In an effort to be encouraging, I told you to make the gym like an appointment you’d never miss. I suggested you make it a habit, like brushing your teeth. I told you to log your workouts and log your food and log your water and and and and and…
And then I became a mom myself.
Gulp. My bad.
I trained clients and taught group fitness classes for more than 13 years before having a child of my own.
Since becoming a mom I’ve;
Fallen asleep in my car while pumping in the gym parking lot.
Told my daughter there were no more fruit pouches (because I had eaten the last one, in a desperate attempt at a ‘healthy snack’ for myself).
Signed up and paid for fitness classes that I never got to attend simply because we couldn’t get out the door on time.
I still believe that health and fitness can be A priority as a mom, but I now know that during certain phases of parenthood, it can’t be THE priority. My clients were looking to have “it all” and now I just have a different perspective in terms of what we should be after.
The thing is, I just didn’t understand that for a mom, sometimes they can’t just “make the gym like an appt they’d never miss.”
Kids get sick, kids have tantrums, kids just need more attention some days, kids have important events that need your support, kids need to be fed, potty trained, disciplined, loved, nurtured …. and the list goes on. So – to the moms who I told (with the best of intentions) that SHE could make it happen and to get in ALL of her workouts, I am sorry. I was doing my best to support you in your goals but I just didn’t have the experience to properly relate to you. Now I do. We are all growing and evolving, right?
I do stand firm that we should look after ourselves in a loving way. I do believe health and fitness can be a part of our lives (in varying ways during varying chapters) so that we can feel good, vibrant, confident and healthy. However, the idea that we can “do it all “is one that seems to set us up for frustration. Sometimes our kids need us and that’s ok. THAT is a blessing.
I still try to make time for some sort of fitness or movement every single day. For me, it helps with my energy, gets my endorphins going, prevents depression, gives me a sense of community, makes me appreciate my body, keeps my body in shape for raising this child – and so much more.
BUT – often, that movement is a walk in the neighborhood with our dog or some intervals for 20 min on the elliptical while Brighton is napping. And sometimes it is just chasing her around the park or parking far away when we go to the grocery store. Walking counts!
Our lives go in phases, of course. So, much of what I’ve done as a mom, in terms of fitness, had been adapted to that. For almost a year, I pumped every three hours morning and night to have enough milk. So, during that season, my workouts were more limited – every spare moment was used for pumping.
Once the pumping / nursing ended, fitness time was more abundant. It’s been an ebb and flow sort of time.
So, in my apology to those moms who I tried to encourage, but failed to relate to- I’ll offer some more practical practices that might be more helpful than a blanket
Pre dawn workouts:
If the kids go to bed on time and YOU go to bed on time- try to get your fitness on before everyone wakes up. This is simply the most effective way to make sure that nothing gets in the way of your alone time. Plus – endorphins in the AM never hurt. I will also caution that I don’t suggest exercise over rest. We need that energy and restorative sleep. And adrenal fatigue is a real thing. (That’s another blog post entirely!)
Post bedtime workouts:
These should be more leisurely activities, as you don’t want to totally rev up your system right before bed. But, a run / walk around the neighborhood, a dance class, a yoga class, strength training, etc are all great for this.
I keep exercise bands in the stroller. We will do a walk/ run circuit. I will walk for a little while, then do some exercises with the bands, walk for a little while, do some lunges, etc. For her first 18 months, Brighton basically refused to stay in the stroller but we are rounding a corner on that and finally she’s able to stay in there for about 30 minutes! I’ll take it!
I’ve tried doing at-home workouts while Brighton is awake, but it just doesn’t work for us. Again, the workout should be a stress reducer and for me, it’s very stressful to more or less ignore her, so that I can do a workout. I know a lot of people really enjoy incorporating their kiddos into the workouts but, it just didn’t make sense for us.
Finally, here are some fitness ideas that are good for parents. Most of them are in the Dallas Fort Worth area because that’s where we live, but many are national!
Mommy and me classes: There are several options for this around the country, but the one I know about in Dallas is at Move Studio, which I linked here.
24 hour workout locations: These are just ideal because sometimes you don’t know when you’re going to have time. Like I mentioned, sometimes I like to work out crazy early or late and I need something that accommodates that. The only one I use right now is Hotworx, which is an infrared sauna studio that is open 24 hours a day. There are locations nationwide. Classes start every 15 minutes so this is great for before / after bed or during school. I like that I can go in anytime and catch a class, rather than committing to one time. Also, the classes are only 15 to 30 minutes, which is super efficient. Sometimes I just don’t have a full hour to work out. (If you listen to the podcast, you know I’m about to become even further committed to this particular workout!)
Fit4mom – this is a stroller class you take your kids to! Brighton and I tried this several times, but she wouldn’t sit in the stroller. However, I noticed that plenty of other kids did and they were totally entertained. The concept is excellent. In fact, we might try it again now that she’s a little older! Classes are offered nationwide, linked here.
Baby Boot Camp — same idea as above and there are also groups nationwide, linked here.
YMCA – they have one of the most robust and affordable options I know of, in terms of “gym” childcare. Most YMCA locations have child watch, after school and day camp options, national site linked here.
Now, for the Dallas only options!
Fit180- the Forest location is right next to Adventure Kids Playcare, which you can go to by the hour. It’s also right next to snappy salads, which I love! I linked Fit180 here and Adventure Kids Playcare here.
We Yogis – this is a yoga studio with several locations that have child supervision on site. Linked here.
Bar Method Dallas – this is an awesome bar studio that has childcare on site for some classes! Linked here.
Sitter Central – this is an on-demand babysitting service. I know many people are hesitant about finding a sitter online but the sitters are background checked, reference checked and CPR/First Aid certified. I also like that they all have at least two years of childcare experience. Plus, you can browse the profiles to see whose skill set matches your child’s. A 2-3 hour mid-day sitter can be the perfect break to get a workout and run a couple of errands. They’re in Dallas and Miami right now.Linked here.
Telos Fitness – they have an excellent childcare situation AND mommy & me classes. Linked here.
Bami Yoga– they have prenatal and mommy & me classes! This is an option in Frisco, taught my prental yoga instructor. She’s amazing. She also does baby massage- yes that is a “thing” and it is exceptional. Linked here.
I’m sure I missed some wonderful options, so please let me know! Many gyms do have great childcare — I just haven’t been to all of them. Please share your findings and parent fitness tips and ideas on this post so we can all share and learn from one another.
I said “apology” in jest but in a way, I really do mean it. Just like all of you, I’m constantly evolving, reflecting on myself and trying to improve. I’m so impressed by all the moms in my life, working to juggle everything.