How Busy Moms Make Time for Fitness

When my daughter was born, I struggled to make time for fitness — something that I was desperate to get back into because I felt it would help me feel “normal” again. But let’s be real: Every one of us has a handful of hours each week when we can do exactly what we want to do. These hours seem to dwindle through your 20s, 30s, and 40s — if you work, get married, buy a home, own a pet, have a kid — most of your hours are spoken for because, you know, you’re responsible for other stuff. So the question becomes, if you have a handful of precious hours, how do you want to spend them?

How busy moms make time for fitness. Learn 8 doable and practical tips about how to make time for fitness.

So to figure out how busy moms make time for fitness, I went straight to the source — my fellow Fit4Mom Body Back participants. (You can read about my progress through the current session of Body Back, a moms-only fitness program through Fit4Mom. Stroller Strides is one of their other programs.) I talked to several of the moms in my class to see how they are able to make the commitment to two group fitness classes a week, better eating habits, and workouts on their own.

You can read their responses on the Fit4Mom Chicago Western Suburbs blog.

And it’s totally worth checking it out! Their answers were awesome, practical, and relevant to any mom who wants to find a way to make fitness a higher priority in her life. I loved hearing how each mom overcame challenges and barriers to make time for fitness.

Keep in mind, these are regular moms with young children and a variety of schedules and childcare arrangements. Every single one of them is busy, attempting to balance a full plate, and making sacrifices to participate in Body Back (to the benefit of the whole family ultimately, but it takes some shifting). You might find that one of their tips helps you make time for fitness too.

Check out all of their tips.

Mommy Guilt and the Right Reasons

Recently, I had a conversation with an acquaintance, a fellow mom, about how she would like to move her young child to a new daycare. “But my reasons…” she hesitated a moment, “They aren’t good. They’re selfish.”

When she listed her reasons, they didn’t sound selfish. Rather, they sounded like they would improve her quality of life and, by extension, her family’s. As a hardcore advocate of eradicating mommy guilt, her reasons seemed totally… well, reasonable and not something she should feel conflicted over. Case closed, right?

But I recognized the sentiment.

Since giving birth, I’ve second guessed so many of my choices, dreams, wants, and goals based simply on the idea that the reasons for pursuing these things weren’t the right ones—they were selfish and therefore wrong—as if the moment you become a mother, a reason is only valid if it is completely selfless, 100 percent benefiting your child and not you, not even one tiny bit.

I’ve found this tendency to categorize my reasons as good or bad almost paralyzing. And, while I hate to use the word regret, I have made some decisions since becoming a mom that I am not proud of because they have been based on the idea (my idea) that my reasons for considering alternatives were not good enough.

For example: Last summer, I had the opportunity to take a part-time job with the kind of flexibility that would have allowed me to have a little more time at home with my kid, a little more time to manage our household, and a little more time to pursue other professional goals—all while bringing in a regular (though reduced) paycheck. My daughter Emme goes to a home daycare that allows part-time arrangements, and the idea was that I would work in an office three days a week and have Emme in daycare four days a week, so that one day a week, I could take care of other business, and one day a week, I could be at home with her.

It was pretty much my ideal arrangement.

I was tortured making this decision, and it would be an over-simplification to say that there were no other factors that stopped me from taking this job. However, I cannot ignore the fact that I was plagued with mommy guilt over the idea that if I was going to take a part-time job, it should be because I wanted to spend every extra available second with my kid—not because I wanted to make my quality of life better.

So I didn’t do it. Even though, by the same logic I used in the daycare scenario, if I was making my life better, wasn’t I also making my family’s life better? So here’s a thought: Maybe all reasons (assuming they don’t hurt someone else) are valid reasons. And maybe our “selfish” reasons are our best reasons because the decisions we make based on these reasons make it more likely that we’ll be present with our families when it really counts.

But none of this became clear to me until I was talking to the mom with the daycare dilemma. Isn’t it amazing how simple these things seem when we are on the outside looking in?