Being a mom is hard work. Regardless of if you stay home full time, or work full time like I do, its difficult to balance everything and still find time to live a healthy and active lifestyle. People often ask me how I fit it all in, how I manage to train for races on top of working full time as a teacher and still make time for my family. It certainly isn’t easy, and I’m far from having perfected a system, but there are some things that I do in order to maximize my time. (These tips also work for dads as well, but with Mother’s Day this weekend I want to focus on addressing all of the hard working moms out there.)
1. Involve your kids in your exercise routine.
You don’t have to always exercise solo. Sure, it is wonderful when I am able to run on my own, or make an escape to the gym, but its also enjoyable to get my son involved. My husband and I invested in a BOB stroller, and it has been great to be able to take him out for runs with me. There are other ways to involve kids in your exercise routine in addition to using a running stroller. Younger babies make great “weights” for strength training, and older kids make for great workout partners.
2. “Commute” with your stroller.
With little man’s daycare about 1.25 miles from our house, I try to do a running “commute” at least once per week, instead of always driving to pick him up from daycare. He loves it when he realizes that I have brought the stroller with me instead of driving my car, and it offers both of us the chance to enjoy some fresh air at the end of the day.
3. Maximize your time and don’t make special trips.
I often try to include multiple errands/stops whenever I leave the house, whether that’s running errands on my way home from work or trying to group multiple errands into one trip during the weekends. Although this means that I spend longer periods of time out of the house, it cuts down on my driving time and leaves me with more time to do other things, like exercise or spend quality time with the family.
4. Get up early.
Prior to having my son, I was not a morning person. Since he was born 16 months ago, I find that it is much easier to get up before him or my husband in order to take care of chores around the house. I often set my alarm for 30-60 minutes earlier than I need to get up so that I can take advantage of a quiet house in order to be productive. This leaves me with more time after work, and when my son is awake, to be able to be with him.
5. Meal plan.
Although I don’t spend hours on the weekends doing extensive meal prep, I do plan out most, if not all, of our meals for the week and grocery shop with the big picture of the week in mind. I find that when I lack a plan for the week that I’m more tempted to make poor food choices, whether that is resorting to food in the freezer or reaching into the pantry for unhealthy snacks.
QOTD: What tips do you have for busy moms?