on her iPad the whole time, but she was a good helper – every time I would shout an order to get the baby another toy, she hopped into action.
I’ll take it.
DITCH THE GUILT.
When I’m working out, my NUMBER ONE goal is a workout. That means there is absolutely no room for mom guilt.
And to clarify, that doesn’t mean I don’t FEEL mom guilt. It means I feel it, and then remind myself that this is MY time to be healthy.
OK, I feel like this one needs to have a HUGE asterisk. I’m not about a mama + me workout. I have a whole lot of time with my kids – my workout is about a time WITHOUT them.
But, if I’ve tried everything and it’s not working, I will include them in the last 5-10 minutes of my workout. This doesn’t work if it’s a treadmill workout, but for a bootcamp, yoga or strength workout, it generally works.
Sometimes, even though I pull out all of the stops, nothing works. But, that doesn’t mean I don’t workout. It just means that my workout is a shit show.
The girls fight over a toy they haven’t played with for 2 years. The baby wakes up from his nap early. Someone comes to tattle on the other one. And then there are those damn Barbie clothes. (I’ve changed Barbie’s clothes more times than I can count while on the treadmill.)
The other day, every single time I slowed my treadmill down for a recovery in between intervals, my 3 year old came and asked me if I was done. When I responded with “Not yet,” she broke down and threw a huge fit. This happened approximately 12 times.
KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE PRIZE.
The goal isn’t a peaceful workout or the best workout of your life.
The goal is a workout.
KEEP AT IT.
The more consistent you are with your workout schedule, it’s likely the more your kids will get the hang of it.
My girls have come to expect that when mama is in the gym, I’m not going to be doing a whole lot for them.
If you have a bad workout today, don’t let that deter you tomorrow.