Being a mom is one of the most amazing, gratifying, and enjoyable experiences life has to offer, but it’s also really tough. After your first child, you may find yourself wondering, “Where did my time go?”
Photo Credit: Beth Brown
Earle Chambers, Ph.D, studies 'how social determinants of health within the context of the physical environment can influence health behaviors and health outcomes in patients and populations'. He says that mothers often prioritize their child’s needs over their own. Sound familiar?
In some ways, it’s only natural to put our offspring before ourselves. In other ways and at other times, this habit can harmful to our health, especially if home life is chaotic. Between working a full-time job, cooking, cleaning, running errands, trying to get the kids to school and activities, there’s hardly any time left for mom.
In 2009, Chambers authored a study of 1,449 moms and their kids, finding that “mothers with the highest level of household instability had a greater likelihood of being obese”. The effect is especially exaggerated in low income families.
The correlation between instability and obesity is one that’s easy to comprehend. That’s why we want to focus on what we can do to find time for ourselves. A family’s ability to function is largely dependent upon the person acting as the coordinator, and in many cases that is the mother. Truthfully, we have to keep ourselves healthy not only for our own sake, but for theirs too!
Here are our top fitness tips for maintaining your fitness routine as a busy mom.
1. Set Realistic Expectations for Yourself
One sure way to set yourself up for failure is to expect big results in a short amount of time, or to think that you’re going to make drastic lifestyle changes overnight. The goals you set for yourself are still going to fall within the context of your current obligations. We have found it’s better to set expectations that you know you can meet first, which will have a positive effect on the momentum you feel in your body and mind.
2. Make a Schedule and Stick to It
Everything else in your life is structured, so why can’t your workout time be too? Part of maintaining a fitness routine is not taking ‘no’ for an answer. Canceling parent teacher conferences and businesses meetings isn’t an option, and sacrificing your health shouldn’t be either.
3. Aim for Moderation
New Year's Resolutions are great. Diet plans can be too. But that doesn’t mean that hard and fast rules are always the way to go. It is far easier to maintain a healthy lifestyle if you allow yourself to enjoy the things that make life living. If you force your mind and body into a cage, you are guaranteed to want to rebel and break free at a certain point. So take it easy on yourself. Schedule in a cheat day once a week. Be regimented, but remember that you’re only human.
4. Embrace the Chaos
One good thing about having a jam-packed schedule, as crazy as it can be, is that you pretty much always know when you’re busy and when you’re not. For example, maybe you have to have the kids at school by 8am, then you work from 9am to 5pm, rush to pick them up from after care at 5:30pm and then head straight to soccer practice at 6pm.
5. Find an Accountability Partner
When you make your goals known to others, it’s so much easier to stick to them. Whether you choose to foster accountability in your relationship with your husband, best friend, sister, or personal trainer, the alliance can help cement your unwavering commitment to health.
If you have questions, thoughts or comments, feel free to leave them in the comment section. We want you to know that we love hearing from you!
What are you struggles with staying top of fitness and being a busy mom?