I think sometimes as moms we put ourselves on the back burner. Whether this is done intentionally or not, it’s something we need to address for the betterment of our own physical and mental health.
This is so important to me because I know exactly how it feels to be so busy and so tired that you don’t even care to make time for your health. If given the choice, when I have a few quiet moments to myself I would rather lay on my couch, scroll through social media, and breathe slowly.
But I also know my habit of being inactive, and eating leftover chicken nuggets from the kids, makes me feel like crap. After two babies and a crazy schedule, I was finally ready for a change, and I haven’t looked back. Now I get to help other moms in similar situations.
There are many ways to prioritize our mental and physical health. Today I’m going to just talk about the importance of exercise. We can make sure we’re at our absolutely best for our families by exercising and being active.
We all know the benefits of exercise: Weight loss, more energy, better for our hearts and health, improved sex drive, improved mood, and mental focus, stamina, a stronger heart, and so on. And yet, I meet so many women, especially moms, who feel guilty about setting some time aside for themselves.
I used to be one of those women. But now things are different…
Here are some of the common hindrances I hear from moms when it comes to physically taking care of their bodies, and the ways in which I address their concerns.
1. I Just Don’t Have Time
This is probably the most common reason I hear for not committing to exercise regularly. And you know what, I totally get it. Time as a parent is so hard to come by. But the thing is, we always make time for things that are important to us. It’s all about priority.
As a wife, a busy mom of two toddlers, a business owner, and more, my time is very limited. Something that has helped shift my mindset and make time for exercising, is realizing that I am a much better mom, wife, and boss when I’m feeling my best. I can accomplish way more on my to-do list when I prioritize my health.
This prioritization sometimes means my workout is at 6:00 a.m. or 7:30 p.m., or anytime in between. I do my best to plan my day around my workout time but of course, that doesn’t happen 100% of the time. However, because I make it a priority I’m usually able to make the time to get moving three to four days a week. Is it easy? Nope! It’s so hard sometimes but it’s worth it. I’m worth it and so are you.
2. I Can’t Afford It
This is probably the easiest excuse to overcome because it is just that, an excuse. There are so many different programs to help you get active. There are programs that cost thousands of dollars but there are also programs that are completely free. There is always something that you can find that fits your budget.
I have also learned that paying for a service definitely does help and here is why: When you associate a cost to something, you tend to value it more. Think of it this way, you have two rings. One is .50 cents out of the gumball machine. The other is your engagement ring that costs a few thousand. Which one do you value more? Which one do you wear more?
How would you feel if you lost the .50 cent ring? How would you feel if you lost your engagement ring? Of course one is more valuable and more sentimental but they both accomplish the same thing.
Fitness is kind of like that. You can definitely find some free programs on YouTube/Instagram and they are great. As long as you do the work you will be successful, but how motivated are you to do them usually? What if you have questions about a particular move or exercise? Who’s there to correct form and make sure you don’t injure yourself. Who motivates you when you just aren’t feeling it?
Now compare that to signing up at a fitness studio with group classes. You will have a fun class that you actually look forward to attending. It could be a barre class at PureBarre, fitness kickboxing at TNT Martial Arts & Fitness, Crossfit at Carolina Crossfit, or whatever YOU find an interest in.
You will have a community and a knowledgeable coach that can motivate you and make sure you’re making measurable progress, and answer all of your questions. Find something in your budget and go for it! And remember, you are totally worth the investment. You are worth the investment of time and finances.
3. I Don’t Have Anyone To Watch My Kids
This one just takes a little planning and resourcefulness on your part. For our family, my husband and I take turns watching the kids so that each of us gets our time. I know that is not always doable for some families, so here are some more ideas.
Work out with your kids
You can do this at home or with the many mommy and me group fitness classes in the area. There are park workouts, stroller workouts, mommy and me martial arts and gymnastics classes. Lots to choose from so find something that fits your family.
Check out MUV Fitness, Crunch Fitness, Burn Bootcamp or your local YMCA.
Consider finding a babysitter
Besides a babysitter, you could also swap child care with other moms. You watch their kids one night and they watch yours the next. Where there’s a will there’s a way.
The point is you can still stay active and healthy even if you have kids.
4. I’m Not Motivated. I Always Quit.
This one is hard because there is nothing I can say that will motivate you about your personal fitness and health. But as a prior athlete, I realize there will be a lot of times when you are not motivated to move. You could just be sore and tired, may you had a long day, or you’re just not looking forward to the exercise.
But, lack of motivation and dedication to your health and improvement should not stop you. Here are some small things that may help get you moving.
Invest in a group class or a personal coach
I mentioned it before, but if working out at home or going to a box gym just to lift weights is mind-numbing for you, why not try a group exercise class? Having a personal trainer helps as well.
It makes all the difference in the world to have someone plan your workouts, and motivate you as you go along. And there are so many fun classes you can take. Find something you enjoy and a group of people you don’t mind committing to and make it happen.
Something that I like to do Is reward myself after I complete X number of classes, or when I don’t miss the gym for four weeks straight. I usually reward myself with new workout clothes, new shoes, a mani/pedi…You get the idea. I don’t use food or quality time with my family and friends as a reward because regardless of my workout routine, I still need to eat and I still get to have fun with my friends.
Outward motivation and inward motivation
There are two types of motivation: outward motivation and inward motivation. Losing 20 pounds for a wedding would be an outward motivation caused by an outward event. Committing to working out regularly so that you can be the best version of yourself for you and your family requires inward motivation.
I know that there are days you just don’t feel it. It’s those days you dig deep and do it anyway because you know you need to and you’re not going to quit on yourself.
The Bottom line is this: Don’t let motherhood cause you to neglect yourself.
Don’t feel guilty and don’t quit. You are worth every dime, every hour you invest into feeling your best. And once you get into a good routine of nutrition, exercise, and sleep (I still struggle with the sleep. Hello, toddler in my bed), you’ll start feeling stronger and more energized.
You’ve got this, lady! Make yourself and your health a top priority. Find your best way to get moving, commit to it, don’t stop, and if you ever have questions or need a pep talk hit me up!