I Feel Your Pain

Being a mother and having a career is challenging. Motherhood all by itself is challenging. An employer that expects to see your face 40 hours a week on top of motherhood just adds to the challenge.

It’s easy to feel like you don’t have time for anything extra in your life including time for exercise. I’ve been there. I know that struggle well.

Pinterest says you make time for the things that are important.
See.  Told you.

So if you don’t make time for exercise, apparently it’s not important to you.

I don’t want to call Pinterest a liar, but I will say that you can’t make your day last longer than 24 hours. For example, I’ve checked my handy Betty Crocker book of recipes, and there’s no magical recipe to whip up a batch of extra time. So if you can’t make extra hours in the day, to me the issue is really deciding how you spend the 24 you get.

I make the choice to spend some of my time exercising. On the weekend, that’s not a hard decision because there are plenty of available hours and a husband around to get my back. But during the week, it’s hard for me. Because sometimes it feels like it takes time away from my kids. And that’s hard, too.
The aforementioned children with giant pumpkins on their heads.  Clampetts for life!
I like to think I’m not the only one that thinks it’s hard during the work week. Because I’m not the only mother that balances motherhood and a career and would prefer to not be 204.4 pounds.

During the week, my 24 hours get stretched thin. Mostly because to me certain things are non negotiable.

For example, if I don’t show up at work and stay the required number of hours, I will eventually get fired. So my employer gets 8 hours. And since I rarely teleport to work, I blame my employer for another hour of my day lost to everything it takes to get my butt behind my desk including driving, dressing appropriately and packing my lunch.

I also consider sleep non negotiable. I’m not saying I always get that. I do have annoying dogs and my husband sometimes snores. I also seem to enjoy doing stupid things like flushing time down the toilet watching crappy reality television after my children go to bed. But when I mentally plan out my day, it includes 8 hours to attempt to get some sleep. Because I feel crappy when I don’t get enough sleep and I also gave up caffeine. So I need sleep. And my family needs me to need sleep so I don’t rip anyone’s head off.
Slightly out of focus but happy. 
Warm and fuzzy time is also a non negotiable part of my day. That includes my kids wandering through our bedroom in their pajamas rambling about their day. It also includes mandatory cuddle time with my husband. And if I’m feeling extra needy, I may need to spend a few minutes staring at his face and singing made up songs to the tune of the Brady Bunch theme song.
Mandatory cuddle break during soccer practice.  Pretty sure the soccer coach was wondering what we were doing.
My kids also require some upkeep. Both for their mental health as well as mine. This includes keeping the truant officer off our porch by getting them to and from school with completed homework and all of their permissions slips signed. But it also includes knowing their favorite color and who their best friends are. Somewhere in the three ring circus we also get everyone fed and do after school activities, errands and everything else life requires.
So when do I find time to exercise?

What I have found works for me is getting up early to run on Tuesdays and Thursday. I do a long walk or bike ride on Saturday and a long run on Sunday. Committing myself to 2 days during the week doesn’t scare the crap out of me. I like that there’s breathing room between the days in case I get worn out and I like that I don’t have to always get up super early. It mostly just seems reasonable and realistic. Plans that are reasonable and realistic seem more sustainable over time. I also like that.

Beyond those two days, anything else I may squeeze in during the week is just icing on the cake. It’s not that it’s not important. It’s just not as important as other things on days it doesn’t happen. I don’t beat myself up if nothing else pans out.

One day, a short walk during my son’s soccer practice might work out. Another day, I need to get milk and bananas at the grocery store instead. So it goes.

One of the things I try to squeeze in is lifting my little dumbbells. I shoot for 2 days a week. I have no expertise on weights or how to build muscle. I just know Pinterest and Jillian Michaels both seem to think I need some. I also hear muscle burns calories so my little pea brain figures the more muscle you have the more chocolate chip cookies you can shovel in your face without being 204.4 pounds.

My weight room is either my bathroom or my bedroom. My kids are generally in the vicinity. Sometimes they’re working on homework. Sometimes they are getting body slammed by their father. And sometimes we are watching television together. And sometimes I nearly clock the dog in the head with my dumbbell.
Why did it seem like a good idea to take this picture of my wet noodle arms the day our bathroom is a hot mess.  What kind of heathens live here?  And why doesn't my husband pick up after them better?
I mostly do arm stuff and try to go until my arms are tired. Since my arms are wet noodles, we’re usually talking 20 minutes. My husband and Pinterest helped me figure out a couple moves. I try to have 4 moves with one that works my bicep, one that works my tricep, something for my chest and something for my shoulders. Whatever the move is, I do it 10 times with the heaviest weight I can get through 10 with (currently 15 pound weights). I’ll cycle through the 4 moves 3 times. It’s so basic it’s ridiculous.

Sometimes I’ll throw a few sits ups and squats in as a break for my arms. Sometimes I don’t. And sometimes I don’t do anything and just lay in bed and watch television. Holla.

I think everyone has to find what works for them. Someday maybe I’ll be a 5 am club girl. Right now I’m not. But I’m okay with that.

Do what you can. And know that there will be good days and bad days. Because we all have them. I know I do anyway.

On good days I actually sit at the table and eat breakfast with my kids and we discuss important topics like how many days in a row my son has worn the same pair of shorts. On bad days, there’s an eggo in everyone’s hand as we hustle out the door. Dinner on a good day is a home cooked meal together at the table. On bad days it's Frosted Flakes in bed watching television. That’s life. Some days my best is pretty good. Some days, it’s not. That’s life, too.

Just do the best you can. You wouldn’t expect anything more than that from anyone else. So let yourself off the hook, too. 


Kristin said...


Bethany Hutton said...

Fabulous post!

Anonymous said...

Well said! I wish I could find the time-making fairy!

Midnight Cowgirl said...

I really like that last quote!

Tracie Nall said...

This is awesome. I need to set realistic goals like this for myself instead of trying to make EVERYTHING happen every day.

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