Exercise and Motherhood: What’s your Solution?

Exercise.and.motherhoodI’ve never had patience for the line “I don’t have time to exercise.” I’ve always felt like it was a matter of prioritization. If exercise were a priority, then time would be found for it to happen.

I may be changing my tune.

I used to run marathons.

Then I had a baby. Okay, I no longer felt like marathon training fit in, but my husband and I invested in a BOB single stroller that could handle New Orleans streets, and my baby and I did our jogging together.

double.bobThen I had a second baby. Okay, even with a double stroller, jogging was possible but kind of a beast, so we switched to walking. I felt like it was worth the cost to invest in barre classes, and I found prepaying for exercise was highly motivating to get me to attend! I attended once or twice a week and really enjoyed the solo time. My husband handled the two kids. We got into a routine.

Then I got pregnant with my third child. Okay, no more pushing 100+ lbs in the double stroller. Solo walks were now my gig. I fit in walks when I could and prioritized a weekly barre class to help me feel strong.

Then I had my third baby. While on maternity leave, the K’tan carrier and my older kids’ school schedules allowed us lots of mommy-baby walks.

Then I went back to work. And that was the final straw for me. I’m breastfeeding and can’t predict my morning schedule. Even if I got up before I expected my baby to, the downside to a baby that sleeps through the night is the equivalent of two large bottles of milk strapped to my chest when I wake up. Not the greatest recipe for exercising. In the afternoons, when I’m not working, I want to be with my kids and I also try to occasionally contribute to a meal on the table or some folded laundry.

Three kids and a job has led, for the first time this century, to exercise not happening.

big.boy.stroller.jpgIn the past, the solution for me was either:

I’ve not yet seen the equipment that makes exercising work with 3 kids and a crazy work-life schedule. So that left option two. I jumped at the chance to run the New Orleans Jazz Half Marathon. A discount because of my blog connection? That’s the type of financial motivation I needed.

But at this point in my life, I also needed something more … a clear goal.

I had signed up to run a half marathon and I wanted to prove to myself and my kids that I could do it. It has helped me prioritize exercise back into my busier-than-ever life.

So how’s half-marathon training going you ask? Somewhere between horribly and great. I’m running at least once a week, sometimes twice! (That is supposed to sound good.) And I recently ran 8 miles! That feat makes me feel like a half marathon in one month is doable.

I’m at peace that this is a season in my life where exercise has to take a backseat for a while. What I’m not okay with is developing unhealthy habits in the meantime or giving up entirely on finding time to take care of me.

How do you fit exercise in with motherhood?


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