I recently participated in a diet and lifestyle challenge for 6 weeks. Part of the challenge included giving yourself points for exercising every day. I know exercising is good for me. I know I should make time to do such activities. But I don’t. I don’t have a valid excuse such as an injury. Part of it is laziness, but another critical part is time. I just don’t seem to have the time to exercise. And when I do find time, it’s about 8:00 pm on a weeknight and I am already exhausted.
When I posed this question to others, I received many answers. Most of the responses I received boiled down to the fact that I just need to make time for myself. In theory, I get that. Reality paints a different picture, though. Just making time means something else in my life has to shift.
Five Reasons Exercise Eludes Me
Lack of sleep :: Right now, I have a baby with chronic ear infections (and no, I don’t want any essential oils to help him). He usually wakes up once or twice a night. One of those times is almost always about 4:00am. I can usually get him back to sleep before 5:00am. I can choose to catch another hour of sleep or I suppose I can go walk for an hour. Sleep wins every time. Also, walking alone in the dark in New Orleans is kind of scary.
Mom duties :: People have said I should just go to a 5:00 or 5:30 am exercise class. In theory, that sounds like a really good and effective idea. In reality, it does not work. Why, you ask? During the time that I am theoretically gone it means my husband has to deal with all three kids and the morning routine. Yes, he is fully capable of handling them, but I am not about to lay that responsibility on him unnecessarily. Also, I have to be at work for 7:45am. If I get home from the gym by 7:00am, that is not nearly enough time for me to get ready for work.
Work duties :: Which brings me to my day … I spend about 8 hours a day at work. Those are 8 hours that I do not have to go to the gym. It’s also 8 hours away from my children. So when work ends, I don’t always want to leave them to “do me.” Of course there are days I wish I could go straight to the gym and pick them up after, but I can’t.
I am just plain tired :: By the time my husband gets home from his job, I am usually so mentally spent that the thought of walking out the door and going to the gym or an exercise class seems overwhelming. Yes, more excuses.
It’s expensive :: Some people said I should just hire a babysitter. Yes, that works. Now it means on top of paying to go to the gym, I am also paying for a sitter. So what started off as a $20 endeavor is now closer to $50. I just don’t have that kind of cash to throw around. I know all of these suggestions come from a place of meaning well, but they just don’t work for me.
In the meantime, I’ve decided to make small changes. I walk the 2 blocks from where my kids go to school to my office. I take the stairs as often as possible. Sometimes if I happen to have a lunch break, I take a short walk around the block. None of these small efforts will show a big change, and I am okay with that. One day, my baby will be a toddler who sleeps. Spring will be here and it won’t be dark by 5:00pm. I will have more time to make time for myself. Looking back on these years in the trenches, I might be overweight. But I know I will never say, “I wish I spent more time at the gym,” instead of “I wish I spent more time with my children.”