A few things before I get started:
- these are just my thoughts and ideas, not "tips and tricks", because they may be abhorrent to you and/or just not work for your life- and that is totally fine!
- working out is not the most important thing in the world and it is definitely something that can't happen in certain seasons of life. Like when I tried to start Jillian Michaels' 30 day shred when Joseph was 3 weeks old and then felt like I was going to die- that was a bad idea and a good example of a season of life where working out is not in the cards. Now he is going on 7 months old and actually sleeping through the night sometimes and it is totally in the cards and needs to happen.
- I don't work out for weight loss. I have often thought that it is just not fair that carrying around babies and toddlers isn't good enough in itself to count as strength training, and it's not fair, but it's true. I am finding that the older I get and more babies I carry, the more I realize the need for maintaining at least some semblance of arm and core strength. In other words, I workout so that I can carry my babies and toddlers around without injuring myself. Does that make sense? It does in my head.
Ok, thoughts and ideas for working out while all the kids are awake and around- hit it:
1) You're not being selfish for working out. I used to feel really guilty for trying to exercise while the kids were awake, but not so much anymore. Obviously there is a balance that needs to be struck and it goes without saying that if one of your kids is screaming in pain and/or starving you should tend to them. The kids come first, and as mothers we are typically so focused on the kids that it's a struggle to squeeze any "me time" in at all, so focusing on our physical needs is good for everybody and will only help us to be better mothers.
2) Choose a short workout, 25 minutes or less. Major cudos to you mamas who do workouts like Insanity and Cross Fit (I'm looking at you, Regina- I am in awe of you!!). Maybe one day I'll do those workouts if I can ever find a good hour chunk during the day where kids are tended to, but right now that's not happening. Grace did a great post with some really good recommendations of the short workout video variety, and while I definitely agree that Jillians' Ripped in 30 is better than the 30 Day Shred , I always end up doing the 30 Day Shred because all of my DVDs are lost in the messy abyss of the this house AND you can find the 30 day shred on you tube, so I usually just do that. Jillian is annoying, but she does deliver results and if you turn off her voice it's not so bad.
3) Get the kids involved. I never EVER make them workout with me, but they usually want to. They always ask to get dressed in their "jumping jacks" outfits (shorts and tee shirts) and I oblige- Bernadette gets especially into it and tries really, really hard to replicate exactly what the ladies are doing on the screen. I figure it is good for all of us because they are mostly sedentary these days with the awful weather and the fact that I am a lazy parent who doesn't sign them up for fun extracurricular physical activities, so I count it as our calisthenics for the day.
5) Be prepared to pause. And pause. And pause again. I rarely do a workout from beginning to end without stopping, whether it's a sweaty nursing session, a cheese stick, or a diaper change, the demands of motherhood do not stop because I slipped on my New Balances. Even if I put on a movie for the older ones, that still leaves Joseph who will only sit propped up in front of Baby Einsteins for so long before he voices his disapproval of the neglect and I need to stop and hand him that bumblebee toy. Maybe Jillian would say that I am not getting the most out of it and maybe she would be right, but I tell myself that something is better than nothing.
So those are my thoughts and ideas- how about you? What do you do to make this a priority? Hit me up with your wisdom, you know you have it!