Basically, I want to see we moms being HEALTHY, strong, fighting off sicknesses more, able to relax more, finding more patience, yelling less (thank you, Orange Rhino!), and more able to have fun and laugh with our kids than feel overwhelmed by this mother load. I want to see you HAPPY, enjoying the little things, taking time to slow down, feeling content with what you're doing as a mother. I want to see you being YOURSELF. Not caring what others think, not worrying about the tiny things that don't mean a lot in the big scheme of life as a parent. I want you to let go of the mom guilt. I want you to breathe, know that it's all GOOD, and feel great about life.
It's about physical, emotional and mental health, really. They all go hand in hand.
Not EVERY day, don't worry, I'm not nuts, I know we have horrible, terrible, no good, very bad days. I totally get that it won't be easy to accomplish this peaceful state of mind or mothering.
I'm not expecting perfection. You know I hate that word. I'm just hoping that the New Year, resolutions, starting fresh feeling can help you find some energy and motivation to believe that you DESERVE this. You deserve some time to yourself, even if it's once a week.
I think setting small goals is a big thing when you're a mom. So my goal for this challenge is for you to start by once a week finding time to yourself. Start with 10 minutes and increase from there.
I know it seems like a long road, but you can do this!
In this first part of the series, I asked REAL moms on the Facebook Mommy Stories group why they do and don't work out consistently. Their answers are as if they were reading my mind! It's so TRUE everything they said. What I love most is that there are more reasons listed to work out than not to work out. However, I see that for those who don't work out their reasons are pretty BIG like lack of TIME... or ENERGY... those are big ones that are hard to get around. I think it can be done though!
I think it's important to be HONEST with yourself as to why you aren't working out as much as you want to be. Don't just say "I have no time." Ask yourself why you don't have enough time, or if you could be making time that you just aren't able to.
My personal list of reasons why I DO and DON'T exercise include:
- Too tired.
- Just ate so full belly (I get home from work and play with the kids, then make dinner, eat dinner, bath and bed time.... kids in bed by 7, that's a great time to work out but I'm too full from dinner, which would make me want to puke if I worked out right away so I have to wait until closer to 8... which gets late and tired... you see the cycle!)
- I choose to spend time with the kids instead of work out. I have a gym at my workplace that I could use, but some days I just want to get home and see the kids or take them to the playground before it's dark, etc.
- Winter months make it harder for me to get outside and work out, I don't really prefer working out inside.
- Household chores - laundry, cleaning up after dinner, etc. It drives me nuts to ignore it and go work out.
- Work- my job doesn't stop when I leave it. I have emails to tend to, letters and papers to write, things to plan and create.
- TIME. I need more time. If I could work out first thing in the morning before anything interferes with my time, I'd do it daily, really I would. But some days you plan on exercising at 3 p.m. and then someone calls you to come over or you have to pick up a kid early or something and it just doesn't happen.
- Not willing to wake up any earlier. I need my sleep. I already wake at 4:45 a.m. for a busy work day. To work out I'd have to get up at 4 a.m.... I just don't function that early.
- Sometimes I just don't want to exercise. I want to relax, rest, mindlessly scan Facebook, my body aches or is tired, I'd rather sit and talk to husband, etc.
I am pretty routine with exercising from January- September. I love starting fresh in January, not like some people who start dieting and doing these weird routines. I rather like jump starting my health for the winter months to avoid sickness, etc. I also prepare for a 5k race in May and that takes me a few months to do so I start it by February usually. Then after I run the race in May I keep exercising through summer because I don't work in the summers and have more time and energy for it, plus being outside helps. Then fall and winter comes and it's like I have zero time or motivation for it and I slack off again. I do this routine every year it seems! Trying to avoid that next year.
- To run a 5k race.
- To feel strong, like I can carry my children, chase after them, etc.
- To set a good example, so my kids see exercising is fun.
- To decrease sickness. In November my family had about every sickness you can imagine. I vowed December would be different so I pledged to work out "almost every day" in December. I've accomplished that goal and feel GREAT.
- I make it a priority to have ME time. I loooove time alone. I don't feel selfish or guilty for it.
- I love watching silly girlie shows on TV and exercising on the treadmill is my only time for that. Also, the shows are 45 minutes long so that keeps me motivated to stay in the treadmill that long.
- To help me sleep better.
- To be healthy. I'm scared of cancer, heart attacks, strokes, etc.
- To regulate my heavy periods. I have fibroids consistently and exercising helps decrease them and their terrible symptoms. I've noticed a HUGE difference in just one month of routinely exercising in decreasing the symptoms of PMS.
- To manage my moods, patience, and yelling factor of being overwhelmed as a parent. It's SO busy as a parent and tiring. I find if I exercised that morning I'm WAY more patient, laid back, easygoing and stress-free.
- To regulate stress.
- To deal with hard days- working as a counselor with kids with tough lives is hard. I find working out makes those hard days easier.
- To feel good about my body, sexier, like I look better in clothing. I don't care about scale numbers or my weight, never have. I can not lose a single pound but feel 10 lbs lighter after working out.
- I literally get a high that lasts all day long after working out. Love me some endorphins!
- I love running attire. No joke, I looove putting on my running socks and sneakers, hair back and cool shorts. It's silly, I know, but whatever gets you moving.
THANK YOU to all the real moms in the Facebook Mommy Stories group who shared their honest answers for working out or not!
Reasons why moms DON'T work out:
- Don't have a plan... no idea how, when, where, what to do.
- NO TIME! Can barely keep up with laundry. Infant crawling around or to cater to.
- Lack of time, energy or motivation.
- "I'm too tired to exercise, and on the days I feel rested I'm too busy getting caught up."
- I'd rather catch up on TV after work than exercise.
- Not in a good routine, need it to become a habit.
- No money for gym membership.
- Too cold outside, no indoor equipment or nobody to watch kids while I head to a gym/gym doesn't watch kids.
- Too much to do around the house - chores, cleaning, laundry, etc.
- Choosing to play or cuddle kids instead of use that time to work out.
- I work and commute so many hours in a week, no idea when I'd work out.
- I'm a SAHM, so no babysitter, husband working, means no time for me to do it with many kids around.
- No time during the day to work out, and then I have to take the kids here and there after work so NO time.
- I don't make it a priority.
- I'm unorganized, poor time management.
- Having two kids makes it harder to keep up with exercising now. Was exercising during nap time... but second child doesn't nap at same time as first...
- Back to back colds in a family with multiple kids.
- I'd have to do it at 4 a.m. "and my doctor agreed 4 a.m. is too early for a mother of two."
Reasons why moms DO work out:
- Instilling the importance of fitness at a young age, teaching the kiddos it's fun!
- Sense of personal accomplishment
- Helps my self esteem, feel better about myself.
- Regulates hormones, moods and depression.
- "It gives me time to breathe and step away from our busy lives."
- ME TIME - time to be alone, reflect on the day, etc.
- The weeks I don't work out are not as easy or enjoyable, it's much better exercising.
- "So that I am a happier mom and wife - it takes the edge off so that I am more patient and yell less."
- To be healthy.
- To lose weight.
- To stay sane.
- To set a good example for the littles.
- "It's good for me to be someone to myself - as it makes me a better woman to someone else (child, significant other, general population, etc.)."
- " I do it for my physical well being and to be a healthy role model for my daughter. I want her to see working out is part of being a healthy and balanced human and it is not a chore. Much like we brush our teeth daily. It's part of the routine and we don't think twice about it."
- Gives me energy to chase the kids around.
- Release stress.
- Avoiding bigger health issues like heart attack that runs in family or distatis in the stomach muscles.
- Feeling stronger.
- I actually enjoy it.
- I have a lunch break at work that allows me time to work out.
- Healthy forum for my competitive personality.
- Improves my libido and that improves my marital relationship.
- Lets me eat whatever I want.
- Started with small goals like 10 minutes a day on the treadmill.
- It's empowering!
- "We get SO busy and it cleaning up, laundry, cooking, husband, kids, dog -- EVERYTHING first before ourselves and this was my promise and gut check to myself to improve one area of my life."
- Kid goes with me, it's time to socialize with other moms.
I hope seeing these reasons on the list first make you feel less alone, like OK other moms get how hard this is. And two, I hope the second list of why moms DO work out makes you feel motivated to FIND the time.
I'm a firm believer that we have time for what we make time for. We are in control of our time, for the most part.
We could choose to exercise even for 10 minutes to a video at home or walk up and down the basement stairs for 15 minutes while kids nap instead of napping ourselves, instead of cooking an elaborate dinner or instead of doing one more load of laundry. The laundry will be there. The meal could be simpler like spaghetti and jar of sauce instead of homemade. I know it's not ideal, but that's what prioritizing and choices are about. It doesn't have to be daily, but it should be at least once a week where you are focusing on your body, health and well being. I think you'll find you DO have time in your week to exercise, if you MAKE time for it.
YOU CAN DO IT!
Stay tuned for more in Part 2 of this series with specific HOWs and WHENs to exercise.